New department name, with renewed focus on security studies

Former Prime Minister The Hon. John Howard OM, AC visited Macquarie to launch the Department of Security Studies and Criminology last week. A small event was held to mark the launch, which included speeches by Mr Howard as well as the Vice-Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton and new Head of Department, Professor Ben Schreer.

The launch included the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the occasion, and Mr Howard spoke about the tough decisions made during his tenure as Prime Minister and how the international security landscape has changed since his time in power.

“There is no greater weapon against terrorism than timely intelligence,” said Mr Howard. “We need the resources of objective, academic study for the future of intelligence agencies.”

Mr Howard also answered questions from the audience, which included Faculty of Arts staff members, the business community, and current and future students of the new department.

Formerly the Centre of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT), the new name of the Department of Security Studies and Criminology will reflect the department’s expansion in research and teaching offerings in applied security studies, most notably in cyber security and criminology.

The Department will look at the big questions facing us, such as: how should Australia position itself in the Asia-Pacific; how do we effectively counter violent extremism in Australia; and, how we can tackle the challenges posed by the ‘darknet’ and transnational organised crime.

“Over the years, the Department’s role and scope has changed significantly. We transitioned from an independent centre providing specialist training to the law enforcement community to a fully-fledged academic department within the Faculty of Arts,” said Professor Schreer.

John Howard has a strong connection to Macquarie University, with the campus falling within the former Prime Minister’s electorate area of Bennelong; a seat he held for 33 years. Mr Howard also holds an Honorary Doctorate from Macquarie University, awarded in 2012.