Phone: +61 2 6268 8860
Fax: +61 2 6268 8879
Carl Thayer is Emeritus Professor of Politics. He is currently Director of Thayer Consultancy, a small business registered in Australia in 2002 that provides political analysis of current regional security issues and other research support to selected clients; South East Asia Defence and Security columnist for The Diplomat (2013-); Consultant, Gerson Lehrman Group (2012-); Editorial Consultant for Radio Free Asia (2014-); External Expert Contributor, Oxford Analytica; Senior Analyst, Wikistrat (2015-)’ Global Adjunct Faculty member, Ohio University (2009-); Research Associate, ASEAN Studies Center, School of International Service, American University (March 2011-); Adjunct Fellow, International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, Centre for Security Studies, Stratad Malaysia (August 2013-); and Member of the International Advisory Board of Contemporary Southeast Asia (2008-), International Journal of China Studies (2014-), Journal for Social Sciences and Humanities (2015-); and Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations: An International Journal.
Professor Thayer was educated at Brown University in the United States (1967). He holds an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Yale (1971) and a PhD in International Relations from The Australian National University (ANU, 1977). He studied Vietnamese language at Yale, Cornell and Southern Illinois University, Thai language at The University of Missouri at Columbia, and Lao language at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Before embarking on an academic career, Carl served in Vietnam with the International Voluntary Services (1967-68) and as a volunteer teacher in Botswana with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (1968-69). He began his professional career in 1976 as lecturer at the Bendigo Institute of Technology (renamed the Bendigo College of Advanced Education). In 1979, he joined The University of New South Wales and taught first in its Faculty of Military Studies at The Royal Military College-Duntoon (1979-85) and then at University College, ADFA (1986-2010). He served as Head of the School of Politics from 1995-97. In 1998, he was promoted to full Professor and Emeritus Professor in 2010.
Carl has served three major periods away from UNSW@ADFA. From 1992-95, he was seconded to the Regime Change and Regime Maintenance Project, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU. From 1999-2002, he was granted ‘leave in the national interest’ to take up the position of Professor of Southeast Asian Security Studies and Deputy Chair of the Department of Regional Studies at the U.S. Defense Department’s Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, U.S. Pacific Command, Hawaii. From 2002 to 2004, he was seconded to Deakin University as On Site Academic Co-ordinator of the Defence and Strategic Studies Course, the senior defence course, at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) at the Australian Defence College. He later directed Regional Security Studies at the Australian Command and Staff College, Weston Creek (2007-08 and 2010).
Professor Thayer has spent special study leave at the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre; Harvard’s Center for International Affairs; International Institute of Strategic Studies in London; Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore; and the Department of Political Science at Yale. In 2005, he was the C. V. Starr Distinguished Visiting Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. In 2008, he was the inaugural Frances M. and Stephen H. Fuller Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center of Southeast Asian Studies, Ohio University.
As a Subject Matter Expert in 2014 Professor Thayer was invited to address the 2nd Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum in Da Nang, Viet Nam and the following year he was invited to address the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the DOC Seminar-Workshop on the Implementation of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC-SCS) in Manila, The Philippines. In April 2015, he was appointed Eminent Person by the Department of Defence Australian Civil-Military Centre, to facilitate the East Asia Summit Rapid Disaster Response: Lessons Learned Seminar held in Sydney in September that was attended by senior officials from fifteen countries.
- Civil-Military Relations in the Asia-Pacific
- Comparative Politics of Southeast Asia
- Southeast Asia: Issues in Security Cooperation
Research Interests / Projects
- Politics of Vietnam (leadership and generational change; decision-making in the Vietnam Communist Party; elections, legal reform and the role of the National Assembly; political reform and dissent, the emergence of civil society, human rights and religious freedom; treatment of ethnic minorities, political legitimacy).
- The role of the military in Vietnam (leadership; defence diplomacy and external relations; arms procurement and force modernisation; domestic commercial and socio-economic roles).
- Foreign Policy of Vietnam (especially Sino-Vietnamese relations, relations with the United States and relations with ASEAN).
- Political terrorism in Southeast Asia (methodological approaches, regional counter-terrorism responses, and U.S. leadership in the war on terrorism).
- Multilateral security institutions in the Asia-Pacific (ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Five Power Defence Arrangements).
- China’s defence cooperation with Southeast Asia.
- Climate change and its impact on Southeast Asian security
Areas of Potential Postgraduate Supervision
- Vietnamese domestic politics, defence and national security, and foreign policy;
- Southeast Asia civil-military relations, foreign policy, and maritime security;
- ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum and other ASEAN-centric multilateral institutions foreign policy, international relations, defence and security issues.
- United States and China, defence and security cooperation with Southeast Asia.