Outgoing ASIO chief and Australia's inaugural national security adviser, Duncan Lewis, was focusing on internal threats when he spoke at the Institute of Public Administration this week.
He turned his attention to the politicisation of the Australian Public Service, expressing concern over the emergence of leaders more focused on their own careers than the national interest and who had turned "managing upwards" into an art form.
"They are worryingly common and not routinely called out," he said. "This genre of leader doesn't invest in an organisation, they draw down on their available credit and leave a diminished organisational balance sheet".
While Mr Lewis refrained from citing case studies or naming names, heads across the room would have been nodding up and down in agreement as members of the largely public service audience reflected on their own experiences.
While Mr Lewis was right to call out an issue which has impacted on the level of respect enjoyed by some departments in recent years, it is his proposed solution that is likely to arouse comment.
He said it was "passing odd" there was no dedicated public service college in Australia and contrasted that with the level of training given to military leadership recruits.
"We do not have a highly credentialled, renowned, respected and dedicated public service college for one of the largest workforces in the country."
While there are arguments for and against, a cursory consideration would suggest there would be quicker and more economical ways to address the problems.
If the emphasis was placed on training APS recruits it could be decades before such an institution could have a transformative effect on the culture and the ability of senior staff to stand up to ministers and governments.
That said, what Mr Lewis has proposed is not without precedent.
After the fall of France the inadequacy of that nation's public service and the willingness of senior officials to subordinate themselves and their departments to political causes and objectives was identified by Charles de Gaulle as a factor that had contributed to the country's decline.
When de Gaulle came to power one of his first acts was to create the Ecole nationale d'administration.
The intention was to democratise access to the senior levels of the civil service on the one hand while setting the highest possible academic standards for its graduates on the other. Its responsibilities are broad in that it selects and undertakes the initial training of senior officials through what is essentially a post-graduate program.
The acceptance rate for admission is notably low despite the fact a majority of applicants have already graduated from some of the most elite schools and academies in the country.
It is, ironically, about to be closed down by Emmanuel Macron, himself a graduate, in response to the concerns of the "yellow jacket" protesters.
They are concerned that it has, over the last 74 years, created a close-knit administrative and economic elite that unites government and industry at the expense of other interest groups.
The ENA has also been criticised for perpetuating a "group think" mentality at the highest levels of national administration.
These are clearly risks that any Australian APS college would need to avoid; otherwise the cure could be worse than the disease.
While there are merits to what Mr Lewis has proposed there are also potential perils. Any proposal would need to be considered very carefully before a decision was made to proceed.