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Master of Arts in National Security Studies-Capstone Option




Program Description

This program prepares students for mid- and senior-level positions in national and international security policy, security and intelligence analysis, and related fields. Graduates of the program can be found across the national and international security community as civilian and military policy-makers, action-officers, analysts, instructors, and consultants. The degree program is an excellent substitute for military or civilian personnel unable to attend a staff or war college, but who require a strong background in the substantive knowledge and analytic skills required of security specialists. It is also excellent preparation for those who will eventually attend a staff or war college as it incorporates instruction in advanced security analysis not normally taught in senior military schools.

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Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level outcome objectives, this degree seeks the following specific learning outcomes of its graduates. Graduates in this degree program will be able to:

  • Appraise classic and contemporary theories, strategies, doctrines, and procedures related to the causes, conduct, and termination of armed conflict and the maintenance of peace.
  • Assess and predict traditional and non-traditional threats to national and international security.
  • Compare the structures, functions, capabilities, and activities of national and international security community members.
  • Conduct advanced research and compose professional and academic analyses on issues critical to national and international security.
General Total Credits - 36 Hours
Core Requirements
18 Hours
Research Methods in Security and Intelligence Studies-Nat Sec Majors
3 hours

Learn basic research methods skills for addressing security and intelligence studies problems and issues. You focus on the detailed procedures for conducting qualitative case studies, which is the foundation for most basic security and intelligence research conducted in academic, government, and business circles. You become well versed in research planning, secondary data collection, and qualitative data analysis methods and how these methods relate to the larger field of social science research. You will also learn the analysis of competing hypotheses approach to research design. You are also introduced to basic social theory which supports security and intelligence research. The course prepares you for later learning intermediate and advanced security and intelligence methods. This course is required as the first course in the MA in National Security Studies Program.

Institutions of National Security
3 hours

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AS YOUR SECOND CLASS in National Security Studies. The course will cover the roles, missions, organization, capabilities, unique cultures and strategic purposes of the President, the Departments of State and Defense, Congress, National Security Council, Armed Forces, intelligence community, and NGOs, as well as how these actors interact to formulate national security strategy. Students will examine some of the successes and failures of the interagency process and will gain an appreciation of the capabilities, limitations and organizational cultures of the players in the national security community, as well as providing an overview of legal and ethical issues that impact on the development of national security policy.

U.S. National Security
3 hours

This course assesses the major concepts of strategic thinking that underpin the national security decision making process in the U.S. Students analyze the fundamental nature of power in the international arena, how national security objectives are determined, grand strategies available to attain national security objectives and the ways in which the elements of national power are applied to achieve desired objectives. The course surveys national security policies since the end of the Cold War, examines regional security concerns to the U.S., covers the concept and principal components of national security strategy and evaluates the most important theories that explain how states and non-state actors interact in the international arena. The student examines current challenges to U.S. national security interests, especially terrorism and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and evaluates future national security policies and challenges.

International Security
3 hours

During this course, the student analyzes the domestic and international contexts that shape the behavior of state and non-state actors, and which affect the formulation of national security policies. The course provides an assessment of major social, cultural, political, military, economic, technological, and historical issues that influence the international context; the roles and influence of international organizations and non-state actors; and the key transitional challenges to national security such as weapons proliferation and terrorism. The student will examine the issues and national security interests of the U.S. in regions of the world, how the U.S. has carried out its foreign policy in those regions to protect its national security, and the security interests of the nations in those regions. This course will prepare the student to conduct strategic assessments of selected organizations, regions, states, and other actors on the international stage.

National Security and Globalization
3 hours

This course will examine the implications of rising world-wide economic interdependence upon relevant aspects of U.S. national security policy. The phenomenon of globalization will be analyzed from an economic standpoint and related security issues, such as the effectiveness of sanctions, the ability to regulate commerce in weapons and technology, and the changing global balance in military capabilities will be considered in this context.

Current and Emerging Threats to U.S. National Security
3 hours

This course examines contemporary globalization, its links to emergent threats, and potential U.S. responses. To familiarize students with the types and effects of emergent threats, the course considers several topics including the history and future of: cyber conflict, bioterrorism and public health, climate change, radicalization of U.S. citizens, transnational organized crime, terrorism WMD, state failure and civil war, and emerging technologies. The relationship between globalization and emergent threats is explored with a focus on U.S. national security strategy. The course is about the politics of emergent threats and does not require any specialized technical background.

Concentration Requirements
12 Hours
Drug Cartels and the Narcotics Threat
3 hours

This course covers the development of the drug cartels and their organization, production, and distribution networks. This course will focus on the regions known as the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent, and the drugs that are typically manufactured and transported from these areas. This course also provides an overview of U.S. counter-drug efforts and basic information on illicit drugs. Additionally this course provides an historical overview of drug trafficking including a focus on the opium wars in China.

Defense Economics
3 hours

This course is an application of modern politico-economic insights to improve general understanding of the resource dimensions of a range of national security issues -- from alliances, defense spending and budgeting, the defense industry, arms control and disarmament, and unconventional warfare to the effects of defense on economic growth and development.

Homeland Security and Defense
3 hours

This course offers a comprehensive overview of key elements of the United States’ homeland security program. This overview will have students examining, discussing and analyzing homeland security operational and policy concerns which have continued to evolve in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Security Risk Management
3 hours

This course introduces students to risk management components including plans and strategies to mitigate risk. Students in this course will examine the role of risk management at the strategic and enterprise levels in the prevention of loss and mitigation of consequences through risk identification and control. This course will allow students to develop and apply risk management techniques to include selection of risk management measures and implementation of those measures.

Weapons of Mass Destruction and the New Terrorism
3 hours

This course explores the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a unique phenomenon within the homeland security landscape. Specifically, this course provides students with a historical perspective on the development and use of WMD from both an international and a domestic perspective. The course also explores the efforts to prevent, prepare, and respond to the use of WMDs.

Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups
3 hours

This course traces the history, emergence, and growth of domestic terrorist and extremist groups within the United States. Students will assess various groups' intentions, capabilities, and activities within contexts of and ramifications on political, national security, and legal paradigms.

Strategic Intelligence
3 hours

RECOMMENDED AS SECOND PROGRAM COURSE. This course examines the current structure, function, capabilities, and contributions of individual U.S. national intelligence community members. Students appraise the intelligence cycle by an overview of the intelligence planning, collection, exploitation, analysis, production, and dissemination phases. The course also evaluates the intelligence oversight system, the restrictions on national intelligence community activities prescribed by federal law, executive and agency directives.

3 hours

This course is a study of intelligence collection and information gathering. It focuses on a variety of aspects related to how both the United States and foreign nations gather and process intelligence. The student will develop a comprehensive understanding of the role collection plays in the intelligence community, how various policies affect collection, and how different intelligence agencies monitor and collect intelligence.

Intelligence Operations
3 hours

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of intelligence operations. The course will focus on the intelligence resources necessary to carry out the full range of intelligence operations using the tools, techniques, and resources available to intelligence agencies.

Intelligence Analysis
3 hours

Coming in 2016. This course focuses on intelligence analysis including the analysis of international threats to security. The course will provide students with a foundation of human cognition in an effort to help understand why we think the way we do, how we come to formulate biases, and the many analytical, perceptional, and cognitive errors we frequently make in conducting analyses. Students will be provided with a foundation from which to understand and conduct critical analysis. This course affords an opportunity to look at a variety of case studies related to both US and foreign threat analysis and action, including the evolution of responses to threats, perspectives on threat action, principles of threat analysis and response, and assessments of successes and failures of such actions. Students will develop a comprehensive knowledge of intelligence analysis, how intelligence agencies assess and counter international threats in order to guard global security interests, and how various threats affect national security policy and decision-making. (Prerequisite: INTL500)

Pre Reqs: Research Methods in Security and Intelligence Studies-Intel Majors(INTL500)

Intelligence and Homeland Security
3 hours

This course examines intelligence community responses to threats to the U.S. homeland from transnational and domestic actors. Threats to the U.S. borders, including illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling, money laundering, commercial smuggling, and other organized crime activities are also covered.

Intelligence and National Security
3 hours

Students review the relationships between intelligence and national security strategy using an historical case study approach, analyzing both past and contemporary national security issues from an intelligence perspective. Students also analyze the evolving relationship between intelligence and national security strategy from the beginning of World War I to the present. THIS COURSE NOT OFFERED AT APUS, BUT MAY BE FULFILLED THROUGH TRANSFER AGREEMENTS OR A SUBSTITUTION COURSE. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACADEMIC ADVISOR FOR DETAILS.

Transnational Crime and Narcotics
3 hours

This course will provide an overview of transnational crime and narcotics and its effects on national security, political, social, and economic development of countries around the world. The focus of this class will be the proliferation and expanding influence of organized crime groups, the increasing links among crime groups, corruption, and links to terrorism from transnational crime and narcotics. This class will examine the diverse dimensions of transnational crime and narcotics in the context of increasing globalization and the exponential impact of technology advances

Terrorism: Assessing the Past to Forecast the Future
3 hours

This course will expose the students to a variety of counter-terrorism intelligence methodologies and analytic tools, and extensive academic, government, policy literature on the challenges, opportunities, and assumptions related to forecasting terrorism. The course will provide students with the analytic capability to understand the types of terrorist threats that are most likely to confront the U.S. and its allies, in addition to challenging students to evaluate the efficacy and impact of prediction-based efforts in counter-terrorism intelligence.

Strategic Geography and Geopolitics
3 hours

This course of study examines the history of political, tactical and strategic developments and concepts regarding geopolitical concerns regarding political and military planning and execution from the mid-20th Century through the modern era. The comparative analysis of these concepts from the applicable secondary literature will provide a stepping stone to understanding the nature of modern combined arms and joint forces warfare.

Politics and War
3 hours

This course examines the relationship between military affairs and statecraft, ranging from how war is a logical consequence of political behavior. Case studies in the great powers' use of force and military issues clarify the connection between politics and the use of force, including war in its international context, attitudes toward war and its causes, the notion of "vital interests," WHY humans fight, and aspects of past areas of conflict that appear relevant to the future.

International Negotiation
3 hours

This course is a study of the theory and literature on the history and practice of international negotiations for purposes of peace; mediation between opposing factions, groups, or states; settlement of hostilities; preemption; among other issues. The course includes contending approaches to international negotiations, their basic assumptions and methodologies, and their application to current conflict situations. The role of culture and cross-cultural communication in international negotiation is explored. Also included in the course is discussion and study of skills development in international negotiation.

Government and Security in Korea
3 hours

An examination of the governments and the militaries of the two Koreas. This course will closely examine the reasons behind the Korean peninsula playing such a pivotal role in overall Northeast Asian security. The course will examine domestic political, economic and social problems and prospects of North Korea and South Korea; the prospects for reunification; the military balance and the changing strategic environment; and the relations of Pyongyang and Seoul with their key allies. Includes an examination of U.S. relations with Korea.

Latin American Security Issues
3 hours

Latin America continues as one of the most important areas to the United States -- even as it remains one of the least understood. In particular, the internal dimension of security has not yet been resolved in many Latin American nations to the extent that domestic stability can be taken for granted, a reality which could have profound consequences for the United States.

Seminar in Middle East Politics and Security
3 hours

This course examines the evolution of modern Middle Eastern politics. The scope includes political, social, and cultural interactions both within and among the countries located in the Middle East and North Africa. The course involves investigations of the political attitudes and behaviors of prominent players in these regions and a look into the diverse aspirations of specific political, cultural, or demographic groups. In the first weeks of the course, an introduction to the history of the Middle East sets the stage for historic developments that brought about structural dilemmas of today. Evaluating the involvement of outside powers in the politics of region comprises another topic, along with an investigation of how non-state actors affect the future of the region. Discussions concern debates about the prospects of democracy and the future key nations after the Arab Spring

Advanced Cybercrime Analysis
3 hours

The global reach of the Internet, the low cost of online activity, and the relative anonymity of users has led to an increase in computer related crimes. This course focuses on cybercrime investigation and prevention; it appraises the legal issues related to on-line criminal conduct, the collection of electronic evidence, and the onslaught of new technology. This course also analyzes the phases, processes, and challenges of cybercrime investigations, and it examines technical, legal, and social issues relating to the search and seizure of digital evidence and computer forensics. Students will encounter the challenges of the latency between technology and the law.

Cyber Ethics: Privacy and Intellectual Property
3 hours

This course is an advanced study of information ethics, cyber privacy, and intellectual property. It examines the ethical, economic, and societal issues that face today’s information-entrenched society; this includes intellectual property rights, privacy, accessibility and censorship. The explosive growth of information technology, the increased competition in the global marketplace, and the surge in the use of information to protect society from terrorism has led to the unintended erosion of fundamental rights and values. This course appraises the current state of information ethics, the dangers and opportunities presented by information technology, and the potential solutions to the inherent risks in today’s information-bound society.

Law, Ethics and Cybersecurity
3 hours

This course focuses on the ways that law, ethics and cybersecurity overlap and intersect. Besides laws related to cybersecurity, the course examines laws related to intellectual property, civil litigation, criminal prosecutions, and privacy. This examination will provide the means to identify and analyze the policies reflected in those laws. Those policies could guide the creation of policies on a business-level, using qualitative risk assessment and planning. An exploration of ethics and cybersecurity, as well as of workplace ethics, will involve the use of an ethical framework.

The Non-State Soldier
3 hours

This course is a study of militant foreign ethnic/religious groups not outwardly affiliated with a sovereign state. Students address specific individuals and groups as case studies in order to draw out the implications and principles associated with actual non-state military, terrorist, events and actions. Focus is on the individuals and cells that carry out the military and terrorist plans to further insurgencies and revolutions.

Cyber Policy and Practice in National Security
3 hours

This course will provide an overview of current cyber policy and strategy for non-practitioners in a national security framework. Students will study the cyber threat environment; laws and policies that govern cyber security; current and historical structure, functions, and capabilities of private and governmental agencies comprising the cyber community; and future trends that affect national security

Regional Security Cooperation
3 hours

This course examines the forces reshaping world politics and analyzes the institutions that are fostering new forms of global governance. The course will allow the student to analyze models of international cooperation and identify the states that have most actively challenged the existing order. There will be a focus on the examination of leading and emergent international institutions such as the G-20, the nascent regime for sovereign wealth funds, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the forums organized to foster cooperation in the war on terror.

Covert Action and National Security
3 hours

This course examines Covert Action in the context of National Security. The syllabus includes a spectrum of activities concerning related Intelligence, Counterintelligence, unconventional warfare and assassination issues. Students go on to assess related espionage spycraft, technology and agent activity, and conclude the course by weighing the political and executive aspects of the Presidential powers exercised in Covert Action, with their attendant moral, national security and historical burdens. Students engage in group discussions, written assignments and exams on syllabus topics

National Security and Diplomacy
3 hours

This course examines the role of diplomacy in national security policy development and implementation. It investigates diplomacy as an element of national power and how diplomacy is used by senior diplomats and military officials who regularly engage in the international sphere. The course provides an overview of the history, development and trends in diplomacy, including methods of building relationships and cross-cultural norms and challenges of communication in the international environment, as well as the integration of traditional and public diplomacy with the other elements of national power. The basic organization and staffing of US Missions and Combatant Commands who are engaged in day-to-day diplomatic activities, the interplay between diplomacy and security, cross-cultural management and diplomatic signals and bilateral summitry are also investigated.

Political Psychology of Terror Groups
3 hours

This course focuses on analyzing terror groups from a political psychological perspective. In particular, the course approaches terror groups from two different political psychological perspectives, individual and group processes. Together these two perspectives provide a solid foundation from which to understand terror groups.

Foundations in Military Strategy and National Security Policy
3 hours

This course examines some of the major concepts of strategic thinking that underpin the national security strategy of the U.S. Students will analyze the primary inputs in the development of national security policy and investigate strategy components that are necessary in the post-Cold War. They will also explore and debate the major issues affecting strategy, to include the impact of rapid technological change and special operations. This course is especially suited to students in the Defense Senior Leadership Development Program.

Final Program Requirement
3 Hours
National Security Studies Capstone
3 hours

The Master’s Capstone in National Security Studies is the capstone course for graduate National Security Studies. This course may not be taken until all other courses are COMPLETED and student has a 3.0 GPA.

Graduate Electives
3 Hours
Electives are typically courses available at your degree level that are not currently required as a part of your degree program/academic plan. Please visit the catalog to view a complete listing of courses.

Total Credits (36 Hours)
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