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NSEC501 - Institutions of National Security

Course Details

Course Code: NSEC501 Course ID: 3475 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

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.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/26/18 - 05/03/19 05/06/19 - 06/30/19 Spring 2019 Session I 8 Week session
01/28/19 - 06/28/19 07/01/19 - 08/25/19 Summer 2019 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/19 - 08/30/19 09/02/19 - 10/27/19 Summer 2019 Session D 8 Week session
05/27/19 - 11/01/19 11/04/19 - 12/29/19 Fall 2019 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

CO-1: Analyze the recent history and evolution of the U.S. national security community institutions.

CO-2: Examine the structure, function, capabilities and contributions of individual U.S. security community members.

CO-3: Assess the impact of individual actors’ roles and contributions to national security policy.

CO-4: Appraise the impact of interagency relationships on U.S. national security policy decision making

CO-5: Differentiate among conflicting and competing interests and their impact on national security policy development.

The course grade is based on the following assessments:

Discussion Forums – 20 percent

Each week, a discussion question is provided and posts should reflect an assimilation of the readings. Students are required to provide a substantive (complete with proper citations) initial post by Thursday at 11:55 pm ET and respond to 2 or more classmates (in at least two separate discussion threads) by Sunday 11:55 pm ET (complete with proper citations.) You must also post at least two conversational comments per week. Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas.

Assignment #1 (Research question or Policy backgrounder) – 15 percent

Option One:

The purpose of this assignment is to make a plan for your research. It will take a few steps for you to get to a complete proposal. It must include: research question/introduction, hypothesis, methodology, literature review, conclusion, and proposed source of data. Your proposal should be about 8-12 pages, double spaced, TNR 12.

Option Two:

The purpose of this assignment is to write a policy brief including an history and a current summary of the important issues needed to make decision on a specific topic of your choosing (using the list in the assignmnents tab). Your policy backgrounder should be about 8-12 pages, double spaced, TNR 12.

Assignment #2 (Research paper or Policy recommendations) – 35 percent

Option One:

The research paper will build on the proposal assignment from week two (with improvements based on the instructor’s comments) and should be at least 10 additional pages of data/findings/analysis of your topic -- not including the cover page, the reference list, and any appendices – for a total of 18-20 pages. Please use a specific political science research method.

Option Two:

The Policy recommendations will build on the backgrounder from week two (but not recopy or repeat it). Continuing with the same threat area that you chose in Assignment #1, provide a list of policy options (with specific recommendations) to include identification and definition of issues, conceptualization of creative alternative solutions, anticipation of reactions and objections, advantages and disadvantages of each policy option, and an-depth analysis on technical aspects of program policies and implementation processes. This assignment should be about 12-15 pages, double spaced, TNR 12.

Assignment #3 – 30 percent

Option One:

This assignment is a take-home essay assignment of two questions, 4-5 pages each, to test knowledge and assimilation of the course objectives. Please refer to the required text and readings from this course. You may supplement with other readings, but do not supplant the course readings. You will be required to know the course scholarship and literature.

Option Two:

This assignment builds on the previous two. Using your previous area threat/backgrounder/policy options, explain to your key policymaker what role each player on the national security stage will play in the implementation of your policy recommendation in Assignment #2 (think about our subjects for each week of this course). This assignment should be about 10-15 pages, double spaced, TNR 12.

Required Readings

  • External websites and other assigned readings are found in the Lessons area of the classroom.
  • Weekly Lesson Notes and videos or audio files are found in the Lessons area of the classroom.
Book Title:The National Security Enterprise: Navigating the Labyrinth
Publication Info:Georgetown University Press
Author:Roger Z. George and Harvey Rishikof
Unit Cost:$41.35
Book Title:The required materials for this course will be changing for future sessions. All materials will be available online, located inside the Lessons section of your classroom. Please email for confirmation of the start month.

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.