U.S. National Security Policy

This survey course in contemporary U.S. national security policy has two basic objectives. It’s primary goal is to provide a solid and fairly broad introduction to concepts, issues, and debates related to this critical area of public policy. The first portion of the course will address essential background information, such as interests, capabilities, standing, and strategy. The second and larger part of the course will focus on a range or real and potential threats to U.S. national security. As we examine these many challenges, we will stop to consider several responses.

The choice of topics, which includes terrorism, counterinsurgency, nuclear weapons, cyber-security, and energy security, is designed to demonstrate the diverse nature of security policy as well as identify many of the leading issues that challenge U.S. policy makers today. In particular, the course draws a clear distinction between foreign policy and security policy, placing emphasis on real threats to the safety and survival of the United States.

The secondary course objective is to put ourselves in the shoes of national security policy-makers. We will accomplish this goal in a number of ways, including mimicking policy maker discussions, writing policy briefs, and case study work.

This is a challenging upper level course designed primarily for POLS majors and minors with a strong interest in international politics. It is also strongly recommended that students complete the Introduction to International Relations Course before enrolling.