The National Security Studies department provides curricula and classroom instruction in support of educating senior USG, foreign military, and selected private sector personnel and is designed to promote the development of students as strategic thinkers and national security policymakers. A crucial objective of ICAF and the National Security Studies course is to enable students to effectively operate at the strategic level of crafting national-level policies and deciding "why" one policy is more likely to safeguard the nations security than another. The course educates students to be able to select and integrate a wide range of policy decisions across diverse content areas such as domestic and international politics, military strategy, economics, and informational and technological capabilities. Students become adept in the art and science of developing, applying and coordinating the instruments of national power to achieve objectives that ensure national security. As part of this educational process students learn the foundations, elements, and critical considerations for developing a national security "grand strategy".
The course in Academic Year 2011 will be in four units. The first unit is an introduction that examines the meaning and purpose of national security strategy, theoretical concepts that explain the international system, the assessment of national power, and the relationship of resources to strategy. The second unit addresses the U.S. political system and related subjects, such as interest groups and the media, and evaluates the impact of this system and its actors on the determination of national security policy. The third and fourth units respectively examine issues in the international system and current and future challenges in national security strategy. The former unit gives particular attention to how the United States has dealt with the international system in contrast to other states, while the latter turns attention towards topics like non-military instruments of power, the role and future of multilateral institutions, transnational issues, such as the environment, non-state actors, and alternative options for future national security strategy.