All students, including research fellows, normally must complete the core
curriculum. The core program averages 13 class contact hours per week when
elective courses are not in session and nine contact hours per week during
elective periods. Core courses generally meet in the mornings. There are
seven core courses. Three meet in the fall semester. Three meet in the spring.
The final course, 6700: Field Studies, meets across both semesters.
6100 - Introduction to Strategy
This course introduces the elements of strategy, critical thinking and strategic
analysis to develop and provide the foundational strategic thinking skills
required for the balance of the curriculum. Using selected frameworks and
examples of strategy, students begin their year-long examination of the
components of national security strategy; assumptions behind strategic choices;
relationships among the instruments of national power; orchestration of
the instruments of power in pursuit of national security objectives; methods
of evaluating the utility of different strategies; and the roles of leadership
and ethics in national security strategy.
6200 - War and Statecraft
This course analyzes the distinctive and multi-faceted phenomenon of war,
to include its character, conduct, nature, and scope; its military and non-military
dimensions; and the ramifications of using violence to achieve political
objectives. Simple dichotomies of war and peace are rejected here. Two central
themes run throughout the course. First, examining the intersections between
War and Statecraft, the course explores how war appears within, and also
shapes, a political, economic, social and historical context. This approach
offers insights into the complex, intertwined and multi-dimensional aspects
of war, especially the causes of wars, their character and conduct, and
their post-conflict challenges. Second, the study of history and theory
affords an opportunity to examine how, like a state; war has aspects of
both continuity and change over time. Beginning with the Peloponnesian War,
students grapple with case studies in revolutionary war, industrial warfare,
counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and irregular warfare, up to the present
day. The historical overview is interspersed with analyses of Clausewitz,
Sun Zi, Mao Tse-Tung, and other classic theorists. The goal is to provide
a solid theoretical foundation for developing and designing strategy, particularly
understanding the military instrument of power and how it can be employed
in combination with other instruments of statecraft in pursuit of political
6300 - Diplomacy and Statecraft
This course analyzes the tools of statecraft available to a nation in order
to achieve its national security objectives short of war. Specifically,
the course analyzes the nature, purposes, capabilities and limitations of
the instruments of statecraft (the military instrument is examined for purposes
short of war), and investigates and critiques a variety of ways that diplomacy
orchestrates these instruments. The course explores how instruments of power
differ from, but is dependent upon, underlying national power, particularly
in the areas of economics and information. Discussions reference peace,
crisis and war to provide a comprehensive review of the instruments' role
in national security strategy. The course has a particular emphasis on the
economic and financial instruments, which are probably the least understood
but most important national instruments of power. The course provides detailed
information on the other tools available to national security strategists,
the various uses of those tools; both singly and in conjunction with one
another, and helps set the stage for the end-of-year applications in national
security strategy course.
6400 - The Domestic Context and U.S. National Security Decision-Making
This course provides the students with an understanding of the complex reality
of the domestic context in which American strategists must make decisions.
It considers the domestic context from multiple perspectives. It evaluates
how broad domestic political and cultural factors, as well as resource and
economic constraints, affect policy formulation and execution. The course
further examines the structure and process of U.S. national security decisions.
Here the course considers both the historical, philosophical and constitutional
foundations of inter-agency and inter-branch processes, and their subsequent
evolution and current form. One element of this investigation is a study
of American civil military relations. Finally, the course focuses on individual
and group level decision-making, to include a discussion of individual leadership
and legitimate dissent within the U.S. national security policy process.
6500 - The Global Context
The purpose of this course is to help students understand the world and
emerging strategic challenges from a perspective that is not U.S.-centric.
Students study selected nation-states and international regions, developing
a familiarity with the role played by culture and history, as well as the
key emerging trends in that region. They analyze international trends and
developments, compare and contrast regional contexts and national perspectives,
and recommend how best to prioritize U.S. interests within and across regions.
The course also examines how non-state actors, transnational actors and
global trends shape the strategic environment. Students will develop a working
knowledge of the international security context that is essential for creating,
analyzing and carrying out national security strategy and policy.
6600 - Applications in National Security Strategy
This capstone course integrates and synthesizes the fundamental themes from
the entire curriculum. The course examines a series of strategic national
security and homeland security challenges confronting the nation today.
Students work in small groups to assess select transnational security issues,
determine U.S. objectives, identify key assumptions, and develop a range
of policy options that include evaluations of the risks and benefits of
each option. Students will practice the critical thinking skills introduced
in course 6100 and select the military instruments (6200) and non military
instruments (6300) best suited to these security challenges. Each challenge
also requires an assessment of key domestic and national decision making
enablers and constraints (6400) as well as a keen appreciation for the global
context (6500) in which the U.S. must develop and implement its strategy.
In keeping with the goal of "putting theory into practice," students
will produce a written policy options paper designed for senior decision
makers and develop a briefing for "real world" senior officials.
6700 - Field Studies in National Security
The Field Studies program combines in-class study with international travel
to provide students a first-hand examination of a specific country, region,
or issue. Understanding the formulation and implementation of policy and
strategy requires in-depth knowledge of the current and prospective foreign
policy situation in nations and regions affected by U.S. policies, and even
more importantly, an understanding of how such strategic judgments are formulated.
The Field Studies program is designed to integrate all the themes of the
core courses and meet NWC/JPME objectives by providing a "test bed" for
the synthesis of the entire year's curriculum. These studies provide opportunities
for NWC students and faculty to discuss policy issues with political, military,
business, media, and academic leaders of other nations that affect the security
of their nations and regions as well as the security of the United States.
This interaction moves NWC strategic education from the theoretical world
to the world of reality. There is no classroom substitute for the intensive
learning that comes from face-to-face exchanges and personal experiences
gained through discussions and activities associated with regional travel.