Daniel Morgan Academy Academics

DMGS curriculum stands apart in national security education

Our degree programs serve to credential those who are seeking highly specialized development for careers in the national security community.

Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS) students will be able, in consultation with their faculty advisor, structure degree programs that will fully address their professional career needs. Because of its size, DMGS is perfectly structured to have the instructor-to-student ratio that will most effectively support learning of complex topics of strategy, intelligence, and national security. Generally, one professor instructs a class from five to seven students.

DMGS’ primary goals for the students:

  • Further the career aspirations of currently employed students
  • Prepare students who wish to enter into government service
  • Prepare students to enter the contracting community
  • Prepare students to enter into academia
  • Credential working professionals

GRADUATE DEGREES

Master of Arts in National Security

Program Objectives:

The National Security program is specifically designed to support the professional development of aspiring, new, and mid-level professionals in government, the private sector, and in civil society who seek to advance and secure the interests and ideals of the nation.

The focus of this program is to enhance students’ historical, conceptual, and theoretical knowledge of skills necessary to develop strategy and policy; to develop the skills to diagnose contemporary and over-the-horizon threats and opportunities; and based on this diagnosis, to consider policy options and the integration of alternative capabilities which could be applied to ongoing security challenges and conflict melioration and resolution. This includes the skills to anticipate the trends in the global environment; the short-and long-term aims, strategies, instruments and vulnerabilities of competitors; and to identify the resulting specific opportunities—in a given region or globally—to advance US interests.

The program will also cover US government organizational and institutional arrangements, and the authorities of individual agencies to implement policy. In addition, the tensions between national security policy and practices and liberal democracy will be considered—and how the US and other democracies have sought to reconcile them.

This program will also cover the functional utility of individual instruments, and integrated “whole of government” planning in regional geographic contexts, with particular emphasis on the nonkinetic capabilities of the other two DMGS programs – Intelligence and Information Operations.

Graduates of this degree program will be able to:

  • Analyze contemporary and anticipated challenges to US security.
  • Evaluate the complexities of formulating strategies in functional and regional contexts.
  • Summarize the evolution of US institutional arrangements and assigned authorities, including how the US system has sought to reconcile the tensions between security and liberal democracy, and the particular relevance of the US experience for US security at home and abroad.

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Master of Arts in Intelligence

Program Objectives:

The Intelligence program will focus on the cutting edge missions, methods, and organizational arrangements of intelligence in general, and US intelligence in particular. It will focus on the four major elements of intelligence – collection, analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action – and their application abroad. Similarities and differences with intelligence inside the US will also be included.

The program will also focus on the interdependence of the symbiotic relationships between the elements of intelligence and interrelationships with other national security practitioners at many levels of policymaking and implementation – from grand strategy formulation to enhancing military strength and guile as in Information Operations.

Graduates of this degree program will be able to:

  • Explain the strategic significance, aims, strategy, tradecraft and culture of the elements of intelligence and evaluate the profession of each element, and the skills and aptitude required for this work.
  • Differentiate current and future security challenges, identify opportunities for effective use of intelligence, and lessons learned about how intelligence as both an input into policy and as an instrument of policy may be able to advance US interests globally and regionally.
  • Analyze how major tensions inside liberal democracy with secret intelligence are reconciled through institutional checks and balances, oversight, press freedom, and public education.

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Master of Arts in Information Operations

Program Objectives:

Information Operations (IO) represents a key instrument of current and anticipated national security policy. IO provides a means of supporting, through information and education, allies and political elements abroad who share US interests in many parts of the world. IO also provides a means of deterring and prevailing against state and nonstate adversaries and other competitors seeking to undermine US security interests, ideals, and quality of life.

This instrument offers a wide range of digital and human influence capabilities. It ensures that the US is more able to safeguard its information infrastructure to make and implement policy, to be able to deter, and if necessary to use its information capabilities to prevail against attempts by others to weaken, manipulate or cripple US information programs, and to counter the deception and influence capabilities of competitors. IO also can be used help prevent conflict and to influence the outcomes of political and military conflict.

The DMGS program is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge, concepts and theories to understand the critical role that IO plays in supporting and enhancing US national security policy. That role is now recognized as nationally important in the DoD’s Joint Publication 3-13, which has been used to educate and deploy increasing number of IO specialists. (Other agencies have not yet publically identified their IO doctrine and/or related major practices.)

The DMGS program will focus on the strategic aims, skill sets, and historical and innovative techniques coming online that will continue to provide opportunities to conduct IO. It will also consider evolving US institutional arrangements and authorities some of which create tensions between IO and the principles of liberal democracy, and procedures to mitigate this friction.

Graduates of the degree program will be able to:

  • Outline the key fundamentals of IO as a tool of government policy.
  • Illustrate current missions and techniques, including a more integrated “whole of government” approach to IO.
  • Summarize the role that the private sector and civil society now plays in IO and analyze the advantages and risks of a broader “whole of society” approach to IO.
  • Differentiate the fundamental legal and ethical issues associated with government employment of IO to enhance US security and gain adversarial advantage.

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Our MA program consists of three components.

  1. A curriculum of 30 credit hours. Twenty-seven are earned from taking nine regular courses.
  2. A publishable thesis worth 3 credit hours counted toward the 30 credit hour requirement. The thesis must push the boundaries of the field and affect an important aspect of national security. The student is mentored by three professors in preparing the thesis.
  3. A final comprehensive examination based on the Master’s thesis, which is conducted by the student’s three mentors.

The Master of Arts in National Security consists of 9 courses of 3 credit hours each and a written thesis worth 3 credit hours for a total of 30 credit hours. Four courses may be chosen from elements of national security strategy; the other five may be selected from elements of intelligence and elements of information operations, though one of the electives may be a regional studies course, contingent upon approval from the professor and the academic advisor.

The Master of Arts in Intelligence consists of 9 courses of 3 credit hours each and a written thesis worth 3 credit hours for a total of 30 credit hours. Four courses may be chosen from elements of intelligence; the other five may be selected from elements of national security strategy and elements of information operations, though one of the electives may be a regional studies course, contingent on approval from the professor and the academic advisor.

The Master of Arts in Information Operations consists of 9 courses of 3 credit hours each and a written thesis worth 3 credit hours, for a total of 30 credit hours. Four courses may be chosen from elements of information operations; the other five may be selected from elements of national security strategy and elements of intelligence, though one of the electives may be a regional studies course, contingent on approval from the professor and the academic advisor.

All MA students are required to write a thesis on a topic selected from one of the three elements: Security and Leadership, Intelligence, or Information Operations. The thesis is to be written under the supervision of a faculty member who is the official thesis advisor. Each thesis candidate will then be assigned two additional professors who will also be available to mentor the student. Together they constitute the student’s thesis committee. Each professor will represent one of the three elements.

After the final draft of the thesis has been accepted by the three-member thesis committee, the student undergoes a two-hour oral examination. This involves answering questions about the thesis topic that are posed by each of the committee members, as well as questions related but not limited strictly to that topic. Accordingly, this examination doubles as a final comprehensive examination that tests the student’s overall understanding of national security topics.

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