National Security Program
This course is an introductory graduate level course. For students beginning their studies at DMGS in Spring 2017, this course is a co-requisite for all courses in the three MA programs. A student can co-enroll in Introduction to National Security and other courses, with the guidance of their advisor.

National security is the core of the curriculum at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS) it is the reason that the DMGS exists. In addition to a full slate of courses in the national security program, the courses in the intelligence, information operations and regional pillars exist to support the national security program and to help produce Superb national security officers. This reflects the world in which we live. The goal is the security of the country; we get there, in part, by using intelligence and information operations.

National security always has been critical to our survival and success and a country. But, it is not a static concept. It has undergone change from the beginning of the republic; the changes have been especially profound since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, over the past quarter of a century, national security has undergone a tectonic change. Prior to the Cold War, Security was thought of primarily in military and military-related terms and to some extent in economic terms. Prior to the Cold War it wasn’t even necessary to define the term; it was simply assumed that in talking about security one was referring primarily to military security. Certainly, this iteration of national security is still very important. But, national security is no longer only about military issues. To understand security in that sense exclusively is to cling to a pre-21st century understanding of the term.

Today, national security has come to mean So much more. Now it must be understood as any threat, challenge or opportunity that impacts the interests and well-being of the country and, in fact, often well beyond the country’s borders. Changes in the political order and vastly different technology have necessitated an approach to security that was unthinkable and unnecessary just 25 years ago. The Soviet Union is gone and the state now shares the global stage with a plethora

of non-state actors. Terrorism, including “lone wolf actors, has emerged as one of the most Serious threats to Society, population migration has become a formidable challenge, cyber threats endanger all Societies, environmental degradation, especially the impact of climate change, threatens violence and massive dislocations and technology promises great hopes for humans, but also significant dangers. We also must account for significant changes in the nature of warfare. We no longer can rightly describe the differences as between “symmetric’ (i.e. acceptable) and “asymmetric’ (i.e. unacceptable) warfare. What we once called asymmetric has become increasingly symmetric-hybrid or Fourth Generation-warfare. Additionally, security no longer is just the domain of governments, it now encompasses important aspects of nongovernmental and non-state actors.

A crucially important but routinely neglected component of U.S. national security policy is political strategy. Political strategy involves the use of diplomacy, education, information, organization and other means of influence to affect political life, including a society’s formal governing arrangements as well as its culture and Sentiments. America seeks political influence within foreign states and populations so that it can pursue a range of strategic ends-from bolstering allies and weakening adversaries, to ensuring military operations can produce sustainable outcomes, to fostering a more open, law-based and just international order. Right now, however, the U.S.’s political influence in Asia, the Middle East, and in Europe is being challenged by a diversity of actors and in a more Sustained and concerted fashion than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Without political influence, it is becoming more difficult if not impossible for the U.S. to be successful overseas diplomatically, commercially, and strategically. 

In this course, we will explore this unfolding competition for political influence around the globe and the role of political strategy in U.S. national security strategy. We will begin by looking at several general and historical cases in which the U.S. and others have attempted to influence the political character and strategic orientation of foreign states and populations. We will then survey American political strategy and foreign political operations from the struggle with communism to the post-9/11 period and examine the lessons that should be learned from these experiences. In the second part of the course, we will delve into the contemporary contest between the open, rules-based international order and its many challengers, including authoritarian powers and sub-state movements. Through this and, finally, through class exercises, we will discuss the basics of designing, planning and applying political strategies to compete in this new environment and advance American interests and principles.

At the cusp of the 21 century, the U.S., as well as the rest of the world, is facing a security environment that was not recognized or understood just a few years ago. We still face many of the conventional state on state issues and classical power struggles that were defined long ago by Thucydides in the Melian Dialogue. But now that picture is complicated by globalization and a host of “post-realist’ challenges that are wider and deeper than we have experienced before. Now we must deal with a new breed of terrorists, cyber threats, a plethora of non-state actors and a second wave of nuclear weapons deployment—just to mention a few. Environmental degradation and pandemics are among the most threatening Security challenges we face and they require different answers than were valid before. In this course we will examine the causes of environmental and pandemic threats, why they must be understood as Security challenges and what can be done to mitigate them. To this end, we will emphasize learning, explaining and evaluating a body of substantive knowledge and explore and develop innovative Solutions.
Washington’s problem in the nutshell is that it doesn’t think very well. The last quarter century has seen an explosion in the human capacity to create and manipulate new knowledge—yet many of the instruments used to Support national Security leadership are as creaky as ever. All this needs to change if America wants to outthink it enemies and it help it friends secure a safe, free, and prosperous future. This course provides both an introduction to the theoretical constructs and practical exercises in the three critical pillars of overseeing national Security affairs planning, strategy, and decision-making. Lessons provide a foundation for the skills, knowledge, and attributes to analyze, address, and manage national security affairs at the operational and strategic levels.

The first part of the course provides an introduction to national security. The second part is an introduction and practical exercises in the most cutting-edge methods of analysis for national security decision-making. The third part of the course teaches the fundamentals of strategy, policy, and decision-making and offers a practicum in these activities.

All MA students are required to write a thesis. The thesis is to be written under the supervision of a faculty member who is the official thesis advisor. Each candidate will also be assigned a professor who will be available to mentor the student. Each professor will represent one of the three elements. The thesis is intended to present vital new information on a significant aspect of national security environment.
Information Operations Program
The Elements of Digital and Human Influence Operations (IOP) course is designed to give students a foundational understanding of the characteristics and functions of Influence Operations and the discipline’s evolution from a reflexive battlefield strategy to a formalized and indispensable instrument of national power.

  • Describe, through historical accounts, the use of information as a longstanding instrument of influence in military operations and explain the evolution of IO from a reflexive battlefield tactic to a formal discipline.
  • Understand the three interrelated dimensions that comprise the information environment and explain how each dimension continuously interacts with individuals, organizations, and systems.
  • Describe the information related capabilities and assess the doctrinal approach to developing integrated IO campaigns.
  • Explain the information and influence relational framework and the application of information-related capabilities.
  • Distinguish IO from other formal, coordinated communication efforts such as “Strategic Communication” and explain the IO authorities, responsibilities, and legal considerations that must be followed.
  • Assess the risks and challenges associated with conducting IO campaigns in the Information Age recommend strategies for mitigating information blowback.
  • Explain the importance of the information assessment process and describe the role of measures of performance (MOPs) and measures of effectiveness (MOEs) in assessing IO campaign success.
  • Discuss current views on the use of IO and assess evolving perspectives on IO use in future national security challenges.
This course is designed to lay a historical, thematic context that will provide the fundamental perspective and foundational knowledge required to successfully initiate counter denial and deception activities. Students will deconstruct the strategies for successful influence operations and active measures in the execution of strategic influence operations and also be introduced to the analytical problems associated with deception operations against senior leadership conducted through the cyber domain.

  • Characterize basic denial and deception concepts and be able to apply historical case studies in explaining those concepts
  • Evaluate the impact of the modern information environment on deception and deception channels
  • Evaluate the various tools for strategic deceptions to include influence operations and active measures
  • Assess both the construction and impact of tactical, operational and strategic deceptions
  • Construct and apply analytical strategies to identify and characterize deceptions
  • Develop the skills to communicate the impact of deception on decisions, the implications of analysis in deliberately ambiguous environments and sound strategies for identifying and characterizing deceptions.
The ability to successfully use information to change the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of individuals groups and populations is based on the practitioner’s capacity to follow a welldefined, research based strategy. The “Human Influence: Theory and Practice” Course will immerse students in the persuasion and influence Social Science/behavior change literature. We will assess and evaluate efforts to inform, influence, and persuade through the examination behavior change theories and models of persuasion. Psychological models of persuasion involve understanding the cognitive factors that may lead an individual to behave a certain way. Social models of persuasion focus on how an individual’s relationships to other people or groups may influence behavior. Cultural and Environmental models of persuasion examine how the broader world in which an individual lives affect her or his thoughts and behavior. Together, these three models of persuasion offer a comprehensive way of understanding the nature of human behavior and how it can potentially be affected by messages delivered through well-developed and executed influence strategies. Students will explore the applicability of the models and theories for changing attitude and behaviors related to national security goals and objectives. Each students will select a national Security issue or challenge and develop a basic research-based strategy focused on affecting the behavior or changing the attitudes of the target audience.
A fundamental goal of virtually any political policy, commercial venture or non-profit advocacy is to persuade a relevant audience to adopt a desired behavior consistent with the effort’s purpose. Much like the seemingly infinite combinations of numbers resident in a lottery game, there is a correspondingly large number of ways to try and influence an audience. These ways can range from sending kinetic messages, imparting economic conditions, enforcing laws, logical arguments and creating emotional connections to deception and misdirection or even doing nothing. The trick, as in winning the lottery, is to find the right combination to win.

The challenge that a practitioner faces is in knowing how to evaluate the possible combinations in order to increase the odds of picking the winning approach. Confronted by a sea of methods, causes, messages and passions, how does one do it? Each offered approach will always have a success story or persuasive argument attached to it. Case studies of things that were successful in the past exist. The key to increasing the odds of predicting success is to understand and evaluate why things are successful, not merely to replicate something that worked once before. Circumstances, goals, and audiences change. You must know why and how things will work for your particular challenge. It is the purpose of this course to teach you how to understand the fundamental concepts of what makes strategic communication messaging work and use them to evaluate your challenge.

All MA students are required to write a thesis. The thesis is to be written under the supervision of a faculty member who is the official thesis advisor. Each candidate will also be assigned a professor who will be available to mentor the student. Each professor will represent one of the three elements. The thesis is intended to present vital new information on a significant aspect of national security environment.

Additional Courses

Clear and concise communication between the field and headquarters is essential to senior management’s understanding of international developments that it seeks to influence.  The course uses the writing styles of CIA and the State Department as the models of good report writing.

After completing this course, students will know how to write reports for employment in the national security community.

Logic as an analytical discipline presents a valuable tool to any analyst seeking to process disparate pieces of information quickly and determine relevance. This non-credit workshop offers an option to students to learn the basics of logic and how it can assist their duties in the intelligence, defense, and national security fields. This course is designed primarily for students who are writing their Masters’ thesis. It deals with the elements of argument, including informal fallacies, hypothesis testing, and the basic principles of induction.  In addition, the student will review basic writing skills and elements of style. Through this course, students will be able to write effective, well-reasoned arguments in a clear and concise language. (Non-credit workshop)
With the increasing ease of information-sharing, opportunities for misunderstanding abound. More than ever before, it is important for professionals to communicate with nonprofessional audiences in clear and concise language that breaks complicated concepts down without the use of jargon, and while filling in details that are difficult for the outsider to understand. (Non-credit workshop)
Intelligence Program
This is an introductory course in intelligence practices for those looking to enter this field or interact with it. The course identifies the component parts of the Intelligence Community, describes the functions of collection and analysis, explains how intelligence is disseminated, and discusses the relationship of the IC with policymakers, Congress, and the public.

This course will provide students the foundation of knowledge to prepare for more advanced study in intelligence or related fields.

Students who complete this course will:

  • Identify the members of the Intelligence Community and their roles.
  • Discuss the intelligence cycle and other functions of intelligence.
  • Analyze the relationship of the IC with the different branches of government and the public.
This course provides students an understanding of the modern use of nation state non-traditional intelligence capabilities in support of foreign policy goals. Such capabilities including covert action, special forces operations use and others techniques provide modern nations a low intensity conflict option short of outright warfare. The course will also provide an American perspective providing an overview of CIA’s covert actions, DOD’s low intensity operational capabilities, NSC legal guidance, and Executive and Legislative Branches interaction and oversight.

The students will be challenged to examine the non-traditional use of intelligence capabilities and then critically apply them to contemporary national security challenges.

This course examines the war on drugs through different prisms: economic, security, and political. Alternative state responses to the drug trade will be covered. Subsequently, we will deal with these questions within the context of individual democracies in Latin America, with comparisons to countries in different regions of the world. Course content is designed to develop students’ international awareness and analytical regarding illegal drugs. Course assignments aim to develop students’ abilities to analyze world affairs, to formulate arguments, and to read critically. Specifically, students should understand the debate regarding actors that encourage the drug industry, the consequences of illicit narcotics flows, and the merits of different policy responses to the drug trade.
All MA students are required to write a thesis. The thesis is to be written under the supervision of a faculty member who is the official thesis advisor. Each candidate will also be assigned a professor who will be available to mentor the student. Each professor will represent one of the three elements. The thesis is intended to present vital new information on a significant aspect of national security environment.
Regional Studies
This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the changing regional dynamics of the Middle East. The region serves as the primary source for international energy consumption, yet remains an epicenter of instability, radicalism and terrorism. The 2010 Arab uprisings, Iran’s quest for nuclear capability and the rapid expansion of Islamic State have greatly increased the volatility by threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of regional states. A resurgence of political Islam and growing sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shiites add to the regional disorder. Middle Eastern states too weak to control their territory lack the legitimacy or kinetic ability to exert full control over their borders. In these fragile areas, State and nonstate threats thrive and pose tremendous national security challenges and concerns for the region and beyond.

The course will examine the national Security challenges facing Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinians, and analyze how recent shifting political, social, and economic dynamics impact them. The course will focus on the regional actors attitudes of the challenges and threats they face and on the strategies they have chosen to confront them. It thus provides critical perspective to students seeking a more comprehensive understanding of the changing Middle Eastern landscape and foreign policy. The course is designed for students interested in the Middle East, particularly those interested in national security issues, students of comparative politics and future practitioners, with a curiosity in regional studies.

Movements unify around specific ideas and goals. They are led by charismatic leaders with loyal followers. Popular movements can join the mainstream political process and form parties. Radical Islam is one of the most significant political, Social and cultural phenomena of the 21st century, and will remain a potent force in the foreseeable future. While these violent religious extremists represent a minority view, their threat is real, manifesting through radical Islamic movements. Citing selective Qur’anic verses and Hadiths to justify violence, radical Islamic movements are transnational and draw inspiration from medieval and contemporary ideologues. They pose serious risks to U.S. national security interests by threatening the international system and undermining U.S. interests. Islamist movements are united in their vision to implement Islamic law and gain power, yet they differ tactically on how to achieve these goals. Some movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah seek to gain power by coopting the loyalty of their constituents by blending other ideologies such as nationalism to gain power. Others like al-Qaeda and Islamic State emphasize


spectacular terrorist operations to recruit and fulfill their objectives of creating a Caliphate. The Islamic Republic of Iran expands its empire through proxies and terrorist militias.

The course will analyze the goals, strategy and ideology of Sunni and Shia Islamist movements. It will assess what motivates these movements and why they are successful, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the course will focus on the ideological foundations, structural origins, political and military capabilities, and strategies of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian revolutionary regime, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State, as well as the Somali-based al-Shabaab, Nigerian-based Boko Haram, Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, the Caucasus Emirate in Russia and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement in China.

At the end of the Cold War, Russia withdrew from the world Stage as a great player. Communism had collapsed, the Russian empire was smaller than since Peter the Great assumed the throne, the Russian military was belittled and almost irrelevant and Russia was disparaged and ignored by much of the West. Central and Eastern Europe left the Russian orbit and returned to Europe. Leaders in the U.S., and Europe argued that Russia had much to learn from the West


and if Russia was to be successful it had listen. Russia had become irrelevant as a major force in international relations. That all changed with the ascent of Vladimir Putin. This course will focus on the collapse of the Soviet Union and its “rebirth” as a great power. Russia redux is significant for the evolution of a host of strategic issues that complicate and challenge U.S. interests, policies and actions across a wide range of issues-Syria and the broader Middle East, the Baltics, arms control, Ukraine, Crimea, etc. We will examine the strategic interplay between the U.S. and Russia, what U.S. interests are at stake, what options the U.S. has and how they can be implemented and where there are potential areas of agreement.