The Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS)

The Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS) is a unique, professionally-oriented graduate school offering a Master of Arts Degree in U.S. national security. The DMGS 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.

. . . to develop the skills to diagnose contemporary and over-the-horizon threats and opportunities . . .


This program enhances students’ 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 U.S. interests. The program will also cover U.S. government organizational and institutional arrangements and the authority of individual agencies to implement policy. In addition, the tensions between national security policy and practices and liberal democracy will be considered as well as how the U.S. 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 non-kinetic capabilities of the other two DMGS programs – Intelligence and Managing Disruption and Violence (MDV).

NSC 601, Introduction to National Security

This course is divided into four parts. Part I will focus on generally accepted concepts of deception and counter deception with an emphasis on the underlying concepts that enable operational and strategic deceptions. Part II is designed to introduce the student to operational level deception and its impact on national decision making and warning. Part III will build upon parts one and two in order to facilitate the construction of a holistic model for Russian Strategic Deception and Information Confrontation. Part IV will move beyond strategic military and information confrontation and analyze strategic-political deception and provocations and apply previous concepts to a detailed analysis of current events.


Understanding contemporary Chinese history, starting with the Qing Dynasty, with a focus on post 1979 normalization of Sino-U.S. relations, will permit the students to better understand China’s approach to relations with the U.S. Knowledge of China’s military and political organizations will permit the students to better understand these organs of power and how they attempt to manage the plethora of international and domestic issues confronting China. It will also permit the student to appreciate the complexity of crafting a national strategy for dealing with an expansionist China.

NSC 639, Research Methods for Social Sciences

This course is divided into four discreet, yet interdependent parts:

  • Qualitative Research Methods;
  • Quantitative Research Methods;
  • Critical Thinking and Complexity Theory; and
  • Writing Workshop

The overall objectives/learning outcomes are to:

  • Equip students with the ability, skills and knowledge to conduct and produce quality research in the rapidly changing environment of 21st social science; and
  • To give students the skills to evaluate and analyze a wide variety of social science situations in order to develop and enact new policy solutions to contemporary

The objectives/learning outcomes for the sections on qualitative and quantitative research methods are to equip students with an understanding, expertise and ability to apply the most important contemporary research methods currently in use in the social sciences.

The objectives/learning outcomes for the section on critical thinking and complexity theory are to equip students with an understanding, expertise and ability to conduct research and apply solutions to the most complex social science issues in the increasingly interdependent, globalizing world.

The objectives/learning outcomes for the writing workshop are to direct students to apply the methods and skills they learned in the three previous sections, to improve their writing skills and to help prepare them for the research and preparation of their masters’ thesis and set in place the ability to produce quality work in the future.


This course will provide student with an ability to evaluate and assess issue of Terrorism as it impacts the United States.

Despite the national trauma of the attacks on September 11, 2001, terrorism as it impacted the United States is not a new concept. In the Twenty-first century, however, it has taken on a significance that it previously had not had with the American people. It regularly ranks as one of the most important issues in public opinion polls.

The U.S. has a long history of relating to terrorism, whether perceived positively as in the American Revolution or negatively as with the Ku Klux Klan during the post-Civil War period of reconstruction. This experience also is not limited to domestic groups but also includes groups that are controlled or inspired by organizations outside the boarders of the U.S.

Today terrorist groups with minimal assistance from hostile, indifferent, or dysfunctional states can conduct attacks with weapons that range from knives, firearms, vehicles, to weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, from a national security perspective, terrorist groups, either domestically or internationally inspired, represent a unique challenge. Past separations between actions by hostile governments and non- state actors confuse the decision whether the response should be by national security elements such as the military or law enforcement resources. Terrorism also represents an arena where a non-state actor’s powers can equal or exceed that of a nation state.

This course will prepare students in the fields of national security, defense, intelligence, and foreign policy to understand and account for the dimension of Terrorism as it has evolved to as we see it today.


NSC 707 - U.S. Military Strategy

Globalization, the IT revolution, and ethno-nationalist and religious tensions have altered traditional conceptions of warfare. This course will accordingly analyze the effects of current global political, economic, and technological trends on US military plans and operations. It will address the need for less unilateralism and more coalitions of the willing in future as well as closer integration of civilian and military leadership in counterinsurgency and nation-building operations.

The course will also address the importance of winning “the war of perception” among democracies, which increasingly oppose casualties and challenge the lawfulness of warfare, domestic budgetary issues, and the strategic implications of doing more with less. There will be special emphasis on US Naval Strategy.

The objectives of this course are:

  • Identify the major concepts in the history of strategy;
  • Examine the particular importance of Clausewitz;
  • Survey the critical role of technology in winning wars;
  • Evaluate the challenges faced by the United States at a time of budget constraints and the unprecedented rise of non-state actors; and
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas clearly, concisely, and effectively in writing, discussions, and presentations.

This course introduces students to current public management policies and issues relevant to the security of the United States. The coordination of federal, state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations which respond to threats is vital to the security of people, property and our way of life. The course relies upon theories, concepts and case studies to explore the challenges facing organizations which are a part of protecting our homeland security.

NSC 711 - U.S. and Foreign Perspectives on Strategic Approaches

This course is an introduction to approaches in strategy. Additionally, it exposes students to strategic thought and the theorists who have influenced both Eastern and Western practices of strategy. It provides a foundation in strategic theory and approaches to strategic thought as an analytical framework to understanding the cultural, religious, historical, and leadership sources of state and non-state actor behavior. It discusses foreign and US perspectives as well as concepts of the use of force (strength), stratagems (guile) and the power of information (ideas). Strategy must be developed in a holistic manner, integrating the diplomatic, informational, military and economic elements of power in a “whole of government” approach. Students will also be exposed to the strategy formulation process of ends, ways and means. At the course’s conclusion, students will formulate an alternative Strategy which balances the approaches of strength and guile, coupled with the means to influence state and non-state actors with its ideas and economic resources to counteract an adversary’s strategy.

NSC 712, Nuclear Weapons/Missile Defense/WMD Policy

Overview: An in depth look at three critical Defense areas of Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense and Countering WMD Policies that have been revised in 2017 and 2018.
Nuclear Weapons: On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The President made clear that his first priority is to protect the United States, allies, and partners. He also emphasized both the long-term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and the requirement that the United States have modern, flexible, and resilient nuclear capabilities that are safe and secure until such a time as nuclear weapons can prudently be eliminated from the world.
Missile Defense: The Trump administration is working on an expanded U.S. missile defense policy that would address certain threats from Russia and China, departing from a previous strategy that focused nearly exclusively on rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran. The new policy will still call for bolstered technology against rogue states, with a particular focus on weapons to intercept North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s missiles. But it will also mention the need to consider missile threats from Russia and China, according to people familiar with the review.
Countering WMD: The Department of Defense Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction seeks to ensure that the United States and its allies and partners are neither attacked nor coerced by actors with WMD. It outlines three end states: no new WMD possession, no WMD use, and minimization of WMD effects. The strategy also establishes countering WMD priority objectives for the Department of Defense (DoD), defines an approach for achieving them, and identifies essential activities and tasks. Countering WMD (CWMD) objectives focus on cooperative efforts to shape the security environment and take early action against adversaries. These objectives are to reduce incentives to pursue, possess, and employ WMD; to increase the barriers to WMD acquisition, proliferation, and use; to manage WMD risks emanating from hostile, fragile, or failed states and safe havens; and to deny the effects of current and emerging WMD threats through layered, integrated defenses.


This course focuses on the relevance of classical liberalism, especially as  it animated the American founding, to US global security interests, with particular attention to rule of law and religious toleration. The claim that this course will seek to elucidate is that these principles make not just for a better world, but also for a safer world. In addition, this course will offer students approaches to understanding the potential for reconciliation of tensions between the values of liberal democracy and the imperatives of national security.


This course is an introduction to approaches in strategy through-out history to current times. It is also an introduction to strategic thought and the theorists who have influenced both Eastern and Western practices of strategy. It provides a foundation in strategic theory and approaches to strategic thought as an analytical framework to understanding the cultural, religious, historical, and leadership sources of state and non-state actor behavior.


A crucially important but too-often neglected component of U.S. national security policy involves political strategy. Political strategy entails the use of a range of ways and means—diplomacy, education and training, security assistance, humanitarian aid, media, and other overt and discreet methods—to affect a society’s political life, including its formal governing arrangements, its culture and popular sentiments, as well as its external and strategic orientation.

America needs political strategy to pursue a range of foreign policies and strategic ends—from bolstering allies and weakening adversaries, to shoring up fragile or contested states, to fostering a more open, law-based and just international order. Today, however, the U.S.’s political influence and its capacity to pursue such ends is being challenged by a diversity of political adversaries and in a more sustained and concerted fashion than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Without a political strategy to compete, it is becoming more difficult, if not impossible, for the U.S. to be successful overseas diplomatically, commercially, or strategically.

In this course, we will begin by looking at what is meant by political strategy and why it matters to U.S. national security, including to the U.S.’s performance as an international and strategic actor. We will then delve into the political dimensions of some of the key challenges facing U.S. security policy today. In the first part of the course, we will look at the challenges posed by resurgent authoritarianism to the post-1991 “liberal world order” and to U.S. alliances structures in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and we will then consider some U.S. political strategies for coping with this. In the second part of the course, we will look at the weakening or breakdown of the Westphalian state-based order in the Middle East and elsewhere and how a variety of revisionist and hostile actors have taken advantage of this. We will then consider some of the political strategies and overseas political operations capabilities that the U.S. could use to address the problem of state fragility. Through this and class exercises, we will learn about how to design and apply “whole of government, whole of society” political strategies that America will need to compete in this new environment and advance its interests and principles.


The environment, it seems insultingly obvious, is everywhere. It affects and is affected by all human activity. It is, in its healthy, plentiful state, a fundamental human need and an associated right that all human beings deserve to enjoy. No less might such a statement be made with regard to security in its variegated forms. Everyone needs it – and therefore has an associated right to experience it. Accordingly, there is an inextricable link that ties the environment and security together – notwithstanding the enduring tendency of those in and out of power who traditionally have equated security with defense to deny such a linkage. This course seeks to examine the interrelationship between the environment and security – individual/human security, national security, global security – in an attempt to equip course participants with a thoroughgoing understanding of the phenomenon, an appreciation of how it affects national and international relations, and the intellectual wherewithal to operate effectively as decision makers, planners, and advisors charged with responsibility for formulating and implementing effective public policy.


The purpose of this class is to develop key skills, knowledge and attributes for leading national security practices in government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. The course provides students with an understanding of the key elements of leadership; case studies in alternative leadership styles and environments; an opportunity to assess their own leadership styles and practices; and an appreciation for the tools that affect outcomes, develop human capital, and drive change. Finally, the course provides an opportunity to experience the challenges of national security decision-making first hand through simulations and exchanges with national security experts.

Students who complete this course will know the key elements of effective leadership in national security practices. They will understand the fundamentals of strategic planning and decision-making and have sufficient functional expertise to evaluate the efficacy of planning and decision-making at an operational or strategic level.

NSC 730, National Security Planning, Strategy and Decision Making for the 21st Century

Washington’s problem in a 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 course is designed to provide non-lawyers (although DMGS students with legal training are welcome to take the course) with an introduction to legal rules and principles related to national security and the Intelligence Community (IC). It will examine key rules of domestic and international law, starting with the

  • Constitution and including major statutes, executive orders, and other rules of domestic law—with references to international law as It is not designed to make students experts in the field, but rather to enable them to recognize potential problem areas so that they can seek professional guidance from IC attorneys when legal issues do arise.

The course will emphasize the importance of respect for the rule of law and ethical behavior.

NSC 732, Low Intensity Conflict

The course is a detailed examination of the theory and practice of conflict in circumstances less than general conventional war. Key concepts and strategic principles pertaining to asymmetric warfare, terrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency, irregular warfare, unconventional warfare, and military operations less than war (peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance) will be examined. This course examines the causes, conduct, patterns, and effects of conflict short of total or general war. It covers the modern insurgency period from Mao Tse Tung’s approach in the Chinese Civil War through our present times with the Global Jihad.
It asks four fundamental questions in the U.S. context:
• What is modern war in today’s contemporary operating environment?
• What paths has it traveled in the post-World War II era into the early 21st Century?
• What are the trends and where is it headed

NSC 733, Diplomacy as an Element of National Power

How is Diplomacy changing in a globalized world with all of the new challenges in the 21st Century? What impact has globalization had on the rules based system of International Order?
In today’s world, broad knowledge and specialized skills are required to build cooperation, defuse tension, and promote peace between and among nations, groups, and other entities. This overview course helps students develop skill sets and prepares them to become an international problem solver in any sector, including public, private, nonprofit, and the military.

Program Learning Objectives

Graduates of this degree program will be able to:

  • Identify contemporary and anticipated challenges to U.S. security.
  • Identify, evaluate, and understand the complexities of formulating strategies in functional and regional contexts.
  • Identify the evolution of U.S. institutional arrangements and assigned authorities and the particular relevance of the U.S. experience for U.S. security at home and abroad.
Steven E. Meyer, Ph.D.

Program Chair

Dr. Steven Meyer served 25 years in the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior intelligence analyst and manager. He specialized in European and Russian politics; nuclear weapons, security and defense issues; arms control enforcement; and psychological analysis.