National Security and Defence Policy

The term ―security has many shifting meanings, nuances, and interpretations. This course will begin by exploring alternative and mainstream definitions of security.

Foundational Concepts and Principles:

This section introduces (or reviews) the concepts and principles of international relations theory and then challenges those principles with the effects of globalization. It then goes from the general to the specific by examining American traditions and predilections. The war powers of the executive and legislative branches are presented including historical examples

National Security Strategy. The meaning of grand strategy is provided before presenting the 8 variations of the Cold War containment strategy, the post-Cold War strategic alternatives, and the strategies of the post-Cold War administrations. A number of strategic concepts are introduced.

Instruments and Actors. This block first presents the departments and agencies of the executive branch that house the capacities to act. The relevant congressional committees are identified and covered briefly.

Orchestrating the Instruments of National Power. We now turn to the problem of orchestrating all the instruments of power. The National Security Council is the highest level organization charged with integrating responsibilities. Each administration’s NSC is reviewed to identify what works and what doesn’t.



Brainard, Lael and Derek Chollet, eds. 2007. Too Poor for Peace? Global Poverty, Conflict, and Security in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. (not yet in bookstore) Davis, Mike. 2006. Planet of Slums. London: Verso Books. (not yet in bookstore) Raspail, Jean. 1973. The Camp of the Saints. Petoskey, Michigan: The Social Contract Press.

Cohen, William S., “The Defense Strategy,” Annual Report of the Secretary of Defense to the President and the Congress, 2000, Chapter 1, pp. 1-16.

Hoffman, Bruce. 1999. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Douglas P. Lackey, The Ethics of War and Peace (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989), Chapter 3, pp. 28-57.

Laqueur, Walter. 2000. The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Marc Sageman, “Understanding Terror Networks,” E-Notes, Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), November 1, 2004, pp.1-5.

Robert Art and Kenneth Waltz, The Use of Force, 6th Edition (New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).

Robert Kagan, “Power and Weakness,” Policy Review (June 2002), pp. 1-21

Robert Powell, In The Shadow of Power: States and Strategies in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999),  pp. 3-39.

Russell, Howard and Reid Sawyer. eds. 2002. Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Understanding the New Security Environment, Readings and Interpretations. New York: McGraw Hill.

Russell, Howard and Reid Sawyer. eds. 2004. Defeating Terrorism: Shaping the New Security Environment. Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw Hill.

Stephen Van Evera, “Offense, Defense, and the Causes of War,” reprinted from InternationalSecurity (Spring 1998), pp. 23-44.

Walter Laqueur, “The Changing Face of Terror,” reprinted from James F. Hoge and Gideon Rose, How Did This Happen?: Terrorism and the New War (New York, NY: Perseus Books, 2001), pp. 450-457.


Benchmarking: The Johns Hopkins University


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