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NSEC503 - U.S. National Security

Course Details

Course Code: NSEC503 Course ID: 3474 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course assesses the major concepts of strategic thinking that underpin the national security decision making process in the U.S. Students analyze the fundamental nature of power in the international arena, how national security objectives are determined, grand strategies available to attain national security objectives and the ways in which the elements of national power are applied to achieve desired objectives. The course surveys national security policies since the end of the Cold War, examines regional security concerns to the U.S., covers the concept and principal components of national security strategy and evaluates the most important theories that explain how states and non-state actors interact in the international arena. The student examines current challenges to U.S. national security interests, especially terrorism and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and evaluates future national security policies and challenges.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session
04/26/21 - 10/01/21 10/04/21 - 11/28/21 Fall 2021 Session B 8 Week session
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

CO-1: Examine the foundations of U.S. National Security Policy.

CO-2: Analyze U.S. national security policies from the end of WWII to the present.

CO-3: Assess the effectiveness of U.S. National Security strategies available to the United States from the end of WWII to the present.

CO-4: Evaluate the factors that contribute to U.S. national power in the post-WWII era.

CO-5: Generate ideas regarding future international security challenges.

The course grade is based on the following assessments:

Discussions – 20 percent

Assignment 1 (PMESII Background Assessment) – 15 percent

Assignment 2 (DIMEFIL Policy Recommendation) – 35 percent

Final Assignment – 30 percent

See the Weekly Content for all readings

Book Title:From Colony to Superpower: U. S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (Ebook available through the APUS Online Library)
Publication Info:Oxford University Press
Author:Herring, George C
Unit Cost:$36.40
Book Title:Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Oxford University Press
Author:John Lewis Gaddis
Unit Cost:$21.35
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.