DHP P205: National Security Decision-making: Theory & Practice
This course examines national security decision-making from both a theoretical perspective and from its execution in practice. The seminar focuses on how national security decisions are made rather than on the theories of international relations or the substantive content of national security or foreign policies. The course begins with the history of the U.S. National Security Council,current structures, actors, and processes in the U.S. system of national security decision-making. Next, the course examines theoretical models of decision-making including cognitive biases, organizational processes, bureaucratic politics, and how senior leaders often use history and analogies in their decisions. The course also explores the roles of the Departments of State and Defense, the intelligence community, the influence of Congress and the media as well as the prospects for national security reform. Students are asked to analyze historical case studies and current events considering the broad themes covered throughout the semester. Emphasis throughout the course is placed on the national security decision-making system of the United States (and particularly on the Executive Branch), but participants are strongly encouraged to examine the systems andactors of other states and multinational organizations.