Full freedom of expression is encouraged during all academic endeavors. Outside speakers and lecturers, faculty and students are encouraged to speak openly. It is the policy of the College that students and faculty will not attribute speaker's statements in public media or forums or knowingly transmit them to persons who will. When it is necessary to refer to remarks by a previous speaker, make that reference in general terms so as to protect the previous speaker's identity.

This non-attribution policy applies to online lectures, videos, forums, and any other presentations made available to the Distance Education Program students. Online participants contribute to the Distance Education Program based on the adherence of our students to this policy.

It is permissible to include USAWC lectures in bibliographies of research papers, but to do this, specific written permission must be obtained from the speaker.

USAWC podium and chairs at graduation.

The Distance Education Program consists of a series of eight primary online courses, an elective or directed research project, and two summer resident courses, taken over a two-year period. Each course is composed of numerous lessons. The lesson is the basic unit of instruction and consists of selected readings and other educational materials that support accomplishment of course objectives. Course performance is evaluated through writing forum participation and exercise requirements. Individual student requirements are subjective in nature, based on required study and designed to ensure that course objectives are attained.

Attendance at both scheduled resident courses of instruction is required for successful completion of the curriculum. Students should plan to attend the resident course for the class in which they are enrolled. Exceptions to attendance in resident courses can be granted, but only for the most extraordinary compelling reasons. In exceptional circumstances, permission to be deferred from resident course attendance to attend a resident course scheduled for the subsequent class may be granted for compelling reasons. Requests for deferment from resident course attendance should be submitted in writing to the Chairman, Department of Distance Education, U.S. Army War College, 122 Forbes Avenue, Carlisle, PA 17013-5243.

NOTE: Please click below to expand descriptions of each program and their course offerings.

First Year Studies

DE2300 - Orientation to Strategic Leader Education (No Credit Hours)

This course is designed to prepare the student for education at the strategic leadership level. It serves to introduce the student to methods of learning used at the U.S. Army War College Department of Distance Education. It introduces the student to adult learning concepts, critical thinking skills, and graduate level writing skills. Mastery of these skills is essential for the student to successfully complete the two-year U.S. Army War College curriculum. Students may also participate in a two-day voluntary Orientation Program at Carlisle Barracks.

DE2301 - Strategic Leadership (3 Credit Hours)

The Strategic Leadership course provides the doctrinal foundation of the Army War College curriculum. In this course, students examine the foundations of leadership at the strategic level with an emphasis on evaluating competencies and challenges and civil-military relations. Students also evaluate strategic decision making to include critical and creative thinking, and ethical decision making. Finally, students apply Strategic Leader competencies and decision making factors to a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment.

DDE Orientation for Class AY16.

DE2302 - National Security Policy and Strategy (4 Credit Hours)

The National Security Policy and Strategy course is focused on American national security and foreign policy formulation. This course provides a theoretical framework for analyzing the international context for security issues. Students examine the interagency process for developing and implementing U.S. foreign and security policies, making the connections between the various external and domestic influences at play. Finally, students are introduced to a methodology for formulating and assessing national security strategies that employ all instruments of national power.

DE2303 - War and Military Strategy (4 Credit Hours)

This course examines the history and theory of war and military strategy, providing students with a strategic level understanding of the military element of power. The fundamental nature and evolving characteristics of varying levels of conflict provide students with insights about how war and conflict shape strategic thought and military practice. Studying classic and contemporary masters of strategic thought provides a foundation for examining war and formulating current and future military strategy.

DDE Resident Course 2013.

DE2304 - Regional Issues and Interests (3 Credit Hours)

This course examines important global transnational challenges such as crime and the international drug trade, poverty and development, disease, migration, energy security, the environment, and fragile/failing states. These issues challenge the prosperity, political capacity and security of many regions and countries of the world. The course also examines the world's several regions and contributes to the regional strategic appraisal process, with each student focusing on one of the following in their regional elective: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Greater Middle East, and Russia/Eurasia.

DE2306 - First Resident Course: Strategic Leadership in a Global Environment (3 Credit Hours)

The First Resident Course provides the first year student with an opportunity to explore strategic leadership in the global environment through guest lectures and seminar interaction. It provides an opportunity to better understand the interrelationships between the five courses that make up the first year of studies. Of equal importance, this course transitions the DEP student into the second year of studies. Resident instruction offers a number of activities for the Distance Education student. These include seminar discussions, case studies and exercises, lectures and an exposure to all of the unique resources that are offered at Carlisle Barracks. For example, activities such as a staff ride to Antietam, a class session in Washington, D.C. and voluntary physical assessments are a part of the program as are special noontime lectures. Students have an opportunity to visit and work in the USAWC Library and the Military History Institute. Equally important, the resident course allows DEP students to function in a War College seminar group and through the development of a seminar bond, create a second year seminar for online students as well as form associations that last for a lifetime.

Second Year Studies

DE2307 - Contemporary Security Issues (3 Credit Hours)

DE2307 is a survey course that challenges students to examine contemporary and future concepts that will influence U.S. National Security and war fighting over the next twenty years. The course provides materials that will provoke student critical thinking on aspects of warfare in the 21st Century, to include globalization, irregular warfare, space, cyber warfare and leveraging information in the operational environment (network-centric operations) that incorporate land, sea, air, and space technologies. Students will investigate such emerging issues associated with Defense, Joint, and Army Transformation. This course acts as a catalyst and resource for students to draw upon as they broaden their knowledge of future joint force capabilities in their role as strategic leaders.

DDE Graduation 2013.

DE2308 - DOD Organization and Processes (3 Credit Hours)>

DE2308 provides the student, as a future leader in the strategic environment, with information and tools to increase his/her strategic leader technical competency and understanding of DOD structure and function and how DOD integrates into the overall national security structure. Its content furnishes the student with knowledge of the systems and processes that help senior national and military leaders translate theory into military strategy, plans, actions, and resources. The course examines the interactions of systems and processes including the Joint Strategic Planning System (JSPS) and DOD Decision Support Systems including the Joint Capabilities Integration & Development System (JCIDS); the DOD Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution (PPBE) process; and the Defense Acquisition System (DAS). [The course also explores doctrine for unified direction and organization, joint command and control, joint and multinational operations, and interagency, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organization coordination.] The material in DE2308 is a logical follow-on to that of the First Year courses and sets the stage for the remainder of the Second Year core courses.

DE2309 - Theater Strategy and Campaigning I (3 Credit Hours)

DE2309 focuses on the operational strategic aspects of planning at the theater level. Students will look at the development of theater strategy, and how it links to the overarching guidance received from the civilian leadership. They will also examine how the combatant commanders implement decisions made by that civilian leadership. Finally, the course sets the stage for theater operations by examining the capabilities of the Services, interagency capabilities and joint logistics. This course consists of three blocks designed to explain how combatant commanders translate national strategic guidance into theater strategies. The first block will address Services and interagency capabilities. Block two covers theater strategy and goes into detail regarding one important aspect of that strategy: theater security cooperation. The final block will examine Security, Stability, Transition and Reconstruction Operations and Counterinsurgency Operations.

DE2310 - Theater Strategy and Campaigning II (4 Credit Hours)

Theater Strategy and Campaigning II utilizes the concepts covered in DE2309 (Theater Strategy and Campaigning I) to address how combatant commanders translate national and theater strategies into the precursor products required to plan a campaign in an operational environment. The course introduces the emerging concept of design and addresses the fundamentals of operational art and joint doctrine for campaign planning. Students will examine the employment of military forces to attain theater-level strategic and operational objectives through the design, organization and integration of theater campaigns. Students will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of campaign planning and learn how to prepare the key planning products a joint force commander would use to create a campaign plan. This course uses joint and Service doctrinal material, historical case studies and two on line labs to reinforce key concepts and learning objectives. DE2310 continues the process of building upon war fighting concepts introduced in the previous courses.

Gettysburg Trip 2013.

DE2312 - Second Resident Course: Strategic Leadership in Current and Future Warfare (3 Credit Hours)

Strategic Leadership in Current and Future Warfare examines strategic leadership and its application to the use of military forces in current and future warfare. In the process students assess and discuss the current issues facing the defense establishment, develop a better understanding of the interaction of the elements of power, and expand on their knowledge of the relationships between the Department of Defense and those organizations that influence the implementation of national security strategy (e.g., interagency, media, NGO, IO). This course is designed to be the capstone course for the Distance Education Program and builds upon and compliments the previous two years of study. Just as in the First Resident Course, students attend expert lectures by current military and civilian leadership, participate in seminar discussions, staff rides, case studies and exercises and exploit the full resources of the United States Army War College. The students also participate with invited guests from the Commandant's National Security Program. The class will also attend a staff ride at Gettysburg.

Elective Program

Every student in the Distance Education Program is required to participate in the elective program. Electives provide students with instruction in a specialized subject which will build on the knowledge gained during the two year program and which will be either of personal or professional interest to the student. The list of offerings varies from year to year. Courses in the Elective Program are taught by USAWC faculty and are designed to provide the opportunity for greater depth of study with an expert in a specific area of study. Examples of courses that are traditionally offered follow.

DE2325 - Strategic Leadership Case Studies

This elective complements the DDE core course DE2301 Strategic Leadership, primarily through the use of leadership case studies. DE2301 introduced students to the concepts and skills required of leaders in the unique strategic leadership environment, characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) and the limited utility of directive authority. DE2325 is designed to further explore the theory students learned in DE2301 and fill a couple gaps in the core curriculum. DE2325 utilizes case studies from both the military and business. Some additional "theoretical" readings are assigned to augment DE2301 instruction.

DE2328 - Strategic Communication: Wielding the Information Element of Power

Everything we say and do communicates. However, the U.S. Government (USG) has been less than successful in achieving national objectives when communicating to foreign populations. The Information instrument is a powerful tool that can be wielded by the USG, the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders to achieve national and military objectives. However, there is no national strategy or formal military policy and doctrine to guide the practice of strategic communication by commanders and practitioners. This course will explore the theory of human communication as a foundation, review current practices, the evolving nature of communication strategy, new media and the integration of communication strategy into planning and evaluation. Students will gain an appreciation for the challenges and opportunities offered by this powerful instrument.

DE2329 - Special Operations Forces

DE2329 introduces you to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the U.S. Special Operations Forces' (SOF) Service components responsible for organizing, training, and equipping our nation's SOF. The course will enhance your ability, as a future strategic leader or conventional force planner, to integrate and employ SOF to achieve military and political objectives. Readings and reference materials are included to support the course learning objectives. At the end of this course, you will be acquainted with the organization, missions, collateral capabilities, employment considerations and limitations of U.S. SOF. You will have a degree of skill in analyzing the operational environment and considering appropriate application of SOF consistent with their force structure, roles and functions. Finally, you will have a foundation of synthesized information to analyze relevant strategic and operational opportunities, or challenges, to inform and advise employing SOF. As you complete the four blocks of this course, consider your own thoughts about strategic and operational decision making. As an educated national security professional, you should carefully assess the theories and ideas about the future operational environment, war, strategy, and decision making. From this examination of SOF and Irregular Warfare (IW), you should develop your own concept for integrating and employing SOF to achieve military and political objectives in furtherance of U.S. national policy.

DE2330 - Pacific War Strategy 1941-1945

DE2330 provides you the opportunity to study and evaluate key national and theater strategic decisions of the 1941-1945 Pacific War. The purpose of the course is to expand your comprehension of strategy and strategic thinking and to enhance your ability to make or influence strategic decisions in the future. The primary focus is on American strategic decision making during the Pacific War fought from 1941 to 1945 between the Empire of Japan and the United States and its allies in the Pacific Ocean and Southwest Pacific Areas (POA and SWPA). However, you will also consider the perspective of the Japanese and U.S. allies and will examine events in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, in Southeast Asia Command (SEAC), in the Russian Far East, and in Europe that affected the Pacific War.

The course begins with an examination of the Japanese decision for war and an overview of the Pacific War in the overall context of World War II. You will then explore one of three key strategic decisions of the war within an online, asynchronous forum. In addition, you will write a paper evaluating an additional strategic decision of the war of your choice. The course includes readings and online interactive material to support the course objectives. At the end of this course, you should be able to apply the skills acquired in the strategic leadership, strategy, theater strategy, and campaigning courses to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate historical strategic decisions and to extrapolate from those evaluations to expand your own ability to develop sound strategic decisions.

DE2331 - Achieving Unity of Effort in the Interagency

This course considers the possible impact of a whole-of-nation approach when developing and implementing strategy. Success for today's strategic leaders may depend on their ability to leverage the capabilities of a wide array of non-DoD assets. The ability to interact, coordinate, and collaborate with U.S. government agencies, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) enhances mission readiness and assists military forces in a host of tasks and roles. DE2331 provides an intellectual foundation for many issues now facing the military in general, the Army in specific, and strategic leaders at all levels. Students will examine the challenges of interagency relations -- working with subdivisions of the United States Government in a coordinated effort to achieve national policy goals.

DE2333 - Economics and National Security

This course is designed to provide the students a familiarity with the field of political economy focusing on those economic concepts, actors and processes that have implications for national security. The course is not an economics course, but rather seeks to examine the political impact that economic phenomena have on the United States as it conducts national security policy. From the perspective of U.S. national security, two major issues relating to the international economy are especially important. The first issue involves the general health of the U.S. economy as measured against other countries, for military capability must ultimately rest on a strong economic foundation. The second major issue in the global economy (and one with direct implications for U.S. military operations) involves the problem of fostering economic development in poor countries. Many commentators have noted that conflict and war in the 21st century seem most likely to involve developing countries. This course will examine these two issues in some detail.

DE2334 - Seapower

DE2334 is designed to enhance USAWC Distance Education students' comprehension of a maritime perspective on the execution of the National Military Strategy and joint/combined operations around the globe. Students will analyze the U.S. Maritime Forces' "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower" and the "Naval Operations Concept 2010". They will then examine the roles, missions and force structure of the Aviation, Surface, Underwater and Expeditionary components of the Navy, including the Navy's interdependence with the U.S. Coast Guard and other interagency partners in Homeland Defense. The course closes with a campaign analysis of a historical naval campaign, which allows students to study a complex expeditionary naval operation, some of the fundamental naval warfare tasks, and how naval forces can support a land campaign. This elective course is designed to specifically enhance the "joint" education experience of a USAWC Distance Education student. The purpose of the course is to expand the students' comprehension of maritime strategy and provide an appreciation for strategic direction of the U.S. Maritime Forces to enhance their ability to make or influence strategic decisions in the future.

DE2335 - Airpower and Modern Warfare

DE2335 introduces Distance Education students to the evolution of airpower in warfare, examines its employment in the contemporary national security environment, and considers its potential roles in the strategic environment and types of conflict that frame the 21st century. Students will become familiar with the origins of airpower and decisions regarding its employment throughout history, analyze this influence on the evolution of airpower doctrine and strategy in the current 21st century strategic environment, and develop an appreciation for the future direction of airpower in support of U.S. national security policy and strategy. DE2335 primarily uses course readings and a Blackboard forum to support course objectives. At the end of this course, students should be able to apply the skills acquired in the strategic leadership, strategy, theater strategy, and campaigning courses to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the nature and theory of airpower. Students completing this course should have a broader perspective on the use of air power, to include its capabilities and its limitations. In addition, students should use this study to further their abilities to assess other theories and ideas about war, strategy, and decisionmaking to better prepare them to meet future challenges they will face as senior leaders in the national security process.

DE2336 - U.S. Experience with Counterinsurgency

DE2336 studies and assesses the U.S. experience with counterinsurgency (COIN) within the larger framework of irregular warfare. This elective consists of six lessons: COIN doctrine, COIN theory, Philippine Insurrection case study, Vietnam case study, Afghanistan case study and the future of COIN. During the course, students analyze traditional views of COIN, current thoughts on COIN, evolution of COIN during operations and the future of COIN in U.S. strategy. DE2336 is appropriate for all students; experience with COIN in not a prerequisite.

DE2337 - Campaign Analysis

This course explores the strategic and operational art of warfare by analyzing joint and combined operations in ten important 20th century campaigns. National and theater-level strategy of that time, classical theory and current doctrine for campaign planning are used to analyze these campaigns to gain insight into current and future operations. The course is composed of five blocks, each of which offers an appreciation of campaign planning and operational design through the analysis of two campaigns using strategic leadership theory or one of the following joint functions:

  • Movement and Maneuver
  • Intelligence
  • Sustainment
  • Command and Control

In most cases, one of the campaigns provides an example of a successful employment of the joint function or leadership concept discussed as well as an example of one that was not successful. This course offers the opportunity to examine each joint function and concept to a much greater degree than was possible in the core curriculum and will develop the student's competence in evaluating their integration into planning and execution of successful campaigns. This course applies to all military branches of service as well as civilian professionals.

DE2338 - Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA)

A secure U.S. homeland is the Nation's first priority and is a fundamental aspect of the National Military Strategy. The Department of Defense (DOD) protects the homeland through two distinct but interrelated missions: Homeland Defense (HD) and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA). Elective DE2338 addresses DOD support of U.S. civil authorities for domestic emergencies and for designated law enforcement and other activities. This elective will discuss the role of joint forces within the domestic operational environment, with particular emphasis on how DSCA operations conducted by joint forces within the United States differ from stability operations conducted overseas. It provides a detailed review of the Joint and Army doctrine that governs the activities and performance of U.S. armed forces in DSCA operations and provides the doctrinal basis for interagency coordination during domestic DSCA operations. In addition to reviewing appropriate military doctrine, the elective will also focus on the mechanisms for providing DSCA that exist in law, policy, and Department of Defense directives.

DE2339 - Geostrategy

This course examines the classic environment-based geopolitical theories to better understand today's international situation. The strategic environment is viewed through three lenses: Alfred Mahan's "Sea Power"; the landpower "Heartland" theory of Halford Mackinder and its counterpoint, Nicholas Spykman's "Rimland" theory; and the airpower-centric views of Alexander de Seversky The importance of a country's physical geography, culture, economic base and demographics are each examined to determine their influence on these theories and the attainment of national power.

DE2340 - Energy and National Security

This course introduces students to the issues and policies concerning energy that affect the national security of the United States. They will evaluate the international and American definitions of energy security and the efficacy of (or actual existence of) national energy strategies. They will comprehend the benefits and risks to U.S. energy independence inherent in the wide range of nonrenewable and renewable sources of energy. Analysis of the infrastructure that delivers energy and the sources of data that inform national leaders' decisions regarding energy policy will allow the students to synthesize a more complete understanding of this critical component of the U.S. economy. Finally, students will explore how current and future Department of Defense and service energy policy and strategy affect the deployment, employment and sustainment of joint and coalition forces. Students in DE2340 will dialogue in the online forum with their Army War College resident education program counterparts concurrently taking the equivalent resident elective (WF2245 Energy and National Security).

DE2342 Peace and Stability Operations

DE2342 - Peace and Stability Operations builds senior leader understanding of the principles, policies, doctrine, challenges and effective practices of peace and stability operations at the strategic and operational levels. This elective has been designed to include in-depth coverage of how the United States (U.S.), the United Nations (UN), and our future multinational partners will approach peace and stability operations now and into the future.

DE2343 - Landpower: Theory, Practice, and Application

DE2343 is designed to provide a greater understanding of the theory, doctrine, and contemporary employment of landpower beyond that afforded by DE2310 in the core curriculum. It is designed to allow the USAWC DEP student to evaluate the potential of joint and multinational land forces and landpower on the conduct of warfare in the land domain in the contemporary operating environment. The course begins with the theories of landpower, then provides a historical overview of major landpower operations since World War II, and then discusses contemporary land operations and service, joint, and multinational organization and doctrine for land operations.

DE2344 - Program Research Project (PRP)

To demonstrate your grasp of the body of ideas you have studied and your ability to visualize a specific strategic security issue, you now have an opportunity to research and write on a strategic-level subject of your choosing. Several criteria are associated with this requirement, however. Throughout the core courses, you have prepared relatively short papers to fulfill each lesson's written requirement. The DE2344 Program Research Project (PRP) writing requirement is somewhat longer and somewhat different. You are to prepare a research paper with a strategic focus. The paper must be clear, persuasive, well written, and carefully documented with a minimum of 20 different references. Your paper must reflect quality research efforts, demonstrate thoughtful analysis, and conform to the highest standards of professional writing. Your writing must be at the graduate level, i.e., clear, concise, grammatically correct, logical, readable, and professionally polished. Be sure to consult the USAWC Communicative Arts Directive and other helpful resources linked to this course homepage.

DE2345 - Personal Experience Monograph (PEM)

This elective provides an opportunity to reflect upon your professional mission experiences within a strategic context. The Personal Experience Monograph supports the desire of the Chief of Staff of the Army to capture the experiences of those who have participated in combat or peace operations or who have had unique mission experiences, experiences with the capability of enhancing strategic insight. Several criteria are associated with this requirement. Throughout your courses of study so far, you have prepared relatively short papers to fulfill each lesson's written requirement. The DE 2345 Personal Experience Monograph (PEM) writing requirement is longer and somewhat different. You are to prepare an expository paper based on your personal professional experiences that seeks to incorporate, reflect upon and inform strategic insight. The paper must be clear, well written, and carefully documented when appropriate. Your paper must reflect quality research efforts, demonstrate thoughtful analysis, and conform to the highest standards of professional writing. Your writing must be at the graduate level, i.e., clear, concise, grammatically correct, logical, readable, and professionally polished. Be sure to consult the USAWC Communicative Arts Directive and other helpful resources linked to this course homepage

DE2346 - Directed Study Directed Study in Peace Operations, Stability Operations, or Irregular Warfare (Option 1)

This is a mentored study of the seminal writings on peace operations, stability operations, or irregular warfare that influenced current U.S. government doctrine. Under the direct tutelage of an expert PKSOI faculty advisor, the student will survey important ideas and works through history to determine their influence on current thinking in one of these fields, including publications by the U.S. military, non-Defense agencies, academic institutions, and international organizations. The student will synthesize trends and concepts to explain their impacts on current and future operations, with intent for publication. Participants must have intermediate to advanced understanding of peace, stability, or irregular warfare operations through deployment experience, other research, or past academic exposure, as validated by the PKSOI faculty advisor.

Participants must have intermediate or better knowledge of requested topic, which the PKSOI faculty advisor will verify before acceptance into this program. Student will research and analyze foundational works in peace operations, stability operations, or irregular warfare to determine their influence on U.S. operations and doctrine, and publish the results in a paper of approximately 3000 words. Course requires bi-weekly verbal interaction with the expert PKSOI faculty advisor from December to April and weekly contact in April and May; this directed study is equivalent to completing a PRP/PEM or elective.

DE2346 - Directed Study in Strategic Studies (Option 2)

Students will write a "deep dive" research paper on a topic in one of these regions that complements the research agenda of the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) (as reflected here in the Key Strategic Issue List.) Prospective writers will nominate a strategic research topic within their area of expertise (intermediate to advanced based on academic and/or operational experience) for consideration by SSI. Once approved, the student will independently research and write a paper of at least 6000 words under the mentorship of an assigned SSI Subject Matter Expert (SME) following the standard SSI format as depicted here. The intent is to publish this work through SSI, if it meets the Institute's standards. Students will follow the same time line as the PRP and PEM in the table below.

To be eligible for DE2346 Directed Study, you must:

  1. Ask your Second Year Faculty Instructor to review your writing, research, and reasoning skills and send you an email recommending you for an advanced research project.
  2. Contact the electives director with your FI's endorsement to present your research topic and credentials for review no later than 30 October.
  3. Select "DE2346 Directed Study" as your first choice when the Electives Selection Tool goes on-line later this month. The qualified students with the most relevant topics will be enrolled in the Directed Study elective, and other students will receive one of their other elective choices (without prejudice).
Directed Study Requirement Suspense
Student expresses desire. FI recommends.
Sponsoring Institute screens applicants, then selects best qualified.
15 Sep 14
Topic Approval and preliminary research begins. 31 Oct 14
Thesis Statement Approval. Regular contact with Project Advisor begins. 13 Dec 14
Outline Approval. 14 Feb 15
First draft and abstract due. Weekly contact with Project Advisor begins. 12 May 15
Final Product loaded into OASIS for evaluation. 3 Jun 15

DE 2348 - Negotiations

All of us negotiate every day. The negotiation could be as simple as two colleagues deciding where to go to lunch, or as complex as multiple representatives from different countries hammering out a trade deal. Everyone negotiates; not everyone negotiates well. This course will improve your personal and professional negotiation skills using the systematic techniques of principled negotiation. Armed with these techniques and a little practice, you will be able to conduct, analyze and influence negotiations from the routine to the complex and from the tactical level to the strategic level. Students use materials from Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiations, a lecture series specifically developed by DDE in cooperation with the US Military Academy Negotiation Project, and other related readings. Students discuss and practice negotiation techniques using short Blackboard forums. Negotiation exercises are conducted during the online Elective and later during the Second Resident Course Negotiations Graduate Seminar. Evaluative requirements for this Elective are four weekly Blackboard mini forums conducted on Fridays and Saturdays. The two-day forums consist of both answer and response discussions on course readings or role based negotiation exercises. Note: As the course learning paths are sequential, students selecting this Negotiations Elective will automatically be enrolled in the Negotiations Graduate Seminar during the Second Resident Course. Graduate Seminar evaluation requirements will be based on student participation in discussions and role based negotiations exercises.

DE2349 - Cyber Operations

This elective examines the national strategic direction and conceptual development of Cyberspace Domain Operations along with the impact information age technology has on U.S. forces' ability to develop and implement an effective Cyber threat deterrent. Students explore, in depth, the implementation of Cyber space concepts and capabilities with a view toward discerning possible impacts upon command and control structure, tactics, techniques and procedures, and transformation. As a result of this elective, the student possesses a better perspective on the integration of Cyberspace Warfare at the joint, strategic, and operational levels. The student will be able to assess and understand how information age technologies affect the strategic direction of U.S. Forces and be able to articulate Cyberspace Warfare Operational concepts as these relate to joint strategy, DOD transformation, and asymmetric operations. Each student will complete a 5-7-page unclassified research paper concerning an aspect of Cyber Warfare at the national or strategic level having a significant impact on the conduct of military operations.

DE2350 - Decisionmaking Analysis

The science of Decision Analysis provides both qualitative and quantitative methodologies for assisting decision-makers in identifying courses of action and in selecting the optimal approach to solving a problem. The foundation of this course is the exploration of several of these methodologies presented in the assigned readings. The military senior leader often makes decisions based to some extent on the results of quantitative studies performed by others. This can be intimidating or uncomfortable and too often leads either to blind acceptance or to complete disregard of analytical results. At the conclusion of the course, students will be well versed in decisionmaking and will be able to apply this decisionmaking methodology in future challenges, personal and professional. The course will make the student better able to review critically and apply recommendations.

DE2351 - Religion and Conflict

DE2351, Conflict and Religion, introduces students to multiple ways religion can be a significant factor in violent conflict. This course will explore subversive public violence involving actors who espouse religious motivations or justifications, actors who identify themselves in religious terms, and non-religious actors who identify their enemies in religious terms. Students will study several explanatory frameworks for understanding religion and religious actors in violent conflict, and also examine several aspects of religion in conflict specifically relevant to the U.S. military. The seminar culminates in student led case studies of both past and current conflicts involving religion. This course is designed to enable students to recognize multiple ways religion in conflict can influence the development, sustainment, and outcomes of conflict, and to apply their knowledge to assess the implications of this for policy and strategy.

DE2352 - Strategic Thought From Antiquity to Present

This course explores the development of Western strategic thought and national military strategy from the Greek defeat of Xerxes' Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC to the Present. The first two blocks use case studies to examine the enduring principles that have driven strategic thought and military strategy by examining Athenian and Spartan strategy during the Peloponnesian war, Roman strategy during the period from 31 BC to 221 AD, and Western European strategy development and military policy during the 17th Century Enlightenment. The third and last block examines the US strategic thought from Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) to the development of Joint Force 2020. Students will analyze and synthesize the development of strategic thought and military strategy by examining each of the periods covered in the course in light of the respective political, social cultural, economic, technological, geopolitical and geostrategic, and historical context. The course concludes with assessment of the validity of the Asia Pivot and the ability of the US military to support/execute it. Throughout the course students will participate in a weekly forum that requires them to respond to one of two questions with a substantive post and to respond to two of their classmates posts during each week. The final course requirement is at 1250 (+/- 10%) word argumentative paper that assess the applicability/viability of the Unites States' current strategic guidance in light of the historical experience/evidence of other nations'/states' in similar geopolitical/geostrategic circumstances.

DE2353 - Facilitating Collaboration: Economic and Infrastructure Development

Successful strategic leaders must facilitate collaboration and innovation within and amongst diverse organizations in a JIIM environment---including local, regional and international partners in the public, private, and service sectors. These partners will have varied and often conflicting goals, incentives, power bases, resources, and cultures. Students who synthesize the knowledge acquired during their core courses with the knowledge, skill sets, and leadership mindset gained in DE2353 will be able to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and innovation to support the creation and implementation of solution strategies for complex issues in the JIIM environment. The course begins by evaluating the theory and practice of collaborative leadership within and amongst diverse organizations, sectors, and cultures. Students then evaluate the theory, policy, doctrine, and practice of economic and infrastructure development (E&ID), and analyze the relevant actors, resources, and socio-economic-cultural-political context. Finally, newly developed collaboration and innovation skills, and understanding of E&ID, are applied to create a group case study strategy for a region of the students' choice.

DE2354 - Senior Leader Resiliency

This course reinforces and expands student knowledge, skills and competencies by broadening their perspectives related to senior leader resiliency and the human dimension of war. The course will add depth to student understanding of "resiliency" and is designed to stimulate dialogue and discourse on the cognitive and physiological challenges that senior leaders will confront within the human dimension of war related to themselves and those they lead. This course will enable students to:
  1. Comprehend the complex interplay between leadership, resiliency, and fitness within the strategic context of the current and future demands on senior leaders.
  2. Enhance their abilities to develop and sustain programs and policies that promote the mental and physical resiliency of themselves and those they lead.
  3. Evaluate relevant research and trends related to physical, emotional, and mental resiliency and fitness of the force.
  4. Comprehend the cognitive and physiological readiness issues of relevance to senior leaders within the human dimension of war.
Evaluated course requirements include forum participation and a short essay.

DE2355 - Organizational Culture and Change

Recent speakers to the Army War College challenged the audience to respond the drawdown by becoming more "innovative" and "adaptive." They did not detail what they meant, or how this is done. This course attempts to fill that gap. Building on Block Three of DE 2301 it reintroduces students to the concepts of organizational culture and cultural assessment. Further, it discusses the impediments to change and the challenges of leading in this paradoxical environment. At the conclusion of the course, students will be better able to develop practical strategies as senior leaders to realize the Chairman's intent of adaptive leadership at every echelon.

DE2356 - China: The Sleeping Giant Has Awakened

During this course students examine key characteristics of China that have implications for U.S. national security; assess the importance of major U.S. perspectives shaping the strategic environment, processes and outcomes; and analyze U.S. policy towards China; In doing so, these senior military and civilian leaders ascertain, adapt and apply, at the national and theater levels, key policy and cultural perspectives useful in shaping U.S. national strategy and advancing U.S. interests with respect to China and the Pacific Rim.
Napoleon reportedly said of China in 1803, "Here lies a sleeping giant, let him sleep, for when he wakes up, he will shock the world. "Later exiled to St. Helena, he is again quoted, "When China wakes up, the world will shake." This course revisits China two centuries after Napoleon's comments to find that China has indeed awakened.
  • Each student will write an analytical paper (8-10 pages) that applies to at least one of four policy options (diplomatic, information, military, and economic) for China.
  • Students have an additional option of arguing a pre-approved strategic view of China in the course's internet forum (using PowerPoint or video).

DE2357 - The American Revolution, 1777: The Year of the Hangman

This course provides an overview of strategy in the American Revolution / American War of Independence, focusing on the pivotal year of 1777. Having saved the Continental Army from dissolution with his now iconic victories at Trenton and Princeton, MG George Washington focuses his attention on building a capable, professional American Army. In so doing, he must also grapple with how best to employ it strategically in support of American independence. Meanwhile, the Howe brothers (LTG Sir William and VADM Lord Richard) and the North administration face a divided parliament and the tyranny of distance as impediments to British strategic direction while attempting to formulate a winning strategy to quell the American rebellion and reassert British rule. The strategic inflection point of the revolution, 1777 sees a landmark defeat for Burgoyne's forces at Saratoga and a hollow victory for Howe in the Philadelphia Campaign, leading to a strategic game-changer: the entry of France into the war. Contemporary themes include strategic direction; strategic leadership; mission command; transformation of an army; civil-military relations; traditional, irregular, and hybrid threats; operational art and the joint functions, among others. This course is based upon the John S. Pancake book of the same name, and additionally includes a one lesson in-depth operational analysis of the Battle of Brandywine, using recent scholarship from Michael C Harris' newly released book on the subject.

Defense Strategy Course

The U.S. Army War College has offered the Defense Strategy Course (DSC) a nonresident course, to U.S. Army Active and Reserve Component officers since 1984. This course is a four-month online Distance Education program boarded by Army Human Resources Command offered twice each year. Regular Army (RA), Army Reserve (USAR), and Army National Guard (ANG) boards select sixty-five RA, twenty-five USAR, and twenty-five ANG officers for each course. (Please contact the relevant component POC, below, to request consideration for enrollment). For ATRRS, the school code is 217 and the course # is DSC. Officers enrolling in the Defense Strategy Course must:

  • Have credit for CGSC/equivalent schooling (MEL-4)
  • Not be enrolled in or have completed a Senior Service College Program (MEL-1)
  • Not be a Colonel (06) as this course is for Majors and Lieutenant Colonels.

Historical Background of the DSC:

In 1984, Former Secretary of Army Robert Marsh tasked the Army DCSOPS (LTG William R. Richardson) to develop a non-resident course of instruction at the U.S. Army War College for Active Army and Reserve Component officers on Geo-Politics. The Army designed the Defense Strategy Course as a continuing education program for MEL-IV qualified Field Grade Officers.

Purpose of the Defense Strategy Course:

To improve student understanding about the role of the Department of Defense in the development of National Security Strategy within a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) international environment. The DSC includes four sections of 13 lessons and each lesson (including self-diagnostic quizzes) takes approximately 7 to 10 hours to complete.

  • Section 1, Introduction, is designed to prepare students for taking the course using an online format and to introduce them to the concept of critical thinking.
  • Section 2, Strategic and Military Theory, examines classical thinking about strategic theory, the military schools of strategic thought, the international system, strategy formulation framework and states and strategy.
  • Section 3, The Department of Defense, reviews traditional American perspectives on Defense and the role of the DoD, civil control of defense, the interagency framework, and homeland security.
  • Section 4, Policy Development and Security Environment, examines uses of history in policy making, globalization/economic development, the current strategic environment (both opportunities and threats), cultural relations and dimensions, multinational operations, centers of gravity analysis and Strategy at the Combatant Command Level.

Evaluation Criteria:

An online forum (threaded discussion) and three written essays (one of them diagnostic) constitute the evaluative requirements for the course.

Course Completion Recognition and ASI:

No formal Military Education Level is awarded for completion of the Defense Strategy Course nor does it provide college course credits. Moreover, no formal academic evaluation report is written upon completion of the course. All students who complete the course will receive an Army War College Certificate signed by the Commandant of the U.S. Army War College. Active Component, National Guard, and Army Reserve officers will have this course included on their Officer Record Brief (ORB) as a school attended/completed with the MILPO code designation NAH. Successful completion of the Defense Strategy Course authorizes the student the additional skill identifier (ASI) of 6Z-Strategic Studies Graduate as per DA Pam 611-21.

Course Dates:

  • Course Dates for the Year 2017: Course 2017-01 will begin on 09 January 2017 and end on 14 May 2017. Course 2017-02 will begin on 17 July 2017 and end on 19 November 2017.
  • Course Dates for the Year 2018: Course 2018-01 will begin on 8 January 2018 and end on 13 May 2018. Course 2018-02 will begin on 16 July 2018 and end on 18 November 2018.

Interested officers may request enrollment as follows:

Regular Army: Write directly to your Assignment Officer:

Human Resources Command
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122
DSN: 983-6439
COMM: (502) 613-6439
POC: Mrs. Jerry McConnell
Email Address:

Army National Guard: Through Command Channels to:

Army National Guard Readiness Center
TRADOC Team Action Officer
111 S. George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22204-1382
DSN: 321-7066
COMM: (703)-601-7066
POC: MAJ Rose Gilroy
Email Address:

Army Reserve: Through Command Channels to:

Commander, HRCOE
ATTN: AHRC-OPL-L (RC Military Schools)
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122
COMM: 1-888-276-9472 - Customer Care Number for HRC at Fort Knox, KY
POC: LTC Joseph F. Cox
Email Address:

Defense Strategy Foundation Course

The Defense Strategy Foundation Course (DSFC) is a 12 week online program of study for GS 14 and 15 level civilians from the Defense Senior Leader Development Program (DSLDP). This course is a prerequisite for all DSLDP students attending Senior Service College. The DSFC focuses on the National Security Strategy policymaking process and the relationship of the national instruments of power to defense strategy.

The Purpose of the Defense Strategy Foundation Course:

To improve student understanding about the role of the Department of Defense in the development of National Security Strategy within a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous international environment. The DSFC is divided into four sections of 10 lessons, each requiring approximately 7 to 10 hours to complete.

  • Section 1, Course Introduction, is designed to prepare students for taking the course using an online format and to introduce them to the concept of critical thinking.
  • Section 2, War and Military Strategy, examines classical thinking about strategic theory, the military schools of strategic thought, the international system, strategy formulation framework and states and strategy.
  • Section 3, The Department of Defense, reviews traditional American perspectives on Defense and the role of the DoD, civil control of defense, the interagency framework, and homeland security.
  • Section 4, Policy Development and Security Environment, examines uses of history in policy making, globalization/economic development, the current strategic environment (both opportunities and threats), cultural relations and dimensions, multinational operations, centers of gravity analysis and Strategy at the Combatant Command Level.

Evaluation Criteria:

Successful completion of the course includes participation in online forums (threaded discussions) and a written essay.

Course Completion Recognition:

No formal Military Education Level is awarded for completion of the Defense Strategy Foundation Course nor does it provide college course credits. All students who complete the course will receive an Army War College Certificate signed by the Commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

Course Dates:

  • Course Dates for the Year 2017: DSFC 2017 will begin on 13 March 2017 and end on 05 June 2017.

Defense Planners Course

The U.S. Army War College now offers the Defense Planners Course (DE980: DPC), a nonresident course, to U.S. Army Active and Reserve Component officers and DA civilians. This course is a ten-week online Distance Education program offered each year. Approximately 20 students are accepted for each course. Officers enrolling in the Defense Planners Course should:

  • Have credit for CGSC/equivalent schooling (MEL-4) or Defense Strategy Course (DSC)
  • Not be enrolled in or have completed a Senior Service College Program (MEL-1)
  • Not be a Colonel (06) as this course is for Majors and Lieutenant Colonels (CPTs/ Warrant Officers based only by job title, e.g. working in an ASCC or Joint HQs)

Purpose of the Defense Planners Course:
The primary purpose of the Department of Distance Education's (DDE) online Defense Planners Course (DPC) is to assist the Army in meeting increased educational requirements for planners at the operational and strategic levels. The DPC program of study builds on students' earlier learning (for example, ILE/DSC). It focuses on improving competency in strategic direction, strategic/operational art, operational design and the joint operation planning process (JOPP) with enhanced awareness/understanding of the interconnections of multinational coordination and interagency planning. This is for those officers/ civilians who do not have the benefit of going to BSAP, SAMS or the JPME II courses but must operate in and conduct planning at that level.

DE980 is divided into four courses:

  • DOD Organization, Direction, & Processes provides the student with an overview of the sources of national strategic direction - from civilian and military leaders to the Armed Forces of the United States – and an examination of how strategic-level national security ENDS are established to achieve unified action. It also examines the Joint Strategic Planning System (JSPS) and Force Management (GFMIG/GFMAP with some focus on Timed Phases Force Deployment Data (TPFDD) and rules of allocation) to gain an appreciation for how each helps to define and direct the WAYS our national strategic direction is executed.

  • Joint Planning expands upon what the student has learned in DE980 by focusing at the combatant command level. In this course students will take an in depth look at Adaptive Planning and Execution (APEX), vision statement development, operational design, the Joint Operational Planning Process (JOPP), and theater level planning documents.

  • Strategic and Operational Art uses WWII and OIF as case studies this course will ask students to examine strategic and operational art. At the strategic/ operational level, practitioners will need to be able to decipher the differences and similarities to adequately develop strategy and plans. They will therefore evaluate how strategic themes such as policy-strategy matchup, coalition warfare, limited/ unlimited/ total war, war termination, civil-military relations, and population influences drove strategic considerations that influenced both axis and allied power actions. OIF offers a more current event by which to compare and contrast these same themes.

    Students will also evaluate operational art. They will examine how commanders and their staffs achieved military ends with the means available. The case studies allow students to apply history to the theory and doctrine discussed during the first two blocks to determine how leadership employed, sustained and protected resources in time and space to accomplish military objectives in support of strategic ends.

  • Theater Campaign Planning Exercise asks sstudents to apply what they learned during the previous DPC courses to develop a Theater Campaign Plan Decision Brief.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • DOD Organization, Direction, & Processes: An online faculty-led forum evaluates this block. Students will use the block materials to answer at least two of five questions in a 250 word post for each. Students will also be required to respond to one of their classmate's answers to promote further dialogue and discussion during the forum. Students will also take part in 3 instructor led on-line collaboration sessions after each section. Those unable to participate in the Forum must complete an alternative individual written requirement.

  • Joint Planning: An online faculty-led forum will continue throughout this course with students expected to make one 250 word post at the conclusion of Section 1, one 250 word post at the conclusion of Section 3, participate in 3 instructor led online collaboration sessions following Section 2 and during Section 4, followed by the submission of a 750 word strategic narrative at the conclusion of this course. Students will be graded (on the AWC scale of 1-5) based upon participation during the collaboration sessions and quality of their post and strategic narrative.

  • Strategic and Operational Art: During this 4 day forum students will be required to compare and contrast what they learned from the WWII case study with current strategic formulation and execution based on previous two blocks. Students will also be required to respond to one of their classmate's answers to promote further dialogue and discussion during the forum. Prior to the start of the forum, they will participate in an instructor led collaboration session.

  • Theater Campaign Planning Exercise: Students will work together as a Joint Planning Group (JPG), applying OPN design and the JOPP steps, to develop four briefs focused on a CCMD Theater Campaign Plan (Operational Approach, Mission Analysis brief, COA Development brief, and a Decision brief). Students will be graded based upon the quality of these submissions and the level they contribute to JPG efforts. Students will brief their product to their faculty instructor through Blackboard Collaboration. They will also conduct a two hour COA Analysis on Blackboard Collaboration to refine their product in preparation for the decision brief.

Course Completion Recognition:

No formal Military Education Level is awarded for completion of the Defense Planners Course nor does it provide college course credits. Moreover, no formal academic evaluation report is written upon completion of the course. All students who complete the course will receive an Army War College Certificate signed by the Commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

To obtain course completion documents, please contact the Director of the Defense Planners Course, COL Jeff A. McDougall, at (717) 245-3544 or by e-mail,

Course Dates:

  • Course Dates for the Year 2017: Course 2017-01 will begin on 07 April 2017 and end on 17 June 2017.

Interested officers/DA civilians may request enrollment by contacting the DPC Director (contact information above) for AY 2017.

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