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
- 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:
- 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.
- Contact the electives director with your FI's endorsement to present your research topic and credentials for review no later than 30 October.
- 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
|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
||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:
- Comprehend the complex interplay between leadership, resiliency, and fitness within the strategic context of the current and future demands on senior leaders.
- Enhance their abilities to develop and sustain programs and policies that promote the mental and physical resiliency of themselves and those they lead.
- Evaluate relevant research and trends related to physical, emotional, and mental resiliency and fitness of the force.
- 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.