Curriculum

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 - Global and 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.

DE2321 - How Congress Works: Dealing with Members and Staff

This course provides individuals with the background and skills to become more effective in a wide range of interactions with Congress, as well as enabling individuals to better understand developments and actions taken in the legislative arena. It is especially useful for anyone who’s current or future responsibilities involve participating in any aspect of the legislative process: tracking legislation; implementing regulations; or providing information in response to a request from Congress. The focus of the course is on congressional process, organization, and practices, the relationship between Congress and the other branches of national government, particularly the military, how to interact with Congress, and contemporary challenges facing Congress. Anyone with the desire to engage with Members of Congress (MOCs) and/or the Professional Staff Members (PSMs), will find this course enlightening.

DE2323 - Latin American Studies

For Americans, our eyes are wide shut in relation to Latin America’s peril, terror, and security threat expansion. What are we waiting for? Another 911? According to Aljazeera, “United States is ‘losing’ Latin America!” In an era of intense domestic polarization, analysts - especially in the United States but elsewhere as well - of all different political stripes seem to find agreement. This line of reasoning gathered steam in the past decade in large part because of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's rise to power. It is a straightforward and tempting thesis, but it is also inaccurate and fosters problematic directions for US foreign policy. The basic argument goes like this: Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush alike have focused on other parts of the world, primarily the Middle East. They have, therefore, responded to events in this hemisphere in a reactive and insufficient manner which allows adversaries - Venezuelans, Cubans, Chinese, Russians, Iranians, Hamas, among others - to throw their political weight around. The ‘losing’ thus refers to a perceived loss of influence on a major scale. Some consider the trend positive because, they say, Latin American countries are enjoying more sovereignty. Others believe it to be negative because it entails a threat to US security” (Aljazeera, Is the US ‘losing’ Latin America? Opinion: Politics, 4 September 2014).

By 2030, trends in Latin America indicate that global mega trends will impact the United States of America. This six-week, elective course aims at security challenges and issues within the Caribbean, and North, Central, and South America, that is, all countries south of United States that may pose threats to our national security. From drivers to implications for intelligence, the course is designed to create strategic, andragogic discussions to address possible implications of current and future trends. Throughout this course, students will use theoretical models of critical, logical, and strategic mind mapping to intelligently discuss the future of Latin America and the United States. Students will analyze readings and research in preparation for graduate-level, strategic changes which may remap our view of the national security landscape based on emerging threats from Latin America. To this end, students will complete the course with their own interpretation of the data to answer the question posed in the course: SECURITY THREAT EXPANSION IN LATIN AMERICA - WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?

This course will make you uncomfortable, DE 2323 is designed to challenge your knowledge of Latin America (e.g., past, present and future), defy your assumptions, and dare your intellectual aptitude to “think outside of the box.” As designed, your reactions to controversial readings, discussions, and audiovisuals will emerge from the point of thought provocation. DE2323 prepares senior military and civilian leaders to remove epistemological blinders and apply, at the national and theater levels, key policy, geo-political and cultural perspectives useful in shaping U.S. national strategy and advancing U.S. interests with respect to Latin America and the Caribbean.

DE2325 - Case Studies in Strategic Leadership

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.

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, and the relationship between conventional forces and 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 outcomes. At the end of this course, you will be acquainted with the organization, missions, 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 evaluate the interdependence of conventional forces and SOF to operate in synergy in the execution of assigned tasks to achieve unity of effort that maximizes the complementary and reinforcing effects of both forces. As you complete the three 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.

You will participate in two online, asynchronous forums during weeks 2 and 4, and work in 2 or 3 person teams to develop a 10-15 minute briefing examining the future of SOF or conventional force and SOF relationship in week 6.

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 learning outcomes. 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.

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, three major issues of the international economy are especially important. The first issue involves the nature and organization of the global economy. The course briefly examines three theoretical perspectives of political economy (realism, liberalism, and historical materialism) and the role of US leadership in maintaining the global, liberal economic system. This is important as military capability must ultimately rest on a strong economic foundation.

The second issue involves three key aspects of the global economy. The first aspect, the international monetary system, is complex and often misunderstood. Yet money is the lubricant that keeps the international economic engine moving efficiently. Trade is also an important aspect of the global economy. Open trade fosters economic growth and creates economic interdependence. As you remember from your examination of liberalism in DE2302, economic interdependence discourages military conflict and promotes cooperation. Yet, U.S. trade policy today suggests that the international trade regime is detrimental to U.S. interests and has resulted in lost manufacturing jobs and an increasing trade deficit. Debt and financial crises are the final aspects of the global economy studied in this course.

The final issue involves the problem of fostering economic development in developing countries. Economic development can improve governance and stability. Many commentators have noted that terrorism, conflict and war in the 21st century seem most likely to originate in failed or failing states. This course will examine these three issues and contemporary economic challenges in some detail. Students will write either a book review, or a regional/country analysis of 800-1,000 words (on the student’s choice of book, or region/country) and participate in a short forum on each of the issues above. Students with an interest in Economics might want to consider taking DE2333 and then taking the graduate seminar, “Keeping America Great: Economic Choices for a Strong Nation,” taught by Dr. Richard Neu, during the Second Resident Course.

DE2334 - Seapower for a New Era

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 decision making to better prepare them to meet future challenges they will face as senior leaders in the national security process.

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 DSCA roles and processes, as well as DoD's relationship with other federal organizations, such as FEMA. 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 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 current international conditions. The strategic environment is viewed through two lenses: Alfred Mahan’s “sea power,” and the continental power “Heartland” theory of Halford Mackinder and its counterpoint, Nicholas Spykman’s "Rimland" theory. The importance of a country's physical, cultural, economic, demographic, and political bases are examined to determine their influence on these theories and the attainment of future national power.

DE2340 - Energy and National Security

Together with their Army War College resident program colleagues (elective WF2245), this blended course allows distance program students to use the “energy security triangle” – supply, economics, environment – to evaluate national energy strategies of both the United States and other nations. They will analyze the impact of energy policy choices regarding fossil-based and sustainable energy sources on issues such as climate, infrastructure (e.g., the electric grid and pipelines), and trade. Students will use the Quadrennial Energy Review and energy analysis from government and commercial sources to evaluate U.S. energy policy and strategy. Finally, they will explore how operational energy affects the deployment, employment, and sustainment of military forces.

Students in both electives will meet for dialogue in the Blackboard forum. They will write a 2-page position paper and take part in a less-structured, more conversational forum than experienced in the DDE core courses. Students will have the opportunity to view recordings of guest speakers who addressed the resident course.

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

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 Blackboard forums and an essay. The forums consist of either answer or response discussions on course readings or role based negotiation exercises. Forums are two to four days in length, conducted Wednesday to Saturday. Students will participate in four forums and write one essay. 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 affect 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 policy and doctrine with a view toward discerning possible affects upon command and control structure, tactics, techniques and procedures, and transformation. The outcome of this elective is the student possessing 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 1500 word unclassified essay concerning an aspect of Cyber Warfare at the national or strategic level having a significant effect 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 decision making and will be able to apply this decision making methodology in future challenges, personal and professional. The course will make the student better able to review critically and apply recommendations.

DE2353 - Facilitating Collaboration: Economic and Infrastructure Development

As the media waits outside, you consider this dilemma, “Given the broad range of conflicting goals, interests and resources represented by the stakeholders here, how can we possibly collaborate to address the major strategic challenges facing us?” You also consider, “How can we best strategically communicate our goals and plans in a way that reinforces our ability to take effective collective action? What skill sets, mindsets, processes, organizational structures, stakeholder analyses, analytic frameworks, and techniques should we employ to facilitate collaboration in these multilateral discussions?”

This course provides students the tools to answer these questions---using the case study method in the context of facilitating multilateral collaboration to support economic stabilization and infrastructure development in fragile and post-conflict states. Students will first evaluate the theory and practice of collaborative leadership within and amongst diverse organizations in the public, private, and service sectors. Students will then evaluate the theory, policy, doctrine, and practice of economic stabilization and infrastructure development (ESID), including relevant actors, authorities, resources, host nation capacity building systems, and the socio-economic-cultural-political context. Finally, working in small groups, students will create solution strategies for a region of the students’ choice. Students will interact with USAWC resident students during this course.

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 DE 2301 (Strategic Leadership) 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 (senior leaders) will be better able to develop practical strategies to realize the intent of joint doctrine, namely having adaptive leadership at every echelon.

DE2357 - Campaign Analysis of the American Revolution - 1777: The Year of the Hangman

This course provides an overview of strategy in the American Revolution, focusing on a campaign analysis of 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.

DE2358 - Strategic Legal Considerations for the Battle Group Commander

Among the most important strategic legal considerations that commanders and senior military leaders must be familiar with when planning and executing military operations include the framework of international and operational law, the law of armed conflict, war crimes and command responsibility. The failure of commanders to prevent violations of the law of armed conflict and war crimes could have detrimental strategic consequences for the United States and her Allies. When dealing with coalition forces and partner nations, understanding universal concepts like grave breaches, universal jurisdiction, the Nuremburg principles, and the doctrine of command responsibility are key to planning common goals and strategy to win on both the tactical and strategic battlefield, to protect the overall national security of the United States, and to take a national leadership role in trying to prevent the horrors of the past from haunting future generations.

Part I of this elective will include an in-depth study of the framework of public international law, rules for the use of force and self-defense concepts, the law of armed conflict, the framework of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, International Humanitarian Law, and an overview of multi-national Rules of Engagement. Part II of this elective will then apply those above studies and principles with a thorough case study on the history and anatomy of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg followed by a comparative study of subsequent international war crime tribunals that occurred throughout history after Nuremberg. Additionally, the modern issue of cyber warfare and how it applies to the law of armed conflict and war crimes will be examined in this elective.

DE2360 - Gray Zone Considerations

The gray zone resides somewhere between the traditional or classical notions of war and peace. It is not a new concept, yet it has grown in prominence in recent years, particularly as the United States and its allies and partners grapple with the growing number of adversaries who wish to challenge us in the gray zone and the complexities of operating outside our traditional comfort zones. This course examines the concept of the gray zone and challenges students to evaluate in what manner strategies, especially military strategies, should reflect how to prepare for and counter competition and conflict in this operating zone.

The course will give students an intellectual basis for analyzing strategic implications regarding challenges in the gray zone - the large and growing area outside traditional thinking on war and peace. The course will include readings, review of video and audio material, seminar dialogue, and case studies.

Students who take this course will be required to complete all assigned readings, complete an individual written essay (5-7 pages) addressing a particular gray zone case study, and participate in an online forum answering questions and providing points of discussion in response to the faculty instructor and other students.

DE2362 - Reserve Component Issues

To understand issues and practices involved in the Reserve Components (RCs) and to examine the requirements involved in achieving a higher level of readiness and mission capability. Provide a comprehensive survey of Army RC organizations, functions and current issues from the perspective of senior leaders. Course covers the historical roles of RCs in developing and implementing national defense policy and significant legislative actions affecting them; organizations and functions of the National Guard and the USAR; organization and roles of other RCs within DoD; issues associated with command, leadership, management, training, transformation, logistics, administration and personnel. The course is designed to provide in-depth dialog of RCs and to provide students with working knowledge of the day-to-day challenges and policy issues impacting RC support of the Army and the goal of seamless integration.

DE2363 - Strategic Challenges in the CENTCOM Region

This Course will focus on the long term strategic challenges in the CENTCOM region and how the Combatant Command should deal with these challenges. In addition to transnational terrorism, failed states, and weak states, students will examine the underlying forces driving instability and recommend strategies to shape the region. The course will also consider the role of the Combatant Command in dealing with long term strategic challenges. Course readings will draw on current CENTCOM strategy documents and relevant readings, and will reflect current thinking in the CENTCOM HQ. The course is intended to help students hone the skills need to work as senior leader at the COCOM/strategic level.

DE2365 - Arsenal Europe: U.S. Military Forces, NATO, and the EU

Europe is again under threat. Among others, a militarily-resurgent Russia and a terrorist-sponsoring Iran lurk at the Continent's periphery, seeking advantage. In response, the United States military, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union (EU) have renewed their longstanding strategic mandates to safeguard a Europe that is "whole, free, and at peace." Learn how the three main security shields of Europe's arsenal (the U.S. military, NATO, and the EU) interact and array to preserve peace and security on the Continent, as well as: how and why NATO and the EU were constituted; how they organize themselves and function in the Euro-Atlantic region today; and how and why they partner with numerous other security actors across the globe.

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
ATTN: KNOX-HRC-OPL-L
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122
DSN: 983-6439
COMM: (502) 613-6439
POC: Mrs. Jerry McConnell
Email Address: jerry.m.mcconnell.civ@mail.mil

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: rose.c.gilroy.mil@mail.mil

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: joseph.f.cox2.mil@mail.mil

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 DE 980, the Defense Planners Course (DPC). This blended learning course consists of a nonresident Phase I portion taught online and a hands-on Phase II completed at a local installation of the students choosing. It is open to U.S. Military officers from all components and civilians working with Department of Defense organizations conducting strategic and operational planning. Phase I of the course is an eleven-week online Distance Education program offered twice annually. Phase II is conducted at the students own pace by coordinating for and completing hands-on training with a JOPES Functional Manager at a local military facility. Approximately 20 students are accepted for each course. Prospective students seeking enrolment in the Defense Planners Course should:

  • Be in the rank of Major, Lieutenant Commander, Lieutenant Colonel, or Commander (O4-05), if a military officer. Civilians should be in the paygrade of GS-12 thru GS-14; a special emphasis will be given to those working in the CP60 Strategist field. The course director may grant exceptions on a case-by-case bases for other candidates actively working in positions that conduct intensive planning at the operational and strategic level (e.g. ASCC, CCMD, and Joint HQs).
  • Have received credit for the Command and General Staff Officers Course (CGSOC) or completed the Defense Strategy Course (DSC).
  • Be serving in or anticipate an upcoming assignment to a duty position that conducts operational or strategic level planning on a routine basis.
  • Have not been selected for enrollment in a Senior Service College Program.

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 education attained in CGSOC or DSC. It focuses on improving competency in strategic direction, strategic/operational art, operational design and the joint planning process (JPP) with enhanced awareness/understanding of the interconnections of multinational coordination and interagency planning. This course 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 distinct blocks:

  • 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 Planning Process (JPP), and theater level planning documents.
  • Operational Art and Design 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 students to apply what they learned during the previous DPC blocks to analyze an emerging crisis situation using design and the JPP to provide concise options for the operational and strategic decision maker.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • DOD Organization, Direction, & Processes: Online faculty-led forums evaluates this block. Students will use the block materials to answer weekly questions in a 250 word argument. Students respond to classmate's answers to promote further dialogue and discussion during the forum. Students will also take part in a instructor led on-line collaboration sessions after each section in the block.
  • Joint Planning: Initially students are tested on their basic understanding of the Adaptive Planning and Execution System (APEX) and its systems in online multiple choice quiz. An online faculty-led forum continues after this with students expected to make one 250 word post at the conclusion of the next two sections. The block concludes with submission of a 750 word strategic narrative providing a concise description of the environment, problems and approach taken in a geographic or functional combatant command of the student’s choice.
  • Strategic and Operational Art: During this block students will participate in a forum and be required to compare and contrast what they learned from the WWII case study with current strategic formulation and execution techniques taught in the previous two blocks. Students will provide 250 word arguments on Strategic and Operational Art and then be required to respond to one of their classmate's arguments to promote further dialogue and discussion during the forum. Prior to 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 Operational design and the JPP steps, to develop two briefs about an emerging crisis situation in a Combatant Command’s area of responsibility. 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.

Course Completion Recognition:
Phase I of the Defense Planners Course is a pass/fail course awarding a certificate signed by the Commandant of the U.S. Army War College. The course does not provide a formal academic evaluation report (AER) and does not award college course credits.
Students have the option to continue with Phase II of the course to achieve practical experience with JOPES and explore several Global Commanding Control System (GCCS) applications. This additional education authorizes the Soldier the ASI of 3H-Joint Planner, as per PAM 611-21, Chapter 4. Upon completion of Phase II, students will be provided a memorandum verification completion of the requirements and request the inclusion of the skill identifier on their individual personnel record.

Course Dates:

  • 2019:
    DPC 19-01 will begin on 15 April 2019 and end on 30 June 2019.
    DPC 19-02 will begin on 26 August 2019 and end on 10 November 2019.
  • 2020:
    DPC 20-01 will begin on 02 March 2020 and end on 17 May 2020
    DPC 20-02 will begin on 24 August 2020 and end on 08 November 2020.

Interested officers/DA civilians may request enrollment information by contacting the DPC Director or Education Program Assistant.

COL Jeffrey A. McDougall, Ph.D.
Director, Defense Planners Course
Office Phone: (717) 245-3544
E-mail: jeffrey.a.mcdougall2.mil@mail.mil

Ms Kelli Wolfe
Ed Tech, Defense Planners Course
Office Phone: (717) 245-3596
E-mail: kelli.s.wolfe2.civ@mail.mil

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