ISD Courses

ISD senior staff, associates and senior fellows bring to the classroom global experience in the practice of diplomacy as seen from a variety of agencies and governments, serving as a link between the academic and practitioners’ worlds.

The graduate classes offered by ISD fulfill key requirements of the Certificate in Diplomatic Studies. For example, MSFS 616, “Diplomatic and Military Statecraft”-taught in the fall semester by a team of ISD’s associates and the Director of Studies-is a foundation class, as is MSFS 526, “International Mediation-Strategy and Methods” taught by ISD’s Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies, Chester Crocker. Seminars organized in the “policy task force” format-such as MSFS 630, “U.S. Congressional Influence on Foreign Policy”-are the capstone courses for the certificate.

ISD also develops and teaches seminars for undergraduate students earning the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree.

Spring 2017 

INAF 635 ISD Capstone: The Once and Future Yemen – A Case Study on Rebuilding Yemen, Barbara Bodine

Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has always been a fragile state. Buffeted by the Arab Spring, it did, however, look to be one of the few success stories with a negotiated transfer of power, a laudable National Dialogue Process, and strong support from the international community. But even this near-success had fundamental flaws. The Houthi, long in conflict with the pre-Arab Spring central government, swept into the capital in the autumn of 2014 with an aggressive reformist agenda and demands for governmental restructuring. The National Partnership Plan agreed to with the transitional Hadi government was in retrospect Yemen’s last chance at a functioning government. By January 2015 the state and the government began to unravel. On March 25th, with Hadi in forced exile, Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign to force the Houthi out and bring Hadi back. Despite attempts at UN-brokered ceasefires and peace negotiations as of November 2016, that campaign continues, with untold destruction of the political, economic, social and physical infrastructure and a growing humanitarian catastrophe. The campaign has also unleashed AQAP and spawned the emergence of IS-affiliated groups. 

This course – one of three that fulfills the capstone requirement for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Certificate in Diplomatic Studies (CDS) – will examine why the Yemeni success story in the end failed, and how this country – as a case study for other shattered states – can rebuild. What are the roles and responsibilities of the regional belligerents in the conflict, the international community, and the Yemenis themselves in post-war political and physical reconstruction? What lessons can be learned – good or ill – from elsewhere? The capstone course will conclude with a comprehensive strategy report by the capstone participants. It is taught by the Director of the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy who previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Yemen. 

INAF 636 ISD Capstone: U.S. Engagement in Southeast Asia: Past, Present and Future of the Rebalance Policy, Katherine Nanavatty

Much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia. This conviction underpinned the “Rebalance (or Pivot) to Asia” policy launched by the Obama Administration. This course will examine the origins, goals, and impact of contemporary U.S. efforts in Asia, with a specific focus on Southeast Asia. The ten countries of ASEAN are home to over 620 million diverse peoples, critical sea lanes, and more U.S. investment than China. In this course, students will gain a greater understanding of (i) the geopolitical context that has influenced U.S. policy formulation, (ii) accomplishments and challenges of the Rebalance from a diplomatic, military, and economic perspective, and (iii) the range of responses from China, longstanding allies, and emerging partners. Using case studies, including on ASEAN, the South China Sea, and Myanmar's democratic transition, students will evaluate the efficacy of U.S. policy, particularly against the backdrop of China’s growing assertiveness. What should the next chapter of U.S. engagement with Southeast Asia look like? How can U.S. policy makers most effectively promote a rules-based order and advance key national interests? This course, one of three that fulfills the capstone requirement for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Certificate in Diplomatic Studies (CDS), will require students to complete a joint report outlining policy recommendations for the next phase of our initiatives and interactions with this vital region. The instructor is an active duty Foreign Service Officer with over 10 years of diplomatic experience in Africa and Southeast Asia, including her two most recent assignments focused on maritime issues in Malaysia and promoting a diplomatic opening with Burma/Myanmar. 

INAF 637 ISD Capstone: Challenges to U.S. Power: Managing a New World Order, Rajeev Wadhwani

The United States’ ability – or willingness – to project power and influence is in a state of transition as it navigates between an emerging China, a revanchist Russia, and an aspiring India, in addition to Iran and other regional powers. Will the new President aim to reassert the United States’ status as the “indispensable nation”? Through case studies, this class will examine how the new Administration should deal with China and tensions in the South China Sea; Russia’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria; Iran’s long-term regional ambitions and the future of the nuclear deal; as well as U.S. efforts to work with India on climate change and differences over the international trade system – all with a view to maintaining U.S. influence on the world stage. 

This course is one of three that fulfills the capstone requirement for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Certificate in Diplomatic Studies (CDS). Students will be required to complete a joint report outlining “over the horizon” policy initiatives for projecting U.S. power and maintaining global influence. The instructor is a career Foreign Service Officer and currently a State Department Rusk Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. He has served overseas in India, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, as well as on the Iran desk in Washington. 

MSFS 526  International Mediation: Strategy and Methods, Chester Crocker

This seminar explores the role of mediation as an instrument of conflict management and a foreign policy technique. Students will consult both theoretical and case study materials, and become adept at analyzing the suitability of diverse mediatory approaches and actors to concrete conflict situations at diverse stages of the conflict life cycle, using a five-phase model of mediation tradecraft. Adopting the mediator’s perspective, they will address the challenge of how to design and conduct mediation as a form of third party intervention in violent international conflict. The course will identify and explore strategies and tactics used at different points to overcome obstacles to a mediated settlement in intractable conflicts. Mediation analysis exercises will be used to illustrate the perspectives of mediators and conflict parties, and to introduce the phased model of mediation strategy. The course is taught by the James R. Schlesinger Professor in the Practice of Strategic Studies and a member of the ISD Board of Advisers.

MSFS 638 Conflict Management and International Security, Chester Crocker

The seminar's central focus is the challenge of creating security and building peace in the 21st century. It will introduce students to the "intellectual map" of the peace-maker by exploring a wide range of literatures and cases in order to identify the roots and sources of conflict, and illustrate the varieties of third party intervention for conflict management. Drawing upon readings and discussion, students will examine changing patterns of conflict and explore a range of institutions, techniques and strategies for responding to the challenge of disorder.  It is taught by the James R. Schlesinger Professor in the Practice of Strategic Studies and a member of the ISD Board of Advisers.

SEST 681 Legal Issues for Intelligence Officers and Policymakers, Patrick Kim

This seminar examines the unique legal issues that confront U.S. policymakers who use intelligence products, and the intelligence officers within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) that produce intelligence. The seminar will provide students with an overview of the IC and its sources of legal authority and an awareness of the fundamental legal issues related to various intelligence activities, ranging from collection of signals intelligence (Fourth Amendment privacy issues), use of cover identities for intelligence officers (diplomatic/international law) to covert action (constitutional separation of powers issues and law of armed conflict questions). 

The first sessions of the class will cover an overview of the IC, its functions, and interactions with policymakers, as well as the legal framework which governs U.S. intelligence activities. Later in the semester, we will examine specific intelligence activities and the legal issues involved. Students will be responsible for debating the larger policy questions about how legal rules affect the execution of intelligence activities. The overarching goal of the class will be to (1) familiarize students with the legal issues involved with various intelligence activities, and, more importantly, (2) prepare students to participate in the ongoing policy debate about whether existing legal rules are well-tailored to protect both U.S. national security and civil liberties, constitutional rights, and the rule of law.  The instructor is an attorney in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Office of General Counsel and was an ISD fellow in 2015-16.

INAF 200 Researching Alliances, Kelly McFarland

This course is intended to teach undergraduate students how to do research on military alliances. Part of the class will focus on learning about the history and nature of alliance systems, as well as the relevant international relations theory behind them. The bulk of our study will focus on the United States’ role in alliances throughout its history. However, the emphasis of the class is on exposing students to an array of research methods and problems, using alliances as a sample subject. Students will learn techniques and methods that they can apply to other research in their time at Georgetown. They will also learn how to read research in a more sophisticated way. 

This course is divided into five parts. The first section of this course will focus on the international relations theories underpinning alliances. While a history of alliances will be a key topic throughout the course, the second section will focus on this history in general and America’s relationship to and use of alliance systems. The third section will focus specifically on how to do research, as we look at basic research questions regarding alliances and research planning. Section four will focus on the available data. What sources are available when researching alliances and how are they used appropriately? The final section will bring together what we have learned thus far, as we delve into key questions regarding alliances and study the different analytical perspectives from which authors have approached this subject. The professor is Director of Programs and Research at the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. He is a diplomatic historian who served in multiple roles at the Department of State and the intelligence community.

IPOL 352  US Foreign Policy in Conflict States, Ramon Escobar

Diplomacy is never easy. Developing and implementing a coherent and comprehensive foreign policy in a country or region in conflict can be even more challenging. Much of the academic, political, and media attention is often focused on U.S. foreign policy shortcomings or blunders. This course will instead look at successful U.S. foreign policy initiatives in conflict states, and attempt to glean positive lessons from these experiences and apply them to current challenges. In the first half of the semester we will examine U.S. policy in the Balkans (1990s) and Colombia (2000s), with a particular focus on the latter where fifteen years of uninterrupted U.S. support played a critical role in that South American country's transformation from a near-failed narco-state to a rapidly growing and forward-looking middle-income ally. Although significant challenges remain, and the word “success” should be used with a measure of modesty in both contexts, these cases nonetheless provide fertile ground for us to better understand how to get a diplomatic intervention largely right. In the second half we will apply the lessons learned from these positive U.S. foreign policy initiatives to current conflict situations such as in Iraq and Syria. The instructor is an active duty Foreign Service Officer with diplomatic experience in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, including his most recent assignment working with the US Special Envoy to the Colombia Peace Process.  He was a Rusk Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in 2015-16.

IPOL 354 International Negotiation Lab, James Seevers and Anna Steinhelper

This one-credit course is designed to engage students in the study of diplomacy and negotiation using both theory and practice. The course will include a workshop on negotiation skills, a substantive briefing on the simulation topic (Kashmir), and a full-day simulation run by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. The course will meet at four scheduled times, in addition to the ad hoc team strategy meetings before the exercises and a post simulation feedback meeting with the instructor.  It is taught by the ISD Director of Studies and an Assistant Dean from the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service program.

IPOL 357 Civil-Military Relations: U.S. Presidents and the General Officers Who Advise Them

American civil-military relations play a critical role in the formulation and execution of national policy and strategy. This course serves to explore a variety of civil-military models and apply them to a select list of historical case studies with the goal of determining best practices for engaging in the unequal dialogue of civil-military interaction. The importance of this topic will likely be reflected in headlines across the country, as a new administration establishes its preference and style for interfacing with members of the military community. This undergraduate course begins by reviewing the nation’s founding documents to better understand the framework for American civil-military relations. Next, the course will provide an overview of several well-known civil-military theorists, followed by application of theoretical concepts using historical case studies. Throughout the course, students will be expected to apply civil-military concepts to historical and current foreign policy events. Previous experience or knowledge of American civil-military relations is not required for this course. The instructor – and active duty U.S. Army Lt. Colonel -- is an Army strategist, and currently serves as fellow at the School of Foreign Service Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

IPOL 367  Strategic Use of Land Power, Shon McCormick

This course seeks to provide students an understanding of the contributions and limitation of land-based military power. It is not intended to make students experts in the employment of land power; rather it will provide students an appreciation of the ways in which land power can contribute to statecraft and foreign policy. Drawing upon a number of different theoretical foundations, the course will examine the role of force and violence in international relations. It will also address the role of land power and land forces in other missions such as peacekeeping, stability operations, counter-insurgency, and security sector assistance. The instructor – an active duty U.S. Army Colonel -- is a fellow at the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy who most recently served as Director of Defense Policy and Strategy on the National Security Council. 

IPOL 372 Theory and Application of Intelligence, Andrew Steffen

Intelligence is a broad term that entails collection, analysis and production of information to provide valuable insight on important issues for customers at all levels of national security—from the warfighter on the ground to the President in Washington, D.C. This course serves as an introduction to the various intelligence disciplines and their application to fulfilling customer requirements. The course begins by examining the history that shaped U.S. intelligence, the Intelligence Community and military intelligence. A series of classes will then examine the different intelligence disciplines and their respective strengths and weaknesses. The course will explore the application of these distinct capabilities as a cohesive part of a military campaign through historical and modern examples. Finally, the course will examine the challenges to intelligence from phenomena such as emerging state and non-state actors, remotely piloted aircraft, advances in science and technology and transnational threats such as terrorism, proliferation and crime. The course will enhance students’ communication and networking skills through class participation, several one paragraph assessments, briefings (oral presentations) and a final presentation. Previous experience or knowledge of the Intelligence Community is not needed for this course. The instructor – an active duty U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel -- is a career intelligence officer currently serving as a fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.  He has served in numerous tactical and strategic roles and has deployed in support of operations in the Middle East, Europe and Pacific regions.

IPOL 396 U.S. Influence and the Rise of Emerging Powers, Rajeev Wadhwani

Is U.S. influence on world affairs on the wane? Twenty-five years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the international system is in transition from what was a uni-polar world to one with a still-leading world power – the United States – and emerging would-be global powers led by China, India, and a resurgent Russia. The United States is still viewed by many as the “indispensable nation”, but must work more collaboratively to accomplish its goals, from tackling climate change to containing Iran’s nuclear program. This course will examine the effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy in relation to these emerging powers. How has U.S. policy toward the Russian annexation of Crimea, China's construction of islands in the South China Sea, and other events affected U.S. influence more broadly? What was the impact of the global financial crisis and resulting U.S. budget cuts? Students will be asked to evaluate the impact of these policies on the Unites States' long-term strategic and economic interests. The instructor is a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer who was most recently posted to India.

Fall 2016 

INAF 380: Negotiations and Engagement on the Global Stage, Barbara Bodine

For those who would be actors on the global stage, critics of or audience to the theater of diplomacy, this course will provide an introduction to the conceptual frameworks, the theories, and tools that shape political engagement across a spectrum of issues and multiple approaches. The ability to negotiate and to engage successfully rests upon a combination of analytic, intellectual and interpersonal skills, each of which will be examined as part of this course. Successful engagement, whether formal or informal, requires the ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, institutional and personal resilience, the ability to lead without the need to dictate, and a willingness to think strategically and work tactically. The seminar will be based on a combination of academic literature, case studies and experiences of practitioners. There will be a written midterm and a written final, each based on the student’s own research, as well as class requirements and participation, and formal and informal oral presentations. The course is taught by Barbara Bodine, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and Director of SFS’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy

INAF 362: History’s Influence on Foreign Policy, Kelly McFarland

Historical knowledge—and the knowledge of how nation states, politicians, world leaders, non-state actors, and national polities use history in the conduct of foreign affairs—is crucial to success as a diplomat or foreign policy practitioner. From the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to myriad examples of American policymakers using the Munich and Vietnam analogies when debating policy, to China’s current use of history to make claims in the South China Sea, history is an ever-present factor in international affairs. This course will examine the ways in which these groups have used history to create historical narratives and its effects on the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. It will also examine the ways in which some countries deal with difficult aspects of their history. Key to this course will be an exploration of what history is, how it is portrayed, and who decides how it is portrayed. We will pursue the questions of how we can learn from history, how it affects international affairs, and what kinds of “lessons learned” policymakers can derive from history (and why). Furthermore, we will consider the question of whether or not historical analogies aid or burden policymaking decisions. Understanding history and how it is used is only one aspect of affective policymaking. Students will also explore how to sift through this information to make informed policy decisions in a fast-paced environment. Tasks will include weekly reading and short writing assignments; student led class discussions; and researching, writing, and presenting an eight to ten page final research paper on a topic of their choosing that deals with an issue of history in international affairs.  The professor is Director of Programs and Research at the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. He is a diplomatic historian who served in multiple roles at the Department of State. He recently completed a one-year tour for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the Presidential Daily Briefing Book briefer for State Department senior officials. 

IPOL 378 War & Presidential Decision Making, Casimir Yost

Every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt has grappled with whether to utilize force—to put “boots on the ground”—in pursuit of U.S. interests. The decision whether to utilize force is among the most challenging a president faces and, therefore, provides a window on executive branch decision-making more generally. This seminar will focus on a series of cases beginning with the Cuban missile crisis in the Kennedy administration and ending with President Obama’s decision not to bomb Syrian targets in 2013. We will be particularly interested in the factors contributing to major foreign policy choices—the decision-making process, how U.S. interests are defined in times of crisis, the use (and misuse) of intelligence, the assumptions held by policy makers and the impact of those assumptions on policy choices. We will want to identify “lessons” from these cases and make determinations about what contributes to sound decisions and what pitfalls to avoid in national security decision making. Students will be required to make oral presentations, participate actively in class discussions, conduct interviews, write two page policy memos and a final ten page policy paper.  The instructor served on the National Intelligence Council from 2009 to 2012 as Director of the Strategic Futures Group and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

MSFS 616 Diplomatic and Military Statecraft, James Seevers and ISD Associates

The course will examine the tough questions and dilemmas in the practice of contemporary statecraft and diplomacy. It will use a series of case studies to explore how states have successfully built integrated strategies to achieve their objectives and where and why they have failed. It will focus in particular on the changing nature of the tools available to states and the context in which they are used. The team of instructors -- current diplomats and military officers from the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy led by Director of Studies Jim Seevers -- will draw from experience to round out the case studies and focus on the challenges of modern statecraft and diplomacy. 

MSFS 645 Forecasting Global Trends, Casimir Yost

There is broad agreement that the next 15-20 years will see massive shifts at the country, regional and global levels – driven by demography, resource scarcity, communications and other technologies, conflict and governance challenges, and much more. There is also agreement that while broad trends may be clear, their force and direction will depend to a significant degree on the interaction among them – demographic trends and resource consumption patterns or state fragility and conflict to take two obvious examples. This seminar is designed to give students the tools and analytical methodologies to think systematically about the future, though not to predict it. We will examine four “megatrends” identified in Global Trends 2030, a publication of the National Intelligence Council, and a number of variables – for example, the potential for increased conflict and the impact of new technologies – that will affect the trajectory of these trends. We will anticipate what the consequences will be of these trends converging for U.S. grand strategy. Students will be divided into teams and each team will apply the analytical tools and forecasting methodologies studied in the course to a particular country, producing a national intelligence estimate (NIE) that assesses the opportunities and risks that country will face in the next five years. While this is not an intelligence course, methodologies utilized in the course are drawn from the U.S. Intelligence Community and the class will be briefed by representatives from the IC. The instructor served on the National Intelligence Council from 2009 to 2012 as Director of the Strategic Futures Group and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

Spring 2016

CDS Capstone Course: The Once and Future Yemen: A Case Study on Rebuilding a Shattered State, Barbara Bodine

Yemen, always a fragile state, as recently as the spring of 2015 looked to be one of the few success stories from the Arab Spring - a negotiated transfer of power, a laudable National Dialogue Process, and strong support from the international community. The Houthi, long in conflict with the pre-Spring central government, the autumn of 2015 had signed a National Partnership Plan with the new Hadi government, a public-private partnership agreement brokered by the US was signed in Washington, a constitution was being drafted and elections were planned. And then the unraveling began. With Hadi in forced exile, Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign in coalition with a number of other Arab states, and with US support, to force the Houthi out and bring Hadi back. As of September 2015, that campaign continues, with untold destruction of the political, economic, social and physical infrastructure and an humanitarian crisis of unknown dimensions. The campaign has also unleashed AQAP and spawned the emergence of IS-affiliated groups. 

This course – one of three that fulfills the capstone requirement for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Certificate in Diplomatic Studies (CDS) -- will examine why the Yemeni success story in the end failed, and how this country - as a case study for other shattered states - can rebuild. What are the roles and responsibilities of the regional belligerents in the conflict, the international community, and the Yemenis themselves in post-war political and physical reconstruction? What lessons can be learned - good or ill -- from elsewhere? The capstone course will conclude with a comprehensive strategy report by the capstone participants. It is taught by the Director of the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy who previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Yemen. 

  • Open to non-CDS candidates on a space-available basis. 
  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisites: None

CDS Capstone Course: The New Silk Road and Eurasian Stability: Multi-Vector Diplomacy in ActionRichard Norland

As Russia reasserts itself on the world stage and the ISIS threat shows no sign of abating, nations from Europe through South-Central Asia to East Asia struggle to cope in the absence of a fully functioning international security system. Revival of the New Silk Road, based on dramatic improvements in East-West rail, pipeline, air and fiber-optic connections, offers a new set of incentives for cooperation from the Caucasus to the Pacific. These incentives in turn hold strategic potential for the United States, Russia, Europe and China. Nations along the route are playing a new “Great Game” as they tailor their diplomacy to accommodate the eventual winners. At stake is whether any one country or movement will dominate Eurasia. 

This course – one of three that fulfills the capstone requirement for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Certificate in Diplomatic Studies (CDS) – offers students the opportunity to put themselves in the place of national leaders as they calibrate their diplomacy to deal with shifting pressures and real threats to their nations’ existence. Taught by a senior Foreign Service officer who most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, the course, which will draw on the Embassy Country Team model, will also examine strategic opportunities for the United States and other global players. The capstone course will conclude with a comprehensive strategy report by the capstone participants. 

  • Open to non-CDS candidates on a space-available basis. 
  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisites: None

CDS Capstone Course: Marketing America's National Security: How Policy Formation and Communications IntersectBernadette Meehan

Students who complete this course will become familiar with the role that communications practitioners play in the national security decision making process, the influence communicators have on the formation of policy, the impact public diplomacy and strategic communications have on the success or failure of U.S. national security policy, and the influence of multiple stakeholders – including the American people, the U.S. Congress, the media, and international allies and adversaries – on U.S. foreign policy formation. 

The course will examine the policy debates and decisions surrounding key national security issues of the Obama Administration -- including the Iran nuclear deal, the diplomatic opening with Cuba, the Syria chemical weapons attack, the changes of government in Egypt, and U.S. counter-terrorism operations -- and will evaluate the effectiveness of communications strategies and tools used to explain and "sell" the policies to multiple constituencies. Taught by a Foreign Service Officer who most recently served as the White House National Security Council Spokesperson, the class will include a range of “real-world” simulations to encourage students to approach policy questions from a communications vantage point. 

This course – one of three that fulfills the capstone requirement for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Certificate in Diplomatic Studies (CDS) -- will also require students to complete a joint report outlining a policy recommendation regarding the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Integral to the joint report will be the creation of a comprehensive communications strategy that employs a mix of techniques for reaching and influencing desired audiences, and which includes a persuasive narrative that advances the policy objective. 

  • Open to non-CDS candidates on a space-available basis. 
  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisites: None

IPOL 352: U.S. Foreign Policy in Conflict StatesRamon Escobar

Diplomacy is never easy. Developing and implementing a coherent and comprehensive foreign policy in a country or region at conflict can be even more challenging. Much of the academic, political, and media attention is often focused on U.S. foreign policy shortcomings or blunders. This course will instead look at successful U.S. foreign policy initiatives in conflict states, and attempt to glean positive lessons from these experiences and apply them to current challenges. In the first half of the semester we will examine U.S. policy in the Balkans (1990s) and Colombia (2000s), with a particular focus on the latter where 15 years of uninterrupted U.S. support played a critical role in that South American country's transformation from a near-failed narco-state to a rapidly growing and forward-looking middle-income ally. Although significant challenges remain, and the word “success” should be used with a measure of modesty in both contexts, these cases nonetheless provide fertile ground for us to better understand how to get a diplomatic intervention largely right. In the second half we will apply the lessons learned from these positive U.S. foreign policy initiatives to current conflict situations such as in Iraq and Syria. Your grade for this course will be based on classroom engagement and three written assignments (concise, short papers) due throughout the semester. The instructor is an active duty Foreign Service Officer with diplomatic experience in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, including his most recent assignment working with the US Special Envoy to the Colombia Peace Process.

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisites: None

IPOL 356: Airpower Theory and PracticeScott Rowe

Airpower is an integral part of the military instrument of power and is widely used as a means of strategic influence. This course serves as an introduction to airpower theory, examines the evolution of airpower from its infancy to the present day, discusses historical attempts to mold theory into a successful strategy, explores the future of airpower as it transitions from the industrial age to the information age and evaluates airpower’s ability to support U.S. national security and foreign policy goals. 

The course begins by studying the ideas of early airpower theorists as they grappled with rapid technological advances in aviation and its transformative potential on war fighting. Next, the course analyzes attempts to put these theories into practice by studying airpower actions during World War II, Vietnam, and Operation DESERT STORM. The course also examines the rise of the nuclear force as a means of deterrence, the emergence of new airpower theorists and theories, and the expansion into space. Finally, the course will investigate the future of airpower to include the use of drones, the manned versus unmanned debate and the transition to the information age. Throughout the course, students will critique airpower as a means of achieving national security objectives. 

Previous experience or knowledge of the employment of airpower are not required for this course. The instructor is an active duty Air Force Lt. Colonel, F-15 pilot, and fighter squadron commander currently serving as an associate at the School of Foreign Service’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. 

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisites: None

SEST 681-01: Legal Issues for Intelligence Officers and PolicymakersPatrick Kim

This seminar examines the unique legal issues that confront U.S. policymakers who use intelligence products, and the intelligence officers within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) that produce intelligence. The seminar will provide students with an overview of the IC and its sources of legal authority and an awareness of the fundamental legal issues related to various intelligence activities, ranging from collection of signals intelligence (Fourth Amendment privacy issues), use of cover identities for intelligence officers (diplomatic/international law) to covert action (constitutional separation of powers issues and law of armed conflict questions). 

The first sessions of the class will cover an overview of the IC, its functions, and interactions with policymakers, as well as the legal framework which governs U.S. intelligence activities. Later in the semester, we will examine specific intelligence activities and the legal issues involved. Students will be responsible for debating the larger policy questions about how legal rules affect the execution of intelligence activities. 

The overarching goal of the class will be to (1) familiarize students with the legal issues involved with various intelligence activities, and, more importantly, (2) prepare students to participate in the ongoing policy debate about whether existing legal rules are well-tailored to protect both U.S. national security and civil liberties, constitutional rights, and the rule of law.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Prerequisites: None