Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 14, 2015

A MOOC: Central Challenges of American National Security

Filed under: Education,General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on January 14, 2015

This is an opportunity not directly related to homeland security.  However, I thought some of topics addressed by this course will be of interest to this blog’s readership.

For all the details, see: https://www.edx.org/course/challenges-of-american-security-harvardx-hks211-2x#.VLcv-SvF-Sr

The instructors are impressive.  A former DOD official, and more importantly, the man who built the current Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  And of course a major New York Times  reporter.

You can audit this course for free.  For a small fee, you can get a certificate  that indicates you did the work. Unfortunately, you are not going to get “Harvard” credit…

About this Course

How can Iran be stopped from getting a nuclear bomb—negotiations, sanctions, or military action? As a participant in this course, you will advise the president in deciding whether, and how, the U.S. should act. Once you’ve made your assessment, you will move on to wrestle with other scenarios preoccupying policy makers. Between the Assad regime and ISIS, civilians in Syria and Iraq face unimaginable atrocities. Should the U.S. intervene? China’s rise is rattling capitalist economies and a half-century of Pacific peace. What counterbalancing actions should Washington take? Leaks are a fact of life — but why do they happen? Who gets them, and why? Should journalists publish or withhold them? Does legal accountability lie with the leaker—or the journalist?

This seven-week course casts you as advisors on the hardest decisions any president has to make. We will go behind the veil to see the dynamic between the press and the U.S. government, to explore these dilemmas. We will also have to contend with the reality that government secrets rarely stay that way. Participants will learn to navigate the political landscape of an era in which private remarks become viral tweets, and mistakes by intelligence agencies become front-page stories.

Weekly assignments require strategic thinking: Analyzing dynamics of challenges and developing strategies for addressing them.  Students will learn to summarize their analyses in a succinct “Strategic Options Memo,” combining careful analysis and strategic imagination with the necessity to communicate to major constituencies in order to sustain public support. They will also examine how policymaking is affected by constant, public analysis of government deliberations.


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Comment by William R. Cumming

January 15, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

IMO the central challenge of American National Security is CORRUPTION of elites here and elsewhere!

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Update on the course “Central Challenges of American National Security”

February 16, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

[…] a month ago I posted on the opportunity to participate in a Massive Open Online Course offered by Harvard’s […]

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