National Security Policy (DIP 600)

Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce

Fall 2010

Monday 3:30pm-6pm


Dr. Robert M. Farley

Office: Patterson 467

Office Hours: Monday, 1:30-3:30pm

Office Telephone: 859-257-4668



Welcome to DIP 600, National Security.  The goal of this course is to provide students with a foundation in the major debates on national security policy.  In the first third of the course we will study some of the great works on national security, as well as commentaries on those works.  The second third of the course focuses on contemporary policy debates in the United States on grand strategy and national security.  The final third examines the policy process and focuses on specific national security problems facing the United States.


Discussion will take up the bulk of class time.  I expect everyone to attend, have studied the readings, and have a familiarity with current events.  Any major reputable newspaper will suffice for the latter, although I prefer the New York Times.


Grading will be based on class participation (20%), class blog participation (10%), three 4-6 page memos (15% each), and one final examination (25%).

Every student is required to post at least once to the class blog,, in each of five weeks during the course of the semester.  The idea of the blog is to promote serious discussions of the readings and of current events tied to national security. I will monitor blog postings and assign a grade based on quantity and quality of participation. Postings should integrate specific material from class readings and extend class debates. 

Each of the three 4-6 page memos must be typed and double-spaced.  Please do not exceed the page limit.  The point of the assignment is to present information in a cogent and concise manner.  The topic is up to you, but ideally will concern the convergence of a current event or situation with assigned reading from the class day in question.  Memos are due at the beginning of class on the day of the relevant reading.  You will be expected to turn in one memo during each third of the course.  Thus, the last day for turning in your first memo is October 4, and the first day for turning in your last memo is November 8.  The memos will be evaluated on both content and presentation.  Information must be accurate, arguments must be well thought out, and style must be compelling. 

You will be required to make an oral presentation and defense of one of your three memos during class.  Note that this means you will have to write and turn in a memo on the day of your defense.  The strength of your presentation and defense will contribute to your participation grade.  You must indicate to me a preference for which week to present by the second week of the course so that I can stagger the presentations.  The presentation should last about fifteen minutes, and will be followed by a fifteen minute question and answer period.  The presentation will make up 50% of your participation grade, or 10% of the total grade.

A comprehensive final exam will be held on Wednesday, December 15 at 3:30pm.  The exam will be communicated and completed electronically; thus, there is no need for you to be in Lexington on that date.  The exam will mimic in structure a minor field comprehensive exam. Yes, second year students ARE required to take the exam.   

Class Materials

Purchase of the following books is recommended, but not required.  These texts are best acquired through Amazon or similar service.

·         Suzanne C. Nielsen, Don M. Snider eds., American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009

Most of the rest of the class readings are available online.  A few will be available through photocopies.  Note that many of the online readings are available on JSTOR or other secure databases, which requires either a University computer or a properly configured connection.


Week 1, August 30: Values, National Security, and the National Interest

                Arnold Wolfers, National Security as an Ambiguous Symbol

                David Brin, Thor meets Captain America

Week 2, September 13: War, Politics, and Coercion

                Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (entire)

                Carl Von Clausewitz, On War (selections)

Week 3, September 20: War and Morality

                Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (entire)

Week 4, September 27: Grand Strategy I

                Mackubin Thomas Owens, Strategy and the Strategic Way of Thinking

                James Goldgeier, The Fall of the Wall and American Grand Strategy

                Michael Fitzsimmons, The Problem of Uncertainty in Strategic Planning

                John Lewis Gaddis, What is Grand Strategy?

Week 5, October 4: Grand Strategy II

                William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy

                Christopher Layne, From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing

                G. John Ikenberry and Anne-Marie Slaughter, Forging a World of Liberty Under Law

                Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, Reshaping the World Order

Week 6, October 11: Hegemony?

                William C. Wohlforth, The Stability of a Unipolar World

                Josef Joffe, The Default Power: The False Prophecy of America’s Decline

Fareed Zakaria, The Future of American Power: How American Can Survive the Rise of the Rest

Remarks by the President on Acceptance of Nobel Prize

Week 7, October 18: Friends and Competitors

                Minxin Pei, Think Again: Asia’s Rise

                William Drozdiak, The North Atlantic Drift

                Robert Levgold, The Russia File

                C. Raja Mohan, India and the Balance of Power

Week 8, October 25: The War on Terror

                Stephen Van Evera, Assessing U.S. Strategy in the War on Terror

                Daniel Byman, US Counter-Terrorism Options: A Taxonomy

Norman Podhoretz, World War IV: How it Started, What it Means, and Why We Have to Win

Michael Krepon, The Mushroom Cloud that Wasn’t

Week 9, November 1: Public Opinion

                Dan Drezner, The Realist Tradition in American Public Opinion

                Chaim Kaufman, Threat Inflation and the Failure of the Marketplace of Ideas: The Selling of the Iraq War

                Jeffrey Record, Retiring Hitler and ‘Appeasement’ from the National Security Debate

Week 10, November 8: Strategic Planning

                Quadrennial Defense Review

                National Security Strategy

Week 11, November 15: Organizations and Foreign Policy

                Graham Allison, Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis

                Scott Sagan, The Perils of Proliferation

Week 12, November 22: The Architecture of the National Security State

                Ashton B. Carter, The Architecture of Government in the Face of Terrorism

                David Jablonsky, The State of the National Security State

                Alan G. Whittaker et al, The National Security Policy Process

Week 13, November 29: Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts

Rebecca K. C. Hersman, Friends and Fores: How Congress and the President Really Make Foreign Policy (entire)

Christina E. Wells, State Secrets and Executive Accountability

John C. Yoo, Judicial Review and the War on Terrorism

Week 14, December 6: Civil Military Relations

                Suzanne Nielsen, Don Snider eds. American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era (entire)