Introduction to National Security Policy – PLCY 880

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course requires students to research the basic contours of their chosen policy cognate. Students will work with their faculty member to understand the scope, history, controversial issues, and key policy outcomes associated with this cognate. This research will serve as a stepping stone to conducting a comprehensive literature review for their dissertation, and provide the needed context to ensure that students’ chosen dissertation topics are focused and appropriate.


PLCY 700 and 812


In the fast changing, highly fluid, multidimensional discipline of national security policy and planning today, serious need exists for more trained analysts, policy planners, and experienced practitioners who better understand how to integrate the moving parts of this increasingly critical area of expertise. If past theory and practice understood national security more in terms of conventional military deterrence, current focus requires skilled professionals be able to integrate and coordinate US security policy to meet additional challenges posed by the global economy, cyberwar, terror networks, the proliferation of WMDs, and natural disasters.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Describe key agencies involved in US national security analysis, planning, policymaking, and implementation.
    2. Discuss the historically complex nature of interagency competition in deciding what national security policy should be and why.
    3. Estimate the importance of budgetary and financial processes to national security policy-making.
    4. Evaluate the challenges of intelligence gathering, cooperation, and coordination between competing agencies.
    5. Explain how non-government influences may impact the policy making process.
    6. Synthesize national security concepts and themes with a biblical worldview.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 400–500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200–250 words. Any references and citations must be in current Turabian format.

Essays (3)

The student will write a 6-8 page research-based paper in current Turabian format that focuses on the topic relevant to the course readings for the Module in which it is located and all previous learning. The paper must include at least 5-7 references in addition to the course textbooks, presentations, and the Bible.

Comparative Think Tank Analysis Paper (in 3 Parts)

Topic Approval

Select a current national security issue you want to compare across at three policy think tanks. But your research should reflect recent accounts. The instructor must approve the issue or problem identified. If not approved, the Instructor will recommend modifications, changes, or refinement of the issue or problem.

Website Selection

Select three websites to compare the same issue/problem and explain the basic orientation of each site. The language of the subject matter may not ‘headline’ the same in all sites but may be expressed using different language. Each site may also offer multiple formats, whether downloadable reports, documents, news stories, and conference links. Be sure to see everything they have. All ThinkTank sources must be scholarly.


Final Think Tank Comparative Analysis Paper Submission. The student will write a 10-12 page research analysis in current Turabian format that compares how policy think tanks deal with the same national security issue, whether the issue is foreign or domestic policy oriented. The paper must include at least 5-6 outside scholarly references in addition to the course textbook, at least 1 relevant presentation citation from the assigned module/week, and the Bible.

Midterm Research Essay

The Mid-Term Essay Question will cover the Reading & Study material for Module/Week 4, chs. 6-7. The student will write a 12-15 page essay in current Turabian format that focuses on the topic selected from the course readings, presentations, and other sources for the Module in which it is located. The paper must include at least 5-6 outside scholarly references in addition to the course textbook, 1 relevant presentations citation from the assigned module/week, and the Bible.