Ethical Leadership and the Intelligence Mission – GOVT 504

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course requires students to consider the foundational elements of ethical decision-making as applied to the Intelligence Mission and to develop their own personal approach in dealing with the many challenges leaders face in balancing mission and people. The course focuses not only on the factors of a decision of what to do, but also on the vital importance and need for clear and complete communication with peers, subordinates, and supervisors.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course ensures students are familiar with the guiding documents with which all Intelligence Professionals must be familiar for ethical and legal operations. The course is designed around the intelligence cycle and focuses on the ethical challenges involved in accomplishing the mission of National Security Intelligence, and of leading and managing people in a stressful environment.

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and Lecture Presentations/Notes

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Two of the Discussion threads must be 500 words each and demonstrate course-related knowledge. The third Discussion thread will be an upload of the student's Analysis Paper: Analysis of DOD IG Investigation of Politicization of USCENTCOM Intelligence Assignment document. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to two other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 250 words.

The student will submit one 4–6-minute video of himself or herself discussing the assigned topic. Responses to the video discussion will be written in the discussion replies and must be at least 250 words each reply.

Research Paper: Challenges In the Ethics of Intelligence Collection and Analysis Assignment

The student will write an eight-page research-based paper in current APA format that focuses on the ethical issue related to decision making and the technology of the collection and analysis of National Security Intelligence. The paper must include at least six professional reference(s) and one from the Bible.

Analysis Paper: Analysis of DOD IG Investigation of Politicization of USCENTCOM Intelligence Assignment

The student will write an eight-page analysis examining the ethical issues involved in the USCENTCOM Joint Intelligence center case as described in the DoD Inspector Generals investigation of 2017. The paper will use APA format and contain at least six citations and one biblical reference.

Scenario Paper: Balancing Aggressive Collection with the Protection of Civil Liberties Assignment

The student will write a minimum ten-page paper on the ethical issues related to the boundaries and limits of intelligence collection and actions against US citizens. The format is APA and must include at least six citations, two of which must be from the IC legal reference book.  One biblical reference is also required. 

Reflection Paper: Personal Philosophy and "Ethical Prism" Assignment

The student will submit a four-six-page paper summarizing learning points from the course in a manner that is most useful for future reference and reflection. Relevant references, at least six of which must be from the the US Constitution should be included. One biblical reference is also required.

The student will complete one quiz in the course. The quiz will focus on reference documents cited in the assigned modules and is open-book/open-notes. The quiz contains twenty multiple-choice and true/false questions. There is no time limit on the quiz.