Political Science Department


National Security Issues

Fall Term 1997

Class Hours: TuTh 8:00-9:15 a.m.

Room: 120 Cambridge Hall

Prof. Ransom Clark
107 Cambridge Hall
(O) 826-8343
Office Hours: MWF 2-3 p.m.; TuTh 9:30-10:30 a.m.


1. Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, American National Security: Policy and Process, 4th ed. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993)

2. New York Times

Course Description:

This course focuses on the nexus formed by the intersection of U.S. national and broader international security concerns. A basic premise is that moving out of the Cold War era does not mean an end to security-related problems for the United States. However, absent the constraints imposed by the East-West confrontation, the nature and context of future international conflict will be different than during the preceding 50 years.

National security policy is defined in terms of interests, instruments, and processes. Diplomatic, military, and intelligence capabilities, the three facets of national security policy, are presented within a context of domestic and international concerns. The period of the Cold War is surveyed as a baseline for analysis of continuing security issues. Specific global and regional issues are identified and developed in terms of their relationship to U.S. national security interests today and in the future.


A prime objective of the course is to provide a framework for policy analysis within which international security concerns are viewed as critical to U.S. national security over the remainder of the last decade of the 20th century and into the 21st century. A secondary objective is to illuminate selected regions and issues with particular criticality for U.S. security interests.


Course activities will encompass readings in the text, lectures, and a series of reading, writing, and discussion assignments.

Each student will be responsible for five writing assignments which will serve as the basis for participation in specific discussion sessions. These mandatory, graded writing assignments will constitute 15% of your semester grade (a maximum of three points for each assignment). Topics, methodology, format, groundrules, and deadlines are discussed in a separate handout. Each writing assignment is due on the relevant date. Late papers will be reduced in grade. All assignments must be completed by the date of the last scheduled discussion session (December 4).

The level and quality (reflective of work and thought outside the classroom environment) of your participation in the discussion sessions, factored together with your overall class attendance, will constitute 15% of your semester grade. In addition, it is my hope that lively and informed in-class discussions will not be limited to the designated periods, but will arise spontaneously as we proceed through the semester.


There will be three (3) exams, including a Final Exam. They will consist of essay and short-answer (such as, the defining of terms) questions. Exams will require knowledge of material in the text book (whether discussed in class or not), lectures, and concepts developed in the discussion sessions. Exams #1 and #2 will each be equal to 20% of your semester grade; the Final Exam will be cumulative and will equal 30% of your total semester grade. The Final Exam will be given only at the time scheduled.

Order of March

1. Course organization & introduction - August 26

1.1 Tu., Aug. 26 - Review of Syllabus. What are we talking about?

2. Components of national security
August 28-September 18
Reading: Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, , ch. 1-4, 7-8

2.1 Th., Aug. 28 - Means of achieving national security. The foreign policy component of national security

2.2 Tu., Sep. 2 - Discussion: Current national security issues

Discussion Group designation & selection of topics
First written assignment due

2.3 Th., Sep. 4 - The military component of national security

2.4 Tu., Sep. 9 - The intelligence component of national security: What is intelligence & what does it do?

2.5 Th., Sep. 11 - The structures of U.S. intelligence: The U.S. Intelligence Community & the Central Intelligence Agency

2.6 Tu., Sep. 16 - Discussion session

Blue Group second written assignment due

2.7 Th., Sep 18 - Library research day

3. The past as prologue: The roots of U.S. national security policy
September 23-30
Reading: Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, , ch. 5-6

3.1 Tu., Sep. 23 - The early years of the Cold War. Containment; massive retaliation

3.2 Th., Sep. 25 - Discussion session

Green Group second written assignment due

3.3 Tu., Sep. 30 - Vietnam & its aftermath; detente; human rights

*** Thursday, Oct. 2 - Exam #1

4. The Cold War winds down
October 7-14
Reading: Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, , ch. 9-10

4.1 Tu., Oct. 7 - The Cold War & Ronald Reagan

4.2 Th., Oct. 9 - Ending the Cold War

4.3 Tu., Oct 14 - Discussion session

Blue & Green Groups third written assignment due

5. U.S. national security & inherited problems
October 16-30
Reading: Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, , ch. 11-15, 23

5.1 Th., Oct. 16 - Nuclear proliferation issues

5.2 Tu., Oct. 21 - Social, human rights, and environmental issues

5.3 Th., Oct. 23 - Discussion session

Blue Group fourth written assignment due

5.4 Tu., Oct. 28 - The intersection of economics, politics, & conflict

5.5 Th., Oct. 30 - Covert action in the post-Cold War era. How large a military?

*** Tuesday, Nov. 4 - Exam #2

6. Coping with instability & conflict in the new international order
November 6-25
Reading: Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, , ch. 16-22

6.1 Th., Nov. 6 - Russia & the Soviet successor states

6.2 Tu., Nov. 11 - Discussion session

Green Group fourth written assignment due

6.3 Th., Nov. 13 - Regional and ethnic conflict

6.4 Tu., Nov. 18 - Resolving regional conflict; U.S. role in peace talks

6.5 Th., Nov. 20 - Discussion session

Blue Group fifth written assignment due

6.6 Tu., Nov. 25 - The multilateral option: United Nations? Other?

*** Wed.-Fri., Nov. 26-28 - Thanksgiving Break

7. Conclusions & reflections
December 2-9
Reading: Jordan, Taylor, & Korb, ch. 24

7.1 Tu., Dec. 2 - Whither the U.S. national security establishment?

7.2 Th., Dec. 4 - Discussion session

Green Group fifth written assignment due

7.3 Tu., Dec. 9 - Wrap-up. Course evaluation

*** Fri., Dec. 12, 10:30 am-12:30 pm - Final Exam

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