DIP 742: National Security Policy

Fall 2014

Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce

Mondays 10:00am-12:30pm

420 Patterson Office Tower


Dr. Robert M. Farley

Office: POT 1177

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

Office Telephone: 859-257-4668

E-mail: farls0@gmail.com


Welcome to DIP 742, National Security Policy.  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.

Student Learning Outcomes:

After completing the course,

        Students will demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and evaluate grand strategic theory.

        Students will be able to discuss and evaluate contemporary national security issues.

        Students will be able to trace how foreign policy decisions are made in the US governmental system.  

        Students will display a familiarity with the major schools of grand strategic thought.

        Students will be able to differentiate and effectively argue for foreign policy positions.

        Students will be able to give competent professional oral presentations.   

 Students with Disabilities

If you have a documented disability that requires academic accommodations, please see me as soon as possible during scheduled office hours.  In order to receive accommodations in this course, you must provide me with a Letter of Accommodation from the Disability Resource Center (2 Alumni Gym, 257-2754, email address jkarnes@email.uky.edu) for coordination of campus disability services available to students with disabilities.

Absence Policy

You must inform me in writing if you know in advance that you will miss an exam due to an excused reason such as: illness, serious illness or death in your immediate family, a University-sanctioned field trip, or religious holiday.  Excuses for missed exams will be granted as per University policy.

Academic Integrity

Per university policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses.  The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred.  If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to suspension from the university may be imposed. 

Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct.  Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.  Complete information can be found at the following website: http://www.uky.edu/Ombud.  A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty. It is important that you review this information as all ideas borrowed from others need to be properly credited.

 Plagiarism includes reproducing someone elses work, whether it be a published article, chapter of a book, a paper from a friend or some file, or something similar to this. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be. Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual work is done, it must be done by the student, and the student alone.  However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain (Section 6.3.1).


Grading will be based on class participation (20%), class blog participation (10%), three 4-6 page memos (15% each), and one final examination (25%).  Papers will be graded on an A (4), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3), B- (2.7) and so forth scale.  Final grades above 3.5 will be awarded an A, between 2.7 and 3.5 a B, and below 2.7 a C or lower.

Every student is required to post at least once to the class blog, nationalsecuritypolicy.blogspot.com, 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 7, and the first day for turning in your last memo is November 18.  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 Tuesday, December 16 at 1pm.  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. Edition is irrelevant.

        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, September 8: Values, National Security, and the National Interest

               Arnold Wolfers, National Security as an Ambiguous Symbol

               David Brin, Thor meets Captain America

               Charles Lindblom, The Science of Muddling Through

Week 2, September 15: War, Politics, and Coercion

               Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (entire)

Week 3, September 22: Grand Strategy I

               Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History (Parts I, II)

Week 4, September 29: Grand Strategy II

               Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History (Parts III, IV)

Week 5, October 6: Grand Strategy III

Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History (Part V)

George Kennan, The Sources of Soviet Conduct

Week 6, October 13: American Grand Strategies

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

               Christopher Layne, From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing (Offshore Balancing)

               G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan (Liberal Internationalism)

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

Week 7, October 20: Hegemony?

Stephen Brooks, G. John Ikenberry, William Wohlforth, Dont Come Home America: The Case against Retrenchment

               Joseph Parent and Paul MacDonald, The Wisdom of Retrenchment

               Andrew Bacevich, The American Century is Over

Week 8, October 27: Assessing the Threat Environment

               Paul Bracken, Net Assessment: A Practical Guide

Micah Zenko and Michael Cohen, Clear and Present Safety

National Security Strategy

Norman Podhoretz, World War IV                      

Week 9, November 3: Public Opinion I

               Berinsky, Chapters 1-5

Week 10, November 10: Public Opinion II

               Berinsky, Chapters 6-9

Week 11, November 17: Organizations, Bureaucracy, and Foreign Policy

Morton H. Halperin, The Decision to Deploy the ABM: Bureaucratic and Domestic Politics in the Johnson Administration

Graham Allison, The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50

               Weitz, Chapter 7, 9

Week 12, November 24: The Architecture of the National Security State

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

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

               Weitz, Chapter 1, 11

Week 13, December 1: Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts

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

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

Eric Holder, Speech at Northwestern University

Week 14, December 8: Civil Military Relations

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