Defense Statecraft (DIP 750)

Spring 2016

Tuesday 10am-12:30pm


Dr. Robert M. Farley

Office: Patterson 1177

Office Hours: Wednesday, 9am-11am

Office Telephone: 859-257-4668




Military organizations are complex tools of statecraft. This course examines the role that military force plays in U.S. foreign policy, and the capacity of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines to execute that policy.  We will also study the administrative, budget, and procurement aspects of defense policy. Students should expect to gain familiarity with the key military policy issues that confront government officials, and to become able to evaluate the claims of journalists and advocacy organizations that confront informed American opinion.



Student 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,


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:  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 else’s 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%), and three 4-6 page memos (15% each) and one final examination (25%). All work 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.


Each student is required to post at least once to the class blog,, in each of five different weeks (at least five total posts) 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 military statecraft. I will monitor blog postings and assign a grade based on quantity and quality of participation. Postings should specifically integrate the 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 February 16, and the first day for turning in your last memo is April 5. The memos will be evaluated on both content and presentation.  Accurate information, well-thought out arguments, and compelling style win the day. The memos must conform to standards of academic citation (system of your choice).


You will be required to make an oral presentation and defense of one memo during class.  You must indicate to me a preference for which week to present by the second week of the course, such that I can stagger presentations. The presentation should last no more than 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.


The final exam will be held on Tuesday, May 3 at 8am. It will mimic the format of a minor field exam, and can be conducted remotely.


Class Materials

Purchase of the following books is recommended, but not required.




The rest of the class readings are either online or will be made available by the professor.  The latter are designated by italics. 


Week 1: January 19 War, Politics, and Coercion Revisited

Allan R. Millett, Williamson Murray, and Kenneth H. Watman, “The Effectiveness of Military Organizations,” International Security v.11, no.1 (Summer 1986), 37-71.   

O’Hanlon, Chapter 3

                O’Hanlon, Chapter 4      


Week 2: January 26   Conventional Ground Combat

Stephen Biddle, Military Power; 1-107, 132-149.

E.D. Swinton, The Defence of Duffer’s Drift in Burgoyne, Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa



Week 3: February 2       Force Quality

Kenneth Pollack, Arabs at War 1-148.



Week 4: February 9      COIN

                FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency, December 2006; Chapters 1-8

                Michael L. Burgoyne, Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa 

                Gian Gentile, Population Centric COIN and the Army




Week 5: February 16      Special Operations

Capstone Concept for Special Operations

Richard B. Andres, Craig Wills and Thomas E. Griffith Jr. “Winning with Allies: The Strategic Value of the Afghan Model”

Nicholas Schmidle, Getting Bin Laden

Spencer Ackerman, How Special Ops Copied Al Qaeda to Kill it




Week 6: February 23      Naval Warfare

                Milan Vego, Major Naval Operations, 1-120

A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower



Week 7: March 1       Air Warfare

                Colin Gray, Airpower for Strategic Effect 



Week 8: March 8      Nuclear Weapons

Lawrence Freedman, “The First Two Generations of Nuclear Strategists,” in Peter Paret ed. Makers of Modern Strategy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987; 735-778.

Jeffrey Lewis, After the Reliable Replacement Warhead

Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, The Nukes We Need



Week 9: March 22       Robotics

                Peter W. Singer, The Robotics Revolution

Jane Mayer, “The Predator War: What Are the Risks of the C.I.A.’s Covert Drone Program?” New Yorker, October 26, 2009.

Micha Zenko, Lethal Drones

Denis Stairs, Drone Proliferation

Scott Shane, Mark Mazetti, and Robert F. Worth, “Secret Assault on Terrorism Widens on Two Continents,” New York Times, August 14, 2010.

Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” New York Times, May 29, 2012.

Greg Miller, “Plan for Hunting Terrorists Signals U.S. Intends to Keep Adding Names to Kill Lists,” Washington Post, October 23, 2012.




Week 10:  March 29  No Class

                Singer and Cole, Ghost Fleet (entire)



Week 11: April 5  Private Military Firms

P. W. Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, 3-150.



Week 12: April 12  The Services and Interservice Rivalry

David Johnson, Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post-Cold War World

Clark Murdoch et al, Beyond Goldwater-Nichols: Defense Reform for a New Strategic Era Phase 1



Week 13: April 19    The Defense Budget

                Michael O’Hanlon, Chapter 1

                Jonathan Masters, Defense Spending and the Deficit Debate

Cindy Williams, Accepting Austerity



Week 14: April 26     The Defense Industry

Peter Dombrowski, Eugene Gholz, and Andrew Ross, Military Transformation and the Defense Industry After Next. Naval War College, Newport Papers # 18, 2003.