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Security, Strategy, and Statecraft

Develop expertise on the preparation, organization, and application of force for political purposes by drawing upon theory, history, and contemporary practice.


Explore traditional, emerging, and non-traditional threats, as well as diplomacy, foreign policy, and applied history.

Military Adaptation Under Fire

This course examines the role of adaptation in war. Since it is virtually impossible to predict the exact nature of future conflicts, the military that is best able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances will have strong advantages on the battlefield and a better chance of achieving the strategic objectives of the war.

This course starts by developing a framework for understanding adaptation, based on the interplay of doctrine, technology, and leadership. We then examine several modern conflicts, comparing pre-war concepts and training with what happened when the war started and examining the sources of both success and failure. The course concludes by looking forward, examining current debates about what the next big U.S. war will look like, and assessing the extent to which the U.S. military will be able to adapt to an uncertain future security environment.

Conduct of Foreign Policy

Analyzes the bureaucratic political process by which the United States decides and implements its foreign and security policies.

Drawing on decision theory and case studies, examines the key institutions involved in the National Security Council process, including the White House, the State and Defense departments and the intelligence community. Also considers the impact of Congress, the media and NGOs. Taught seminar-style, with several role-playing exercises.

Illicit Finance

This course will examine the methodologies used by criminals and terrorists to raise and move money, the tools that governments use to track and stop them, and the latest developments in the field.

Students will look at how illicit finance campaigns are being fought in the areas of terrorism, organized crime, human rights violations, and cyber-crime. The course will cover both the systemic/structural and targeted/tactical levels of the fight. At the systemic level, governments are working to lift the tide for all boats, and enhance global anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing (AML/CFT) standards and implementation. In the targeted arena, law enforcement, intelligence, and private sector compliance officers are tracking and targeting financial flows as a means to unravel plots, uncover conspirators, and disrupt networks. At the same time, illicit actors have become more sophisticated and more resourceful in hiding and moving money. Students will learn not just what is being done but how to critically assess tools and policy efforts in the field.

History, Strategy, and American Statecraft

This course is part 1 of 2 of the new Kissinger Center curriculum in history, strategy, and statecraft. It provides students with an introduction to issues of strategy, statecraft, and decision-making, framed against the history of U.S. foreign policy.

The course begins with a discussion of classic works on strategy and the role of history in policy-making; the bulk of the course then covers key strategic choices and periods in U.S. foreign policy from 1776 to the present, focusing on the post-1945 period. The course addresses subjects from the grand strategy of Washington's Farewell Address, to U.S. strategy in the early nuclear age, to decision-making surrounding the Iraq War and the U.S. response to 9/11. The course can serve as preparation for the core exam in American Foreign Policy.


Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Thomas Rid

Professor of Strategic Studies

Mara Karlin

Associate Professor of the Practice, Director, Strategic Studies Program, Executive Director, The Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

Francis Gavin

Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor, Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs

Adam Szubin

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence

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