Loyola University Chicago

PLSC 533: National Security Policy Dr. John Allen Williams

Fall Semester, 2012 Office: Coffey Hall 326A

Tuesday 7-9:30 p.m., Crown Center 200 East (773) 508-3053


This course explores the making and implementation of national security policies and the role of the military establishment in a democratic society. Since the foreign policy component of such policies is covered in other courses, PLSC 533 focuses on national defense and the threat or use of force. In addition to historical and organizational considerations, we will discuss such issues as military strategy, low-intensity conflicts, terrorism, homeland security, and intelligence operations. Classic readings in military issues and civil-military relations will be complemented by current debates and cross national comparisons. Throughout the course we will consider the ethical and prac­tical implications of national security policy choices. Students are encouraged to form their own judg­ments on these issues.

In this period of rapid changes in the national security environment, students will be expected to remain current with national and international events impacting on U.S. security. The events of September 11, 2001 continue to exert a powerful influence on American national security policy, so the areas of continuity continue to outnumber those of change in the Obama administration.

I encourage you to contact me outside of class if you are having difficulty understanding the material or if there is something else you wish to discuss. If I cannot see you then, we will schedule another meeting as soon as possible. I am always willing to see you on any issue of importance to you. I will see you during office hours (discussed in class), by appointment, or any other time you can catch me. My office is on the east end of the 3rd floor of Coffey Hall, Lake Shore Campus.

If you prefer, you may call me in my office or send me an email ( Please note: I receive so much junk email that I delete first and ask questions later. Therefore, please indicate clearly in the subject line that it is course-related, such as in the following example: “PLSC 533: Question about military professionalism.”


The following books are available at Barnes & Noble and Beck=s:

-- Sam C. Sarkesian, John Allen Williams, and Stephen J. Cimbala, U.S. National Security.

(Note to the Military Syllabi Project: With apologies for the plug for my own textbook, a new edition came out in the fall of 2012: Sam C. Sarkesian, John Allen Williams, and Stephen J. Cimbala, U.S. National Security, 5th ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2013). ISBN 978-1-58826-416-9. Assigments below are keyed to the 4th edition, the latest available when I taught this class. The material was updated extensively and chapter order was changed for the new edition. – John Allen Williams)

-- John M. Collins, Military Strategy: Principles, Practices, and Historical Perspectives (Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 2002). ISBN 1-57488-430-1.

(Note to the Military Syllabi Project: This is an extremely clear and perceptive analysis of military strategy and national security strategy generally. The author directed military studies at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, after a long Army career that included work at National Defense University. – John Allen Williams)

-- Gen. Rupert Smith, The Art of War in the Modern World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007).

-- Macubin Thomas Owens, US Civil-Military Relations After 9/11 (New York: Continuum, 2011). ISBN 978-1-4411-6083-6.

(Note to the Military Syllabi Project: This is an outstanding discussion of the military and society in the United States. – John Allen Williams)

-- Robert J. Art and Kenneth N. Waltz, eds., The Use of Force: Military Power and International Politics, 7th ed. (or the latest) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7425-5670-6.

-- Fred Charles Ikle, Every War Must End (NY: Columbia University Press 1991), ISBN 0-231-07689-4

(Note to the Military Syllabi Project: This is a classic discussion of how nations drift into wars due to internal considerations, error, and human folly. It is interesting as history and the lessons remain relevant for today. The students found it interesting and helpful. – John Allen Williams)

In addition, I will provide some monographs and internet-based sources. I recommend you get the two-volume U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, available in downloadable .pdf files online from the Army War College Strategic Studies Institute: and

I recommend their website highly as an excellent source of national security policy analyses:

We will conduct course-related conversations on a “Blackboard” discussion group, found at Students are expected to monitor this forum and to participate actively in it. Student participation on this forum will affect the “class participation” component of the final grade. In addition, you are expected to read a national newspaper regularly, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, or the Wall Street Journal. You may wish to supplement this reading with The Economist, an exceptionally good weekly newsmagazine.

You should also put yourselves on the free email mailing lists of the Foreign Policy Research Institute ( and Stratfor ( The FPRI also publishes the scholarly journal Orbis. Stratfor is a commercial organization that also publishes extensive geopolitical analyses for international corporations, so ensure it’s the free mailing list you sign up for. Look for the “Geopolitical Intelligence Report” link. I am open to suggestions on other relevant sources with different points of view.

Readings are due when topics are discussed. Dates of discussions may vary, but you will have a good idea from class how rapidly the discussions are progressing. I have tried to mix historical case studies, current analyses, and presentations in a way you will find interesting. Please come to class having mastered the assignment for that week to the best of your ability. Students will also be assigned to small groups for presentations on special topics. These class presentations will be part of your participation grade.


Grades will be based on two short written assignments, a term paper, a final examination, and class participation (including Blackboard):

Journal Review 10%

Book Review 10%

Submittable manuscript 30%

Final examination 30%

Class participation 20%

The details of the written assignments will be discussed in class. Academic standards of rigor and intellectual honesty will be enforced in all aspects of the class, per the Graduate School bulletin and the department=s policy on academic honesty. Papers are due as noted on the following schedule. Submitting late papers is not immoral, but it is unwise and will affect your grade negatively. All assignments must be completed to pass the course.


(Further details will be discussed in class.)

Journal review: Students will review a scholarly or policy oriented journal relating to military studies in 2-3 single spaced pages. The review will include sponsorship, audience, point of view, style, and influence. Journals include, but are not necessarily limited to, International Security, Armed Forces & Society, Orbis, The Journal of Political and Military Sociology, Military History, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Comparative Strategy, Parameters, the Naval Institute Proceedings, Journal of Strategic Studies, National Security Studies Quarterly, Strategic Review, the Washington Quarterly, Survival, Small Wars Journal (online), Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Peace Studies Quarterly. These reviews will be posted on Blackboard for the benefit of other class members.

Book review: Students will prepare a 2-3 page single spaced review of an appropriate military studies book to be agreed upon with the instructor. The review will quickly summarize the book and the author’s argument, and then analyze the book at greater length. This will be posted on Blackboard.

Research Paper: Students will prepare a manuscript suitable for submission to one of the aforementioned journals or another on which we agree (not necessarily the one you report on). Actually submitting the article to the journal is optional, but each article should conform to what the chosen journal prints -- including topic and preferred style. Topics will be posted on Blackboard for comment by others. This will be due the last day of class.


Students are expected to display the highest levels of academic honesty. In particular, they should review the academic honesty statement of the College of Arts and Sciences:

The academic honesty statement of the Department of Political Science follows:

In writing course papers, students must document all passages, paraphrases, and/or ideas that are borrowed from any source. Direct quotations must be placed within quotation marks. Papers must represent research conducted for the course in which they are assigned and no other; it is not appropriate to submit a paper that has already been or will be submitted for another course. Finally, papers must be the product of the student's own work. Papers written by anyone other than the student, including those purchased from commercial research services, are unacceptable.

Academic dishonesty on an examination or other assignment is inconsistent with Loyola's standards of academic integrity. This includes, in the words of the catalogue, ‘obtaining, distributing or communicating examination material prior to the scheduled examination without the consent of the teacher; providing to, or obtaining information from, another student during the examination; or attempting to change answers after the examination has been submitted.’”


Please come to class having mastered the assignment for that day. Additional assignments will be made from materials on the web. As this is a graduate glass, students are expected to exercise their own initiative in searching out additional relevant material and sharing it with the class. We may well adjust this schedule based on class interest. We will deal with strategy during most class sessions.

Aug 28 Introductory considerations (No assignment)

Discussion: The Postmodern Military

Sep 4 National Interests; uses of strategic theory

Sarkesian, Ch-1

AWC Vol I, Ch-1,2

AWC Vol II, Ch-2

Collins, Overview (Ch-1) and Part I (Ch-2,3,4,5)

Ikle, Preface, Ch-1,2,3

Sep 11 The conflict spectrum; American way of war

Sarkesian, Ch-2

AWC Vol II, Ch-1,16

Ikle, Ch-4,5, Epilogue

Select a journal to review

Sep 18 The US political system; Strategies for the use of force

Sarkesian, Ch-3,4

Art, Preface, Ch-1,4,5,7,8

Smith, Introduction

AWC Vol II, Ch-5

Sep 25 The policy triad and the NSC; The Great Power Era

Sarkesian, Ch-5

Art, Ch-9,10,11,12

Smith, Ch-1,2,3

Submit and post journal review

Oct 2 The military establishment; Instruments of war; The Superpower Era I

Sarkesian, Ch-6

Art, Ch-13,14,15

October 9 Fall Break; No class

Oct 16 Civil-military relations; Military ethics; The Superpower Era II

Sarkesian, Ch-7

Smith, Ch-4,5,6

Owens, Introduction, Ch-1

Post proposed paper topic

Oct 23 The policy process; Personnel issues; the Contemporary Era

Sarkesian, Ch-9,10

Art, Ch-16,17,18

Owens, Ch-2

Submit and post book review

Oct 30 Intelligence; Current military issues

Sarkesian, Ch-8

Owens, Ch-3

Art, Ch-19,20,21

Army report

Nov 6 International issues

Sarkesian, Ch-11-12

Art, Ch-22,23

Owens, Ch-4

Paper presentations I

Navy report

Nov 13 WMD; Nuclear stategy

Sarkesian, Ch-14

Art, Ch-24,25

Paper presentations II

Air Force report

Nov 20 Long range issues; Terrorism

Sarkesian, Ch-13

Smith, Ch-7,8,9

Paper presentations III

Marine Corps report

Nov 27 Making the system work; “Small wars”

Sarkesian, Ch-15

Art, Ch-26,30,31

Submit journal-ready manuscript

Paper presentations IV

Coast Guard report

Dec 4 Looking toward the future

Owens, Ch-5

Smith, Conclusion

Art, Ch-32

Post prospective exam question

Paper presentations V

Dec 11 Final Examination (Take home; distributed on line)