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NSLC Program—Intelligence and National Security

Intelligence and National Security (1 or 2 credits)

Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the role that intelligence plays in contemporary national security. The class will begin with a discussion of what security actually means, followed by an overview of the concept of national security and the different ways we protect the United States. The course will explore the nature of contemporary threats by focusing on what constitutes a threat in the first place and by discussing whether today's threats are different and more challenging than those of the past. Finally, the class will investigate the tough choices policy-makers are forced to make on a daily basis. Threats, responses, and intelligence are rarely crystal-clear, necessitating a set of very high-stakes decisions by national leaders. The follow-up assignments will allow students to explore these issues in greater depth in written format. Students will finish the course with a deeper appreciation for the nuances of security studies, threat assessment, and intelligence practice.

Course Outline

Professor: deRaismes Combes is currently completing her doctoral degree at the School of International Service at American University. She is looking at the security/power implications of the discursive framing of 9/11 on contemporary American identity. Combes received her AB in French and war & peace studies at Dartmouth College and later completed a dual master's program in Paris on international relations and ‘la sociologie des conflits’. She has lived in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, which has helped foster a strong interest in power, security, and identity; the effects of words and images; and why/how the world gets constructed in specific ways. Her scholarship has included work on the Arab/Israeli conflict, ethnic and civil wars, as well as the more broadly theoretical underpinnings of international relations.

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