National Security Decision Making

National Security Decision Making (NSDM) is designed to engage senior-rank students in the current and future complexities of a rapidly evolving national and international security environment. The course offers a broad interdisciplinary curriculum in contemporary security studies that encompasses a diverse spectrum of global and regional issues and perspectives, but with emphasis on U.S. decision-making challenges and processes at the national strategic level.

U.S. Naval War College students in the National Security Affairs Department participate in the Theater Security Decision Making (TSDM) Final Exercise in Spruance auditorium Nov. 6.
U.S. Naval War College students in the National Security Affairs Department participate in the Theater Security Decision Making (TSDM) Final Exercise in Spruance auditorium Nov. 6. The final exercise for the course is a competition among student seminar teams with the winning group presented the Adm. James G. Stavridis Award for Excellence in Theater Strategic Planning. This exercise gives intermediate-level students a chance to apply the strategic concepts and knowledge they acquired in their TSDM course, and to practice strategic thinking and planning in realistic scenarios. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler D. John/Released)

About the Course

This eight-credit hour courses provide a broad interdisciplinary foundation in contemporary security studies including international relations, regional studies, foreign policy analysis, and decision making. The curriculum consists of two sub-courses and a culminating exercise:

  • Security Strategies
  • Policy Analysis
  • NSDM Final Exercise (FX)

Capstone FX

At the end of NSDM, each seminar acts as a national strategic planning working group to produce and present a capstone FX. Student seminars simulate the work of a national strategic planning team in which the objective is to produce an executive-level strategic estimate of the longer-term future global security environment and the main tenants of a national security strategy and a nested national military strategy to advance U.S. national interests in this future environment. They must also develop operating concepts for how the future joint force will operate, a joint force structure within budget constraints, and an implementation case study.

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