The curriculum consists of two core components: an examination of leading strategic theorists on war and analysis of major case studies. The works of major strategic thinkers—such as Carl von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mao Tse-tung, Alfred Thayer Mahan, and Sir Julian Corbett—provide a foundation on which the course builds an analytical framework that students can use to understand the interrelationship of the realms of policy, strategy, and operations.
The case studies provide an opportunity to evaluate and discuss the ways in which political leaders and strategic planners in the real world have successfully (or unsuccessfully) grappled with the challenges associated with the use of force to attain national objectives. This course, then, is concerned with strategic leadership that can effectively deal not only with current problems in policy and strategy but also those that might emerge in the future.
All students are required to write two papers that critically examine critical questions arising from the case studies. These papers present an opportunity to demonstrate critical analysis and prepare a paper that requires independent thought and graduate-level writing. Papers should serve to stimulate innovative thinking and to provide provoke and inform discussion within the seminar.