The College also offers shorter web-enabled elective courses for students in the night Fleet Seminar Program. These offerings are designed to permit each student to expand beyond the three core courses into greater depth in some specific areas of interest. As in the other courses, grades will be assigned. Each elective is completed as a web-enabled course. Students write essays on questions selected from a list provided with each module/block. Submission requirements vary according to the course and will be explained in the individual course syllabus guide. The elective courses are not required for a Naval War College Diploma or the Program for Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1 credit, and will only be given to students in the Graduate Degree Program according to the following precept:

  • Graduate Degree Program (GDP) student applying for first web-enabled elective.
  • Student taking second or having completed at least two night seminar courses and applying for first web-enabled elective.
  • In night seminar program courses and last web-enabled elective taken over one year ago.
  • In night seminar first course or last web-enabled elective less than one year ago. 
  • Non-GDP students on space available bases.


EL # Electives Credits (Graduate Semester Hours) Length (weeks)* Months Offered
Africa Area of Study Electives - 661, 662, 663, 671
EL661 African Culture and History  3 12   APR    
EL662 African Governance and Economics  3 12       OCT
EL663 Security and Transnational Threats in Africa 3 12     JUL   
EL671 African Religion and Politics 3 12 JAN      
Irregular Warfare Area of Study - 669, 670, 668, 606
EL669 Terrorism by Non-State Actors 3 12 JAN      
EL670 Counter Terrorism 3 12   APR    
EL668 Terrorism & State Sponsorship of Terrorism 3 12        OCT
EL606 Terrorism: Strategic Implications of National Security 3 12     JUL   
Homeland Security/Homeland Defense - 703, 701
EL703 Homeland Security/Homeland Defense and the Department of Defense 3 12 JAN      
EL701 Maritime Homeland Security/Homeland Defense 3 12   APR    
Asia Pacific Area of Study - 628W, 602W, 603W
EL628W Modern Japan 3 12        OCT
EL602W Chinese Conceptions of Security 3 12  JAN      
EL603W SE Asian Security 3 12   APR     
Greater Middle East or Irregular Warfare Area of Study - 745W, 736W
EL745W ISIS, AlQaeda, Boko Haram & Al Shabaab in the Greater Middle East 3 12        OCT
Refer to the Graduate Degree Program for further information regarding area of study information.  
*First week in all web-enabled elective courses is an orientation to Blackboard. This is required for new students. 

Introduction to African Cultures and History (EL-661)

This twelve week course will survey the history and geography of the African continent to create a context for understanding its diverse cultures and more than fifty nations. Since North Africa is also part of the Middle East and, after Israel, Egypt and Sudan have been among the greatest recipients of American foreign aid, this continent is very significant. Its importance also lies in its natural resources (oil, and key metals), its strategic position (with three naval 'choke points'), major security dimensions (al-Qaeda, stability, democracy and failed states); markets, and a large diasporic population to name just a few. Yet, the study of Africa has been much neglected so this course will examine some major topics in African history, language and cultural diversity. Such will include: physical geography, climate, the length of African history, state formation, the slave trades, colonialism, national liberation, African political economy, religion, African cultural practices, and contemporary African issues and developments in health, economy, democratization, and conflict resolution. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Africa Area of Study.

Governance & Economics in Africa (EL-662)

This twelve week course will provide students with a critical understanding of developing political systems in Africa- a vast and diverse continent, encompassing some 53 independent states. Knowledge of our world is increased when we expand and apply our efforts to the study of political systems beyond the limited scope of our domestic political systems. In an increasingly globalizing international political system, the ability to understand how emerging political systems function can only be in our intellectual self-interest. Upon completion of the course, students will be expected to understand the role that developing political systems, particularly African political systems, play in shaping our modern world. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Africa Area of Study.

Security and Transnational Threats in Africa (EL663)

This elective is designed to promote thinking and discussion about the meaning of security in Africa, the nature of the African security environment, and the strategic and policy options available to the United States and African countries to address security concerns. Both traditional and non-traditional formulations of security will be examined in the African context, along with their historic and future implications for the United States and African countries. The course will also look at potential flashpoints, preemptive strategies, and the implications for shaping future U.S. and allied engagement in Africa. The treatment of transnational threats will include an examination of terrorism (indigenous and global), small arms and light weapons proliferation, health and disease, the environment and demographic trends, and transnational crime. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Africa Area of Study.

African Religion and Politics  (EL671)

The course surveys the major religious systems in Africa from its main heritage of indigenous beliefs, to the expansion of the three great religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the African continent. Ancient, pre-colonial, and post-independence contexts of religious practice and institutions are referenced to gain an integrated understanding of the continuing importance of varied, often co-existing and syncretistic religious traditions, and their dynamic influence on society and politics in Africa. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Africa Area of Study.

Terrorism and State Sponsorship of Terrorism (EL-668)

This course reviews the history or terrorist movements, theories about the causes of terrorism, terrorist strategies and tactics in general.  It also addresses the phenomenon of state-sponsored terrorism:  the reasons why states sponsor terrorism, the effectiveness of the policy of state sponsorship, and the steps that the international community has taken to discourage states from supporting or sponsoring terrorism. 

The course objectives are to:  1) Understand international terrorism as it has evolved over time.  2) Understand international law on terrorism.  3) Evaluate state-sponsored terrorism and the actions of the international community to suppress it.   
Note: This course is appropriate only under the Irregular Warfare Area of Study. 

Terrorism by Non-State Actors (EL-669)

This course examines the phenomenon of terrorism by non-state actors—that is to say, terrorism that is not conducted or sponsored by a state. The course examines the major non-state terrorist organizations, the conditions conducive to their formation, their ideologies, objectives and strategies. Finally, the course identifies current trends in non-state terrorism with an eye towards predicting the future of terrorism in different parts of the world. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Irregular Warfare Area of Study.

Counter Terrorism: Strategies for Reducing the Terrorist Threat (EL-670)

This course addresses the strategies that have been or should be adopted to reduce the threat of terrorism, primarily against the United States and its allies. The assumption made in this course is that the terrorist threat will exist for a long period of time and that it may never be completely eradicated. Although the focus of the course is reducing the ability of terrorist groups to operate, the issues of infrastructure protection and emergency response to terrorist incidents will also be covered. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Irregular Warfare Area of Study.

Terrorism: Strategic Implications of National Security (EL606)

This course challenges students to broaden their understanding of terrorism. The curriculum is focused on examining real policy and operational solutions to a prime national security threat facing the United States. Throughout the course, students will gain an appreciation for the relationship between the Defense Department, other federal agencies, and international partners to formulate and implement counterterrorism strategy and operations. This course is designed to broaden your understanding of the ever-changing nature of terrorism. We will make some projections about how terrorism will shape our lives, and that of future generations. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Irregular Warfare Area of Study.

Homeland Security/Homeland Defense and the Department of Defense (EL 703)

During this course, students will examine the challenges of homeland security/defense from a variety of perspectives, looking at the responsibilities of the Department of Defense (DoD), primarily in terms of the Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission. Additionally, the course will look at the Interagency process at all levels--Federal, state, local, tribal—to determine the capabilities and limitations of the various services and agencies with responsibilities in this area, as well as the key policy and organizational challenges facing national leaders. The primary focus of this course will be on the aspects of the topics relevant to future military leaders and staff officers, but the topics themselves span far beyond the military sector. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Homeland Security/Homeland Defense Area of Study.

Maritime Homeland Security/Homeland Defense (EL 701)

The course centers on the key policy and organizational design problems that future military leaders are likely to confront in maritime homeland security/defense, and the analytic skills they will need to meet those challenges. Each class requires students to master the core issues, principles and problem-solving approaches for the topic in question, and apply those fundamentals to the specific challenges. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Homeland Security/Homeland Defense Area of Study.

Modern Japan (EL628W)

Modern Japan seeks to provide students with the diplomatic, political, economic, historical, and cultural background necessary to understand the most important Asian ally of the United States. Topics to covered will include: traditional Japanese strategic thinking; Japanese cultural norms; nation building during the Meiji restoration and the post WWII occupation; the Japanese model for economic development (pre-war and post war); Japanese colonial policies in China, Korea, Taiwan; U.S.-Japanese relations; the economic bubble and stagnation; Japan's current strategic dilemmas. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Asia Pacific Area of Study.

Chinese Conceptions of Security (EL602W)

This course the fundamental issues of China's conceptual view of peace, war and international order especially focusing on the Asia/Pacific region. This course will include an understanding of how Japan, India, and Indonesia play in this concept. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Asia Pacific Area of Study.

SE Asian Security (EL603W)

This course looks closely at Southeast Asia in order to help students appreciate the region's importance internationally and to the United States. Rather than a strictly country-by-country survey approach, the course examines the region historically and thematically. Note: This course is appropriate only under the Asia Pacific Area of Study.

Combating Armed Groups in the Greater Middle East (EL736W)

This course is designed to examine the serious threats to U.S. national security from violent non-state armed groups in the greater Middle East, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Given that there is little consensus on the typology of non-state armed groups, this course splits them into broad categories: terriorists and insurgents with distinct goals (local, regional and global), and motivations (ideological domination, irredentishm, and sectarianism). With the advent of the the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and NATO's intention to pull out large numbers of troops from Afghanistan in 2014, small wars waged by terrorists and insurgents continue to challenge American and allied nations' interests.  Note: This course is appropriate under the Irregular Warfare or Greater Middle East Areas of Study.


ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram & Al Shabaab in the Greater Middle East (EL745W)

The recent rise of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is a stark reminder o f the continuous threat from terrorist organizations to the United States and the international community.  Who are these modern terrorists and their partners, and how can the United States and allies prevail against them?  This course examines this threat of modern terrorism in the Greater Middle East and takes a deep dive into the scope and scale of these armed groups and the governments' response.  Note: This course is appropriate under the Irregular Warfare or Greater Middle East Areas of Study.


For the web-enabled electives program, students are usually required to purchase all of the required textbooks on their own.

The administration and handling of materials varies depending on the course. Specific instructions on which materials must be purchased and returned are given for each course. Students will be billed for replacement of unreturned materials and no student will receive credit for a course until materials have been returned. Many students wish to purchase their course materials; unfortunately, regulations preclude this.

Additional Information

For system recommendations and enrollment procedures, please refer to Web-Enabled Program Overview.

Contact Information

Email: Manager, Web-Enabled Programs or Electives Administrator
Comm: (401) 841-4397
DSN: 841-4397
FAX: (401) 841-2457
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