National Security Decision Making

The National Security Affairs (NSA) department at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) is one of the nation's largest and most vibrant graduate teaching departments in the interdisciplinary field of national and international security studies. The department is composed of a blended faculty of scholars and practitioners engaged in a wide range of teaching, research, and outreach initiatives.

The 10-week NSDM course is part of NWC's yearlong resident program and is designed to prepare senior level joint and international officers and civilians for executive positions in large national security organizations.
U.S. Naval War College (NWC) students provide a presentation for retired Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Paula Dobriansky, senior fellow for Harvard University’s JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and David Chu, president of the Institute for Defense Analyses and former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, during NWC’s National Security Decision Making (NSDM) course final exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl/Released)

About the NSDM Course

The National Security Affairs (NSA) curriculum provides a broad, interdisciplinary foundation in contemporary security studies including the areas of international relations, regional studies, foreign policy analysis, and decision-making. Our course concludes with students conducting a structured assessment designed to develop national strategies for the “military after next.” The course is designed to broaden strategic perspectives while fostering critical thinking and analytic skills that will have lasting professional relevance long into the future. At the end of NSDM, each seminar acts as a national strategic planning working group to produce and present a capstone final exercise (FX).

More on the Capstone Final Exercises

Click to Open

Focus Areas

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 particular emphasis on U.S. decision making challenges and processes at the national strategic level.

Focus areas include:

Click to Open

Students attending NSDM

National Security Affairs SLC Syllabus Cover

Our students are mid-career national security professionals including senior-rank officers from across all of the U.S. armed services, military officers from more than sixty partner countries, and civilian officials from a variety of U.S. government agencies.

Department of National Security Affairs (NSA)

The NSA department is one of three core departments at NWC and offers two courses that lead to the master's degree: national security decision making (NSDM) for senior-level students and theater security decision making (TSDM) for intermediate-level students. These eight-credit hour courses provide a broad interdisciplinary foundation in contemporary security studies, including: international relations, regional studies, foreign policy analysis, and decision making.

More on NSA Department

Faculty at NSA

Our faculty provide professional education to mid- and senior-career students who are military and civilian national security professionals from the United States and more than 60 partner countries.

See NSA Faculty

Contact Us
(401) 841-3540