Course #

“Indeed, helping to train and equip host nation forces in the midst of an insurgency is akin to building an advanced aircraft while it is in flight, while it is being designed, and while it is being shot at.” – General Petraeus

Public servants starting out in American foreign policy through the Department of Defense or (increasingly and) State find themselves in similar, albeit less extreme, circumstances. They must navigate the labyrinths of the US government’s massive institutions while figuring out how to use them for intended policy outcomes. Humility saves them from “whiz kid” blunders, but then what makes them effective? From both intellectual and pragmatic points of view, this course asks students to figure out how to navigate defense and diplomatic institutions, while proposing necessary reforms, for the sake of delivering on policy goals.

Despite many noble efforts, neither the US government nor the world comes with a reliable user manual. Using the tools of defense and diplomacy varies drastically based on policy area, administration, and banalities like managerial personalities. So, this course will focus on developing durable, versatile skills, like designing a simulation. To that end, we will explore a few exemplary cases in which the tensions between the Departments of Defense and State become clear, such as the United States' involvement with reconstruction after war. At the course’s end, equipped with skills, lessons learned, and a bit of theory, we will return to synthesizing lessons around defense & diplomacy as a class. 

The overriding spirit of this course is to co-create with you a valuable experience to prepare for your public service goals – feedback and recommendations are always encouraged to that end.

Course Sections

Quarter Instructor(s) Day(s) Time(s)
Spring 2018 F 9:00 AM - 11:50 AM