Defense Policy

Course Number: 470.632.51


The Johns Hopkins University

1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20036


Graded components

Course grading

Class schedule (including semester-specific information)

Class syllabus (independent of semester)

Reading Materials


Distance Learning

This course will be offered via distance learning technology. Beyond the general requirements below, distance learning imposes additional requirements on students and teacher. A high degree of interaction is a must. This is not a self-paced course.


Course Description

The Cold War ended abruptly with a military force structure sized and shaped for industrial-age warfare between two great power alliances. The conventional force demonstrated its overwhelming potency in the Gulf War (1990-1991). But presidents quickly turned to interventions into intrastate conflicts with opponents who lacked conventional forces. The force was required to transform itself in the field rather than through the deliberate force development process developed during the Cold War. As two long, costly wars draw down, the question remains of what military force structure will be required to underwrite future national security strategies. The course pays particular attention to the character, organization, and equipment of the uniformed services, the civilian leadership in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the senior uniformed leadership in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and congressional and executive office participation in the budget process. The course will be driven by national security strategy alternatives. Course materials respond to current events when possible.


Course Objectives

Students are expected to leave the course with an understanding of the principal organizations of the Defense Department and their functions, the related offices of the executive and legislative branches, the dominant processes governing the use and the production of military force, and why the system is what it is. Students are expected to leave the course with the ability to enter into an informed debate on defense policy. A second category of objective is to ensure that students can use the University's electronic research resources and are familiar with the journals and web resources relevant to the Defense Department.


Course Requirements

Students are required to undertake considerable reading each week and are expected to attend online and participate in class discussions. The principal output of the class is a paper that addresses a specific issue related to the United Nations. The primary inputs include a textbook and selected articles from scholarly journals. Each student is expected to contribute to class discussion.


Attendance Requirements

Attendance is taken week-by-week. To be in attendance during a week, you must meet two requirements: (1) you must post at least one message to any of the class discussions on four different days during each week, and (2) you must remain engaged throughout the semester. If you miss any two weeks of attendance, you will be withdrawn and will not be eligible to earn a grade. Any message you post in discussions will count towards the attendance requirement regardless of its quality. Attendance is not a graded activity. Weeks end at midnight Tuesday EST and the new week begins Wednesday morning. EST is chosen because most students are in the DC area. Some students, however, are posted around the world, and the instructor is CST.


JHU Ethics Statement

The strength of the university depends on academic and personal integrity. In this course, you must be honest and truthful. Ethical violations include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition. Report any violations you witness to the instructor.


Course Contact Information

Professor: D. Robert Worley, Ph.D.

Reception: 202-452-1280

Web Page: Sakai login, Independent backup site

Office Hours: Email is the most reliable way to contact me. If you need voice contact, please make an appointment via email for a telephone call. I can generally arrange to be available from 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM EST during the week and on weekends.


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