Intelligence and National Security

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 2:00 - 5:00 pm SRH 3.124


Same as LAW 397S, SMNR: Intelligence & National Security. This is an LBJ School course, cross-listed with the Law School.

This course seeks to provide a foundational understanding of the U.S. national security and intelligence system.  The course begins with how the U.S. national security system is structured, to include the critical role intelligence collection plays within that bureaucratic system.  The remainder of the course focuses on the structure of the Intelligence Community (IC) while probing deeper into the areas of what intelligence is, how intelligence is used, and lessons learns from both the successes and failures of intelligence in major U.S. security events.  The seminar weaves historic cases with current events to generate critical thinking and thoughtful discussion about the use and misuse of intelligence both in policy formulation and how policies are executed within the realities of a government bureaucratic structure.

The seminar will introduce studies to the elements of intelligence, to include collection and analysis, along with the case studies to demonstrate how intelligence was used with varying degrees of success.  Students with thus be introduced to the variety of intelligence disciplines (HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, and so on) as part of the policy decision-making process.  Along with the intelligence disciplines, students will receive instruction on critical intelligence areas that include covert action and counterintelligence/counterespionage.  In addition, the course will include the moral and ethical dilemmas associated with all facets of intelligence in a democratic system of government, to include the balance of civil liberties with collection efforts and the need for secrecy in an open society.  These dilemmas will be accompanied by discussions about IC oversight mechanisms, to include a retrospective look at why stricter oversight came into being and why some of those oversight restrictions were reversed or reduced because of increasingly complex security concerns.

Course objectives include:

  • Sharpen critical thinking and analytic skills
  • Polish professional writing skills
  • Practice professional briefings
  • Practice teamwork in a context of mutual dependence
  • Employ research skills to acquire a deeper understanding of an issue related to intelligence and national security.