Required Courses (EMIR-ONLY)


PSC 783 | Comparative Foreign Policy | Tammy Schultz (Fall Term)

A survey and critique of approaches to understanding foreign policy and national security decision-making from the perspective of the practitioner who must deal with problems of individual choice, small groups, bureaucratic politics, and organizational constraints in the conduct of foreign policy. Case studies and simulations will help to provide first-hand experience in policy decision-making.

PAI 700 | Foresight, Insight, and the Fiction of National Security | Tammy Schultz (Spring Term)

While old paradigms seem to be failing us in war and peace, the creative management of national security challenges are more important than ever. We require new approaches – not reading the same, old texts, or using the same, old methodologies and theories.  It is primarily for this reason – the need for imaginative, strategic leaders – that this class uses fiction as the launching point for discussion. As the 9/11 Commission noted in their report, “The most important failure was one of imagination.” Students in this course will use fiction as a springboard will hone several key student skills including creativity, the ability to better empathize with complex situations and potential opponents, understanding unfamiliar or strange cultures in order to consider unseen challenges and potential solutions and, grappling with ambiguity, contradictions, complexity, and ambivalence – entertaining for fiction but critical when considering the real world. Perhaps most importantly, students will hone their ability to ask the right questions – a prerequisite to finding least bad options, which is increasingly their job as they move into higher leadership positions. Finally, students will emerge from this course changed readers – better able to deconstruct (and reconstruct) text, think critically about what is read, and know when, and when not to, apply these frameworks.

PAI 895 | Managerial Leadership | Joe Funderburke (Spring Term)

This Washington DC taught iteration focuses on leadership and strategy in global affairs and is a requirement for the EMIR degree. Students will establish an understanding of the schools of leadership thinking, especially current trends, to practice requisite skills, and to plan for additional learning and development through assessment and action planning. Course readings focus on leadership theory and practice and their application in the changing organizational environment in a global workplace. Case studies, simulations/exercises, and guest speakers will augment group discussion.

PAI 996 | Master's Project Course (Capstone) | Barbara Petzen (Spring Term)

A core requirement for the EMIR degree, the Capstone requires EMIR students to complete substantive research projects while embedded in one of the thematic or regional programs at CSIS. Students work directly with CSIS experts on capstone projects designed to hone and showcase their capacity for both cogent analysis of real-world problems and effective policy communication. Students will craft actionable policy analysis and recommendations on a complex issue area as well as learn how to transform their policy analysis into an online project that communicates their results with clarity, creativity, and compelling multimedia storytelling. A final oral presentation and a written report to CSIS and the faculty advisor are the major course requirements.

Elective Courses

PAI 700 | Environmental Security | Marisol Maddox

This course focuses on the role of natural resources/environment/climate change in conflict and security, including its foundational role in economic and military security, from driving conflict and migration to being used as a tool in resolving conflict and peacebuilding.

PAI 700 | Disinformation and Influence in the Digital Age | Nina Jankowicz  Disinformation has always been a tactic of political and social influence, but the advent of social media and targeted advertising has increased its potency and efficacy. How are nation states and domestic actors using online disinformation to shore up power and profit, and how can policymakers address this threat to democracy while keeping its values intact? This course will examine the elements of foreign policy, tech policy and regulation, changes in the media environment, and government responses that affect digital disinformation and its success, and equip students to critically observe and analyze this fast-changing sphere. Students will engage in seminar style discussions, meet with policymakers handling these key issues, and have some hands-on time to better understand the dynamics driving disinformation. 

PAI 700 | 21st Century Strategy | Sean McFate

Effective 21st century strategy is not a product of new technology but high strategic IQ, and this course builds the foundation to accomplish it. You will consider the concept of strategy and how it differs from tactics, bureaucracy, and academic theory and why failure to do this ends up with ruinous effect — as evidenced in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. You will examine universal strategies for the strong, the weak and most things in between. We will consider the ideas of Sun Tzu, Kautilya, Jomini, Clausewitz, Mao, T.E. Lawrence, Galula and other scholar-practitioners. Seminars will be augmented by simulations and guest speakers and will provide students not just that they would gain at the national war colleges but go sufficiently deep to ensure students will understand what it would take to fight and win 21st century conflicts. 

PAI 700 | Assessing Strategic Risks and Trends in the National Security Context | Kris Patel

This course will provide graduate students with a structured analytic approach to assess national security and foreign policy risks and trends. The course will use case studies and hands-on exercises to demonstrate the practical application of fundamental structured analytic techniques and the use of diverse information sets to policymaking and resource decision-making. These techniques are used by strategic planners in leading global intelligence organizations, national security bureaucracies, multinational corporations, and non-governmental organizations as part of their strategic foresight and scenario generation activities. 

PAI 700 | Conflict and Migration | Stephen Lennon

This course will explore the juncture of migration and conflict. Using a case-study approach the course will delve into several recent conflicts that have had migration emergencies significant enough to have international impact. These will include the recent and persistent conflict in Syria, the end of conflict in Afghanistan, the migration challenge in Central America, and migration in the Sahel toward Europe. This course will also consider migration challenges from a U.S. perspective and provide students opportunities consider the laws, history, and rationale behind U.S. immigration policy. The course will be telescopic, focusing first on older migrations while quickly turning to more recent and even current events.   

PAI 700 | Economic Statecraft | Danica Starks

As the crisis in Ukraine makes clear, some national security challenges require the adept use of the tools of economic statecraft. This course examines the mechanisms, operations, and outcomes of these economic tools. The course focuses on tools designed to coerce change and those offered as incentives and positive inducements. Case studies may also address trade barriers and preferences, financial sanctions, export controls and investment restrictions, foreign lending, and development aid.

PAI 700 | Global Energy and Geopolitics (3 credit January seminar) | William Hederman

Understanding international relations requires an appreciation for the international dynamics of energy and closely related environmental issues. This course provides students with the essential information and tools to help analyze a broad range of energy and environmental matters from an international policy perspective.

PAI 700 | Global Supply Chains for Sustainability:  Implications for Corporations, National Security and the Environment (3 credit January seminar) | Jay Golden

This course is focused on developing an understanding of the dynamics at play and strategies that both public and private organizations are enacting to minimize risks and unintended consequences during a rapid transition towards a new generation of energy, sustainable technologies, and organizational strategies. In addition to interactive lectures, students will engage with invited thought-leaders, work through case studies and be part of a project team working on an applied final project focused on the implications for an economic region, resource, or technology.

PAI 700 | Humanitarian Actions: Challenges, Responses, Results | TBD

Via case studies and a review of relevant readings, assess major humanitarian challenges worldwide since 1992. Disasters caused by nature and man: conflicts and major economic stress. Challenges for women, children, refugees, displaced people. Involvement of government, UN agencies, NGO’s, militaries, donors, press, and others.

PAI 700 | Navigating the National Security Bureaucracy | Hon. Ryan McCarthy

This course, taught by former Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, will use case studies to examine the complexities of policy formulation and implementation in the national security establishment with a special focus on the Department of Defense. Considerations such as organizational culture, personality, as well as bureaucratic politics will be examined.

PAI 700 | Transatlantic Relations in a Multipolar World | Michael Williams

The Transatlantic Relationship, formally embodied in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has been a cornerstone of international security since the end of the Second World War, ensuring that a war between the Soviet Union and the United States did not occur. It helped to pacify postwar Europe, reduce fear amongst European states, enabled European integration and the eventual development of the European Union (EU. This seminar explores the historic foundations of NATO and its post-Cold War role helping the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe. Students will also dissect current issues such as the challenge from Putin’s Russia, rising illiberalism in Europe, populism in the US and EU, migration pressures, defense industrial issues, terrorism, and the role of China. The course finishes by exploring possible future developments of what has been known as the “most successful alliance in history” in an emergent era of multipolarity.

PAI 700 | US Challenges in the Middle East | Jon Alterman

This course will explore historical, current, and anticipated future US security challenges in the Middle East, exploring how policy makers have understood and understand threats and their options to address them. We will analyze how the US sets goals for its regional actions, how its actions in the Middle East fit into a broader global strategy, and how different global contexts shape different US responses. This course will have a policy focus and writing assignments will develop the ability to write short, forceful, and effective memoranda. 

HST 700| A Usable Past: Policymakers and the Lessons of History | Jason Steinhauer 

Can history really help us avoid the mistakes the past? This course offers a practical framework for how to integrate history into policymaking—and the perils, pitfalls and opportunities of doing so. From Congress to The White House, federal agencies to European Union member states, this course uses a series of modules, case studies and group exercises to understand how history has been, and can be, applied in meaningful ways to pressing policy questions; how to do so ethically and responsibly; and how to avoid pitfalls and shortcomings such as oversimplification, partisanship and misinformation and disinformation. Over the duration of the class, students will explore policymaking through a historical lens, engage in group reading and discussion exercises, and hear from an array of expert practitioners on how to formulate better national, regional and local policy agendas by utilizing historical thinking, historical sources, and historical research skills.

PAI 700/PSC 759| Challenges in Crisis and Disaster Management | Instructor TBD 

Crises and disasters are unwelcome but also unavoidable features of modern society.  They can emerge within any domain, may be of human or of natural origin, and can last anywhere from hours, to days, to months and beyond. While sometimes the crisis itself is the undoing of an organization or society, it is the way that we respond to crises that often makes the difference between catastrophe and resilience.  This course will examine the dynamics and processes that occur as policymakers, public administrators, first responders, and citizens work to cope with crisis and disaster situations. We will identify the reasons why crises and disasters are so difficult to deal with as well as identify skills and practices that have proven to be effective in forecasting, preparing for, managing, communicating about, and learning from crises. A wide range of crises will be examined across the course including: humanitarian emergencies, terrorism, natural disasters, industrial accidents, financial crises, and foreign policy dilemmas. The workshop is dynamic, offering a combination of seminars, group exercises, and site visits. The course will be led by specialists and practitioners in the field.

PAI 700 | Current Policy Issues in US-Latin American Relations | Philip French 

This seminar in Washington introduces students to the contemporary relationship between the U.S. and Latin America, offering the opportunity to discuss US policy in the region with current and former government officials, scholars, and non-governmental organization representatives. Beginning with an historical foundation from assigned readings, class lectures and discussions will focus on current policy issues:  Is U.S. policy interventionist or neglectful?  How are current populist trends different than those of the 20th century?  How do U.S. narcotics, terrorism, trade and immigration policies shape relations with Mexico and Latin America’s perception of the U.S. under the current administration?  What can/should the U.S. do to promote stability in Venezuela, or security and prosperity in Bolivia, Haiti, and Central America?  What are China’s interests in the region, and how should the U.S. respond?  Can the region escape the boom-and-bust cycle of commodity-based economies? Students will discuss and challenge common approaches and assumptions, address major themes and current events, and explore possible responses to social and political change.  

PAI 708 | Issues in Public Diplomacy | Nayyera Haq and Michael Schneider

This course will provide a deep dive into the origins of information statecraft and explore case studies to provide a detailed understanding of the scope, sophistication, and significance of the geopolitics of information. Building on key theoretical models, including markets for loyalties, networks, and game theory, this course will provide an analytic framework for understanding the range of information statecraft activities, as well as the key variables likely to influence the success or failure of a public diplomacy campaign or program. Monitoring and evaluation techniques and best practices will also be covered, as well as the foundations of digital analytics and metrics. Classes will feature occasional guest speakers from the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the NGO community. At the end of the course, students will be subject matter experts on public diplomacy and global media strategy, the information statecraft toolkit, and the significance of these tools and tactics in international affairs.

PAI 715 | African Conflicts: Causes and Consequences | Michael Shurkin

This course will be an overview of security issues from African and global perspectives. The course will begin with a historical look at colonial powers in Africa, the dynamics of the Cold War and how it shaped the wars of decolonization and the establishment of African liberation movements. The course will then address the fate of the post-colonial states and the emergence of US security assistance after the end of the Cold War as well as the emergence of transnational threats in the region.

PAI 715 | China's Challenge to the Global Order | Robert Daly

This master’s seminar focuses on contemporary challenges to the global order posed by China’s growing economic and political power. The course charts China’s reform and opening, its development and integration into the global economy, and the challenges created for Western economic and security institutions and alliances. Specific topic areas covered include China’s non-market status and trade conflict, competition for technological leadership, ICT governance and standard setting, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the implications of China’s South China Sea activity. The course will combine extensive background readings, lectures, and discussion. Students will benefit from frequent guest lectures and discussions with experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

PAI 715 | Climate Change, Security, and Global Development | Melinda Kimble

This course will consider climate change as a “risk amplifier” and a national security challenge especially given its impact on food security, water access, and community displacement. Additionally, students will consider how great power competition and even the hard science of climate change may impact national security policy. Finally, students will examine how planetary changes require transforming the energy sector, redesigning our infrastructure, economic and political systems and how local, national, and international governance might respond to the profound changes ahead.

PAI 715 | From Fragility to Resilience: New Approaches to Global Development | Kevin Melton and Julie Werbel

While some countries move up the development ladder on the way to greater economic growth and stability, others struggle with cyclical fragility and the negative repercussions that come with it. The path from fragility to resilience is rarely linear, requiring a mix of security, stabilization, humanitarian aid, and development assistance. This course will look at causes of fragility and examine the non-kinetic tools deployed in fragile states, especially their utility and effectiveness in specific country and regional cases. Primarily discussion-based, the course will also include regular guest speakers who are regional experts and/or practitioners.

PAI 715 | The Frontier of Finance: Digital Currencies, Security, & Development| Bejoy DasGupta

This course will focus on how the global financial revolution underway, the Fintech revolution, can help lead to sustained, inclusive and strong growth and enhance security, as elaborated in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The course will explore cutting edge themes at the intersection of finance, technology, policy, development, and security, as well as cross-border dimensions to include the challenges posed by Cryptocurrencies. It will not be narrowly focused on technology, and is appropriate for students pursuing development, economic and security fields.

PAI 715 | Politics, Power, and Global Sport| Jeff Gonda

This seminar explores the intersections of sports, politics, and society in an international context. Combining examinations of contemporary topics and historical case studies, the course addresses the enduring and complex links between sport and major issues in global affairs including cultural diplomacy, nationalism, and human rights.

PAI 715 | Strategic Foresight for International Relations | James-Christian Blockwood

This course will provide graduate students with a structured approach to thinking about the future of the international environment. It is a foundation in qualitative foresight methodologies with direct application to national or organizational strategic planning. It also provides a tour du horizon of the global trends shaping the world 10-20 years into the future and beyond. Through real-world case studies and classroom exercises, the course exposes students to the practical application of foresight methodologies to policymaking and resource decision-making. These methodologies are routinely used by strategic planners in leading global intelligence organizations, national security ministries, multinational corporations, and non-governmental organizations. Strategic foresight is an under-appreciated “hard” international relations skillset, particularly useful in navigating the profound global transitions underway that affect risk and competitiveness for countries, companies, and individuals.

PAI 715 | International Trade & Economic Negotiation | Paul Fekete and Bennett Caplan

This course looks at a variety of different types of negotiations concerning economic issues, including multilateral trade and investment negotiations, bi- and pluri- lateral trade negotiations, and negotiations aimed at the settlement of specific disputes. We will discuss the influence of domestic politics, and the role of international organizations and non-governmental stakeholders such as NGOs, labor, multinational corporations, and domestic interest groups. The course is particularly useful for those considering careers in international trade, business, markets and finance.

PAI 730 | Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy | James Baker

Using case studies, this course examines critically the hardest U.S. national security law and policy challenges of the decades ahead. Cases range from decisions to intervene and what laws apply if the US intervenes in humanitarian crises, insurrections, or civil wars, and what laws should govern when we are involved; the Arab Spring; dealing with Iran and North Korea related to nuclear weapons; anticipating and controlling new technologies in warfare and surveillance; managing civil/military relations in protecting the homeland; countering the cyber threats to our infrastructure and cyber-attacks waged by nation states, such as China and Russia; managing public health as a national security issue; and resource depletion and global warming as a national security issue. Students will learn to integrate legal and policy analyses and will gain lessons in how policy is made and implemented with significant legal guidance. 

PAI 771 | Public Management of Technological Development (3 credit January seminar) | Sean O'Keefe

This course provides a survey of major public policy influences on the formulation and implementation of commercial technology and innovation strategies including regulation, public financing, grants, and other support managed by public agencies. Students will consider drivers of productivity enhancement and improved service delivery as well as imperatives for innovation change as well as how public policy and public management practices can either facilitate or deter market incentives to achieve the objectives. For aspiring business managers and technical professionals in engineering or information systems, this course will provide a perspective of the applications of public policy and public management practices and will offer constructive avenues on how government actions on behalf of the public may be anticipated.

PSC 786 | Russian and Post-Soviet Politics | Brian Taylor 

This course is a graduate-level survey of the major issues in contemporary politics in the post-Soviet region in general, and Russia in particular. The seminar will very briefly examine the pre-Soviet and Soviet period, but the primary focus of the course is on developments since 1991. Topics to be examined include the Soviet collapse and transition, the nature of Putinism as a political and economic system, and Russian foreign and security policy, including US-Russian relations and the Russo-Ukraine War.  We will meet with multiple guests from the DC area community of Russia and Ukraine scholars and practitioners.  

PAI 715 | The Emerging Challenge of Disruptive Technologies| Andrew Whiskeyman

This course will examine how disruptive technology may impact a nation’s approach toward its use of diplomacy, information, military, and economic power to advance national objectives. Students will investigate key concepts and impediments to the adoption of technology by organizations and individuals, make educated predictions regarding the role technology could play in competition in the international arena, and assess ethical factors involved in the use of technology, both old and new.

PAI 715: Congress and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy | David McKean and David Wade 

This course will examine the role that the United States Congress plays in the making of U.S. foreign policy whether as partners or adversaries with the White House and other Executive Branch agencies. Using historical and current case studies, this course will examine the sources and conduct as well as the actual process of making foreign policy to include addressing the political and bureaucratic dynamics shaping those decisions. Students will examine direct and indirect ways by which Congress impacts U.S. foreign policy action including the appointments clause, the approval of treaties, the authorization, and appropriations processes as well as through oversight and investigations. Students will examine current tensions and frictions between the branches and how that impacts the way the U.S. addresses contemporary challenges. The course will include short lectures, extensive seminar discussion, and will involve significant interaction with guest speakers who have experience addressing the issues raised during the course.

Hybrid / Online


PAI 738 | US Intelligence Community: Governance and Practice | Robert Murrett

This course examines the evolution of the US Intelligence Community since its inception in 1947 through the present day. Key phases and specific events will be explored, including efforts during the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam Conflict, the Church Committee, the Balkans Conflict, pre- and post-9/11 operations, the 9/11 and WMD Commissions and the legislative overhaul mandated by Congress in 2004.  The course also will review governance and oversight of the intelligence community and students will study the functional elements of intelligence tradecraft (human intelligence, signals intelligence, imagery analysis, etc.), and engagement with international counterparts. Students will evaluate case studies, provide briefings, to better understand analysis and  intelligence-driven decision-making processes to support policy and operations.

PAI 739 | US Defense Strategy, Resources, & Military Operations | Robert Murrett

This course will examine the Defense Strategy of the U.S. and its allies, and its implementation by military forces with emphasis on events from 2001 to the present. Students will study national-level strategic guidance from the National Command Authority and evaluate how national security is carried out by the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commanders, Military Services and subordinate units.  International security dynamics and military posture related to terrorism and proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass effect will also be examined.  Students will participate in specific case studies of planning and execution of the full range of combat and other operations by U.S. and allied forces. 

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