PSCI 3191 National Security Organization and Policy Making

About the Course

Analyzes how the American governmental and political system is structured to define, select, and implement national security policies. Examines roles of the president, Congress, bureaucracy, interest groups, and other actors. Prereq., PSCI 1101.


  1. Identify US national interests and values.
  2. Describe the history of US national Security.
  3. Define the key elements of the current security environment.
  4. Name the significant actors in security policy and explain how they interact.
  5. Examine the influence of domestic politics and interests on security policy and be able to demonstrate this influence for a specific group.
  6. Examine the new security challenges and explain the effect on national security policy.
  7. Explain the long-term security issues facing the United States and compare them to earlier threats.

Grade Breakdown

  • Module exams (5) – 75 points
    • Worth 15 points each
    • Contain 3 short paragraph essays
    • You will have 1 hour for each
  • Staff Study – 15 points
  • On-line participation – 10 points

Total 100 points

Required Text

Sarkesian, Sam C.; John Allen Williams, and Stephen J. Cimbala. 2013. US National Security: Policymakers, Processes, and Politics, 5th Edition. Boulder, CO.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Snow, Donald. 2011. National Security for a New Era, 4th Edition. New York: Pearson-Longman.

Instructor Contact


I am a member of the political science faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder and regularly teach courses in conflict and security studies. While my Bachelor’s degree was a concentration in engineering, my masters’ are in managerial science from Troy State University, and international relations from Salve Regina University. My Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder focused on political psychology and foreign policy decision making.

After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy, my military career included assignments as an operations officer from brigade to theater Army level in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. My final assignment was as a Senior Plans and Policy analyst at Headquarters, US Army Europe where I dealt with issues related to the end of the Cold War including political violence and force transition. Additionally, I was an analyst on a number of special study groups including the Defense Department’s Joint Low Intensity Conflict Study Group, the Army War College’s Living Expert System (Senior Leader Decision Support System) Concept Study Group, and the Military Forces in Preventive Diplomacy Study Group.

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado