Fall 2021 - 61085 - PA 388L - Advanced Topics in Management

Policy Making/leadership

CLASS DATES: Oct. 18-22, Oct. 25-29, Nov. 9-12

Course Objectives

The purpose of the course is to expose students to contemporary policy challenges in the national security arena and, in doing so, provide the student a framework for making future decisions across the entire public policy spectrum. You will be exposed to a variety of geopolitical scenarios and working in conjunction with a “national security team” you will develop a list of options for government leaders. The course goes beyond the theoretical and analytical to understanding exactly how national security policy is made in the most complex and politically sensitive environments. In the scenarios, you will be confronted with the challenges of whether to conduct a drone strike in a denied area, address the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons in North Korea, how to address China’s build-up in the South China Sea, whether to intervene in a potential Global contagion and several other current international problems. You will learn to understand the implications of U.S. actions on both international and domestic policy. Throughout the course we will also examine the role of leadership in policy making.

Learning Objectives

During the course you will develop an understanding of the following:

The roles and responsibilities of the national security policy makers.
Current threats facing the United States.
How to develop options for dealing with these threats.
How to make decisions in a complex, high risk, high threat environment.
The impact of your decisions on international and domestic policy.
The fundamentals of leadership under pressure.
Briefing techniques used in the White House Situation Room and the Pentagon Tank

Through the seminar we will have several guest speakers either in person or by videoconference that have extensive experience in policy making and can provide a further understanding of the complex nature of the process. In addition to the weekly scenario discussions, the class will also discuss the role of leadership, from small teams to large highly complex organizations.

Student Assessment and Assignments

Class Participation (50%) — Students must participate in all classroom discussions and provide well informed, concise, and relevant comments. Reading and understanding all preparatory readings provides a basic understanding of material to be covered in class and Students should map potential discussion points they believe will be relevant.

Potential questions that will help guide students as specific policies are exercised:

What national security policy should the United States pursue and why?
How can the President and her/his administration optimize the security of the United States through pursuing a specific policy position?
How would the policy position impact United States national security policy; should the President agree/disagree with the policy position?
What can the President and her/his administration expect to achieve because of this policy position?

Team Paper/Briefing (20%) — Reinforcing the need for teamwork within policy development, groups of 4-5 students will be designated to provide a Policy Brief (no more than 10 slides) with relevant Policy Point papers (1 or 2 pages). This final briefing is designed to exercise a theoretical White House Situation Room policy decision brief to the President of the United States. Members of the team will be designated as specific members of the National Security Council and will be required to present a policy decision that includes briefing slides/materials and a policy point paper. Individual role players must know the role of the position they will play, have clear and concise talking points, and show a full grasp of the situation and policy problem. Student teams must be prepared to discuss, and answer questions related to the policy implications for diplomacy, intelligence, military operations, and economics.

Individual Policy Point Paper (30%) — Students will provide a 1-2-page National Security Policy Point paper that recommends a position to be taken on a specific national level, executive branch policy problem. The policy point paper must lay out a clear and precise executive branch policy problem, account for national level impacts (international/domestic) and recommend a position the President should take. Students must select contemporary real-world policy problems and nominate them to the Professor no later than 5 p.m., September 3, 2020.

The national security policy point papers and team briefings will be judged by the following criteria:

Quality of information used to substantiate the policy recommendation
Analytical insight and rigor used to render recommendations
Understanding of the policy point

Paper Grading Criteria

A range: The policy point is clear, engaging, and focused; ideas and content are richly developed with details and examples. Supporting points clearly and distinctly address the policy point. Organization and form enhance the central policy point and theme; ideas are presented coherently to move the reader through the text.

B range: The policy point is reasonably clear, focused, and well supported; ideas are adequately developed through details and description. Organization and form are appropriate, and ideas are generally presented coherently.

C range: The policy point has some focus and support; ideas and content are developed with limited details and explanation. The writing may be somewhat disorganized or too obviously structured. The voice of the writer is generally absent; basic sentence structure and limited vocabulary convey a simple message.

D range: The policy point has little focus and development; few details and has unclear or disconnected supporting ideas and content. There is little discernible shape and no direction.


Class Preparatory Material

Students are required to read and understand the below material prior to the first day of class. These select readings are designed to provide students with the basic understanding of policy recommendation and decision making at the National Executive level. While not an all-encompassing list, it is recommended students conduct additional preparation on relevant articles and academic writings pertaining to the seven points laid out in the “Course Objectives” paragraph above.

In order for students to take part in the required exercises, each student must register as a STUDENT on the Council on Foreign Relations website located at the following link- Model Diplomacy Registration. Students must select the “I am a Student” link to register.

After the student has registered, send a notification and an email address of your choice (preferably your UT student address) to mgill@utexas.edu and the students will be placed in the individual scenarios.

National Security Presidential Memorandum – 4; Organization of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Subcommittees

Students should review the CFR Model Diplomacy NSS Roles and Responsibilities Yale Journal: Policy Making during risk and uncertainty

National Defense University: The NCS Staff; New choices for a new administration

Center for Strategic & International Studies: The NSC at 70; charting the future of America’s security (youtube video)



Instruction Mode