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Summer 2 2010 - 94320 - PA383C - Politics and Process

Defense Policy

Instructor(s): Dorn, Edwin
Unique Number: 94320
Day & Time: TTh 6:00 - 9:45 pm
Room: SRH 3.220
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

This course acquaints students with how public policy develops and is adopted in the American governmental system. It is normally taken during the first year. The course helps students understand the different settings in which policy develops and the factors that influence its development. Each section of the course uses different substantive policy concerns such as international affairs, social policy, community engagement, and resource and environmental regulation to explore how individuals and institutions initiate and/or give legitimacy to public policy, including the executive and legislative branches, the courts, interest groups, and individual citizens. The course also covers the dynamics of the policy process by focusing on the roles of and relationships among various levels of government and the concepts and models used to describe these aspects of policy development. The roles of ideas, concepts, and formal methods of analysis in policy development are discussed. Reading assignments and class discussion focus on case studies, legislative hearings, policy-issue briefs, court decisions, and theoretical works which highlight and explain the development of particular public policies.

Section Description

The Department of Defense is a large, complex, and highly consequential enterprise: it spends more than $400 billion annually and employs more than three million people, and its activities have huge domestic and international ramifications. Because of the length of time needed to train leaders, develop new doctrines and acquire new equipment, DoD also plans far ahead. This graduate level seminar focuses on the processes by which national security strategy is translated into defense programs. The goals of the courts are to (a) enable graduates who take defense-related jobs to orient themselves inside the national security establishment, whether they are working in the Pentagon, at OMB or on Congressional staff; and (b) to use the Department of Defense (DoD) as an example of the way in which policies are developed and implemented.

Course Outline: The course will follow a logical progression from the articulation of national security strategy through decisions about DoD organization and resources. Because most students probably will not be familiar with the military, the seminar will begin with an overview of military terms and organizing principles. Students will read some of the basic documents that shape defense policy, e.g., the Presidentís National Security Strategy and the Secretaryís Quadriennial Defense Review. The course will be divided into several parts.

  1. The basics. Organization, rank structure, the difference between war fighters and resource providers.
  2. National security strategy. Who writes it, what influences it.
  3. National military strategy. Threat-based versus capability-based approaches.
  4. Budgeting for defense. Who writes the guidance, who develops the numbers, who sits at the table, and who makes the decisions.
  5. Human resources. Recruitment, training, pay and benefits; the tradeoff between civilian and military personnel; controversies over who should serve in the all volunteer force.
  6. Preparing for the future. Anticipating threats, redefining roles and missions.

Course Requirements and Expectations: Students will be expected to contribute to class discussions, write short memos, pass an examination about defense ìbasicsî, and write one research paper or book review.

  1. Class attendance and participation - 20%
  2. Two memos (2 to 4 pages) - 20%
  3. Mid-term examination - 30%
  4. Research paper or book review (10 to 20 pages) - 30%

Class Size: up to 15