Defense and Strategic Studies Major

Defense and Strategic Studies Major

Defense & Strategic Studies

Major

Defense and strategic studies gives cadets the skills to succeed anywhere. Graduates can incorporate elements of national power, civil-military relations, strategic decision-making, and theories of international relations to analyze U.S. and foreign defense strategies.

The Defense and Strategic Studies program is committed to teaching the next generation of future leaders in the Profession of Arms and as defense intellectuals in the civil sector. DSS majors are uniquely educated in the nuances of security and strategy through a rigorous interdisciplinary lens which delves deep into central issues of strategy, innovation, history, culture, the domains of war, and the elements of national power. Our Cadets not only grasp the intricacies of national power and strategic decision-making on national and international scales, but they learn to apply timely knowledge to frame complex issues, develop viable and innovative solutions, and communicate effectively to diverse audiences.

Recognizing that strategy is pivotal in any competitive environment, from businesses to militaries, this program instills the analytical mindset and methodologies necessary to develop, execute, and assess impactful strategies. By exploring the moral intricacies of conflict, the dynamics of diverse cultures, and the contemporary innovations shaping defense, our Cadets are prepared to lead across the spectrum of global challenges. Graduates emerge as warrior-scholars, poised to excel in the Army and beyond, equipped with enhanced problem-solving, communication, and decision-making capabilities for the artful application of security and strategy.

To learn more about the timely necessity and professional relevancy of this major, read the Winter 2023 West Point AOG Alumni Issue and an Army Futures Command Strategist’s MWI articles on preparing leaders for future war.

For additional details visit the Defense and Strategic Studies Program.

Required Courses

DS320 INTRO TO STRATEGIC STUDIES 

DS370 STRATEGY AND POLICY 

DS495 RESEARCH METHODS STRAT STUDIES

DS498 LEADERSHIP IN FUTURE WAR

 

Sample Electives

DS345 MILITARY INNOVATION 

DS350 PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATIONS 

DS360 SPECIAL OPERATIONS: THEORY AND PRACTICE

DS399 STRATEGIC STUDIES INTERNSHIP  

DS455 COMPARATIVE DEFENSE POLICY  

DS460 REBELLION, INSURGENCY, AND CIVIL WAR

DS475 STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING 

DS485 DOMAINS OF WAR

DS489 ADV IND STUD-DEF/STRAT STUDIES 

DS490 SPECIAL TOPICS: STRAT STUDIES 

DS496 STRATEGIC STUDIES THESIS 

DS497 STRATEGIC STUDIES CAPSTONE

 

This major offers an honors track. 

 

To learn more, view the full Defense and Strategic Studies Major Curriculum.

Cadets in this major have the opportunity to apply for a summer Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program, USMA-run academic enrichment experience with the U.S. Special Operations Command; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and others. They can also apply to join an annual staff ride to Germany over spring break to interact with British, French, and German counterparts. Finally, majors can choose to engage with peers at other elite institutions like Princeton, Yale, and New York University for crisis simulations, conferences, and symposia. 

Honor Societies:
Golden Key - International Honour Society
Phi Kappa Phi - Oldest and Largest Collegiate Honor Society

To learn more about enrichment for this area of study, visit the Department of Military Instruction, the Modern War Institute, or the West Point Simulation Center.