Defense and Strategic Studies Major

Defense and Strategic Studies Major

Defense & Strategic Studies

Major

Defense and strategic studies majors learn to holistically frame complex strategic problems, develop viable and innovative solutions, and communicate effectively to multiple audiences.

Defense and strategic studies majors draw upon military science, history, economics, political science, geography, leadership, information technology, and law to understand the nature of war and the military instrument of national power. Using a foundation in strategic theory and historical case studies, cadets examine issues relating to the different levels of conflict, military decision-making, defense policy, and changes in warfare. Majors can choose from one of three curricular tracks, each with an optional honors program. 

 

To learn more about this area of study, visit the Department of Military Instruction.

Irregular Warfare Track

The irregular warfare track requires cadets to take two electives. One of these electives is focused on special operations and low-intensity conflict and the other is focused on insurgency and counter insurgency.  

 

Joint Warfare Track

The joint warfare track requires cadets to take two electives. One elective focuses on strategic decision making and the other focuses on sea and air power.  

 

Counterterrorism Track

The counterterrorism track requires cadets to take two electives focused on counterterrorism.  

Required Courses

DS320 INTRO TO STRATEGIC STUDIES 

DS370 STRATEGY AND POLICY 

DS495 RESEARCH METHODS STRAT STUDIES

 

Sample Electives

DS345 MILITARY INNOVATION 

DS350 PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATIONS 

DS360 SP OPNS/LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT 

DS399 STRATEGIC STUDIES INTERNSHIP  

DS455 COMPARATIVE DEFENSE POLICY  

DS460 INSURGENCY & COUNTERINSURGENCY 

DS475 STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING 

DS485 SEA AND AIR POWER 

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. 

 

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.