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National Defence College : Academic Course
About the College
Administration & Logistics
Studies and Research
THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT (NDC 3000), 3 CREDITS
This course focuses on the international aspects of security challenges, blending a look at relevant international law precepts with a practical understanding of the international context in which certain challenges arise.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to discuss and evaluate theories of international relations; analyze destabilizing factors in the region and their implications on GCC countries; evaluate the approaches and methods used to face these challenges, particularly the social and economic dimensions; and assess the significance and nature of international law and governing theories.
THE DOMESTIC CONTEXT (NDC 3001), 3 CREDITS.
The United Arab Emirates, like all nations, faces challenges in providing the best opportunities for its people to reach their potentials. This course is designed to examine public and private efforts to create and enhance competitive social and economic environments.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to describe and discuss UAE human and natural resources infrastructure; evaluate human and natural resources issues in the UAE and how they affect national security; and analyze the impact of human and natural resources issues on national security.
STRATEGY AND COMPARATIVE DEFENSE STRATEGIES (NDC 3002), 4 CREDITS.
This course examines the origins of modern strategy, using great strategic thinkers to examine the relationship between strategy and policy.
Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to discuss and evaluate the components of strategies and their application in different settings; apply elements and tools of strategy to selected case studies; and create a framework for setting up a national strategy.
STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP (NDC 3003), 2 CREDITS
This course addresses the challenges of strategic leadership. The concept of strategic leadership serves as the framework and provides underpinnings in four specific areas: (1) strategic leadership concepts; (2) strategic leader competencies; (3) organizational change; and (4) creating resilient and effective organizations. The key ideas of the course are designed to establish an understanding of environmental complexity, leader competencies and skills, meeting ethical challenges, leading change and transformation, and enhancing critical thinking.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to recognize and define aspects of leadership required at the strategic level; evaluate the strategic leadership skills (interpersonal, conceptual, and technical) necessary to sustain innovative and agile organizations in a multinational environment; and evaluate the role of strategic leadership in leading the organization through the change processes necessary to realize the strategic vision.
INSTRUMENTS OF STATE POWER: ECONOMICS (NDC 3004), 2 CREDITS
The course aims to help students examine and understand modern national economies, including potential threats and opportunities, how they are integrated into the regional and global economies, and how they may be affected by recent economic trends and international relations relating to trade. In sum, students will comprehend the importance of national economy as an element of national power/statecraft.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to evaluate theoretical and practical issues of macroeconomics and microeconomics, including national income accounts such as GDP, inflation and deflation, growth and stagnation, and regulation; explain the internal pillars of the UAE economy and how the national economy is integrated externally into the GCC and global economy, especially with respect to natural resources; analyze the potential impact of conflicts on the global economy; and analyze the uses of economic concepts for strategy.
INSTRUMENTS OF STATE POWER: DIPLOMACY (NDC 3005), 2 CREDITS
This course will enable students to apply the basic concepts of International Relations through specific case studies. Students in the course will also analyze the role of the diplomatic instrument of national power in serving national interests.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to describe, discuss and analyze major concepts of international relations, of both scholars and practitioners; apply basic concepts of diplomacy to new international situations and events; analyze the roles, tasks, and interests of international alliances and NGOs; understand the pillars of IR built on international law, including the role of military power; and understand the use of diplomatic power to achieve state goals.
INSTRUMENTS OF STATE POWER: DEFENSE COMPONENTS (NDC 3006), 2 CREDITS
This course examines defense components in the United Arab Emirates and the importance of cooperation in comprehensive national development.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to evaluate the roles of Armed Forces, Police, and Civil Defense in the UAE in the management of defense resources; identify UAE defense components and analyze their role in the comprehensive national development (including internal security and crisis and disaster management issues); synthesize a framework to evaluate defense components in a manner that serves national decision-making; and understand the participation of UAE Armed Forces in peacekeeping and humanitarian aid operations at regional and international levels.
INSTRUMENTS OF STATE POWER: INFORMATION AND CYBER ISSUES (NDC 3007), 2 CREDITS
This course examines the impact of information tools and cyber instruments on policy and strategy. In addition, this course aims to explore the impact of social media, weaknesses in cyberspace infrastructure, the challenges of managing information, and the difficulties in dealing with cyber warfare threats and activities. The course will also include an examination of the application of traditional laws of armed conflict to the new cyber domain. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to articulate a current perspective on information and information communication technologies and bring that perspective to bear to respond to future threats and opportunities. They will be able to examine and analyze issues relating to the organization of the Internet and of governments’ response(s) to information and cyber threats, and explain and discuss concepts relating to the private sector and civilian government engagement in cyberspace.
CRISIS MANAGEMENT (NDC 3008), 3 CREDITS
This course examines the general concepts of crisis management and strategic planning, based on potential threats from human intent, accidents, and natural causes. The course seeks to support students’ skills in crisis action planning, and joint action and decision-making. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to describe, discuss and evaluate theories and concepts relevant to crisis management; explain, apply and analyze nationallevel strategic planning for crises, especially in the UAE; employ available national resources at the strategic level within a coordinated planning environment; make decisions effectively in crisis situations; and work with the media effectively in crisis situations.
NATIONAL SECURITY (NDC 3009), 2 CREDITS
This course draws all other courses and themes taught at NDC together in a climactic national security capstone practical exercise. This course reviews the elements/components of strategy – ends, ways and means – and develops critical thinking skills of students. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to apply critical and strategic thinking skills to national security challenges; synthesize themes taught about how domestic, national, transnational and international factors shape policy and strategy; and demonstrate competence to orchestrate all instruments of national power (diplomatic, military, economic, and information/cyber) to resource strategy.
CONTEMPORARY ISSUES (NDC 3010), 1 CREDITS
This course is designed to examine the fundamental changes in the regional landscape, and will also discuss how global powers (the United States, European Union, Russia and China) have responded to unprecedented national and transnational developments since 2011. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to identify and evaluate current destabilizing factors and challenges to the UAE and the GCC region; and analyze contemporary controversial issues within the prevalent strategic context.
CAPSTONE PROJECT (NDC 3011), 3 CREDITS
This course balances the goals of analysis and decision-making by applying research methodologies to strategic problems.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to create a research plan using the general approach of the scientific method to evaluate a selected security issue; apply as may be useful social science research approaches to support decision-makers at different levels; understand how the choice of methods shapes the generation of knowledge for policy-making and implementation; choose effective methods for communicating findings and recommendations serving decision- and policy-making; and create a capstone project.
The major academic product of the program is designed to enable students to create a research plan to evaluate the security environment, and the behavior of actors, and security decisions; apply as may be useful social science research approaches, including quantitative and qualitative analysis, case studies, cost-benefit analysis and tools, such as concept mapping, to support decision-makers at different levels; improve effective methods for communicating findings and recommendations focused on serving decision- and policy-making; and to create a capstone project for potential government use.
STRATEGIC PRACTICUM (NDC 3012), 1 CREDIT
This course requires participants to analyze other nations' national security approaches to current issues and compare those approaches to the strategies of the UAE. During this course participants will travel internationally to meet with senior government officials, visit Ministries, Universities and Think Tanks, and evaluate the country-specific approaches they analyze for possible utility for the UAE. Prior to the travel period participants will have studied the national and regional context of the nations to be visited to understand the conditions under which those nations develop their approaches to national security. Upon completion of this course participants will brief the results of their evaluation and will have at least one of other national model or framework from which to develop approaches to national security issues during their future service.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (NDC 4001), 2 CREDITS
This course uses an ongoing case study as a heuristic to identify and critique the moral theories and legal regimes that govern the conduct of modern war. Students will be introduced to the normative principles and sources of the law of armed conflict—the lex armorum, the Lieber Code, the Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions, other treaties and customary international law relating to means and methods of warfare, and relevant domestic and international caselaw—that authorize the use of force and permit combatants to kill lawfully while at the same time protecting categories of persons and objects. Through an analysis of war objectives and of specific issues arising in the conflict, including allegations of disproportionate attacks, deliberate attacks on civilians, the use of impermissible weapons and tactics, collective punishment of civilians, destruction of cultural property and infrastructure, and violation of the rights of detainees, students will learn that the creation, interpretation, implementation, observance, and adjudication of law generally and of the law of war particularly is a political process that, like all political processes, is governed by strategic interests and considerations.
NEGOTIATIONS (NDC 4002), 2 CREDITS
This elective teaches negotiation theory and its practical application. Negotiation is one of the most important instruments in conflict resolution and is used routinely by all humans to resolve conflict and potential conflict successfully. Negotiation integrates the diplomatic and information elements of power and entails the use of these instruments to increase the information available, reduce the costs associated with decision making, discover new strategic options, identify threats and opportunities, and obtain objectives more effectively and efficiently. As such, it is a crucial tool in the strategist's arsenal. Negotiation skills are learned by understanding strategy and theory, and students will have the opportunity to experiment through classroom exercises and simulations. The class will encompass a combination of readings, discussion and in-class exercises in which students will conduct negotiations and roleplay. In-class negotiations will draw from many potential scenarios, including business transactions, international disputes, and labor and contract negotiations. Students will be evaluated based on class contribution, self and peer review and results achieved in the mock negotiations.
NATIONAL SERVICE (NDC 4003), 2 CREDITS
This course examines the history and theory of compulsory military recruitment, and then asks participants to analyze contemporary national service and compulsory military recruitment in other countries around the globe. The course begins with a survey of conscription, nationalism, democracy, and labor economics, and then examines two historical case studies with relevance for the UAE: Brazil and Switzerland. The last half of the course will consist of participant presentations on national service and compulsory military recruitment systems around the world today. Countries examined could include Finland, Russia, North Korea, Albania, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Vietnam, among others.
GCC FROM COOPERATION TO UNIFICATION (NDC 4004), 2 CREDITS
For over thirty years the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been a forum for member countries to discuss common interests and regional challenges. Based in Abu Dhabi, the GCC is of particular interest to the UAE and offers a means for the UAE to achieve its national objectives. The purpose of this elective is to provide students with an opportunity to understand and analyze the opportunities and challenges of the GCC and then assess that will be required for future union. This course will also enable participants to understand and evaluate the opportunities of the UAE within the GCC. During the course each participant will develop a short briefing on a topic of import to the GCC.
STRATEGY AND FORCE PLANNING (NDC 4005), 2 CREDITS
This course explores the resourcing of strategy into the national budget. All strategies must be executed by government entities that plan, program, develop, and execute sub-strategies to meet national interests. Today’s decisions on force planning will fundamentally influence future strategy and force posture. Done well, such decisions and choices are a powerful investment in the future, done poorly, such decisions can bankrupt a nation. This course requires participants to think about resource decisions in a strategy driven way and will require an analysis of the UAE defense posture to link strategy to requirements and acquisition decisions.
Geopolitics and the Changing International Order (NDC 4006), 2 Credits
Geography is deeply intertwined with Strategy, and any understanding of the context within which one is making or implementing strategy requires that he have some knowledge of Geopolitics. This is particularly true today, when competing forces seem to diminish and magnify the significance of geography. This course is designed to assist participants in developing an understanding of the significance of geopolitics, an ability to relate its broad lessons to the UAE’s own strategic environment, and to think strategically about how to best utilize this knowledge in pursuit of the UAE’s national interests.
The Profession of Arms (NDC 4007), 2 Credits
This course is designed to give selected participants the opportunity to study the military profession, its ethos and standards of conduct, and its role in modern society, in order to gain a better understanding of the national security environment. Participants in this course will be required to write a short paper on the profession and discuss their findings to their fellow students during weeks nine and ten of the course.
Non-traditional Strategists (NDC 4008), 2 Credits
The purpose of this course is to introduce participants to past and present non-traditional strategic leaders, largely from the Islamic world and Asia, to understand how these leaders applied or misapplied the elements of strategy to achieve their objectives. We look at range of leaders, starting with possibly the most famous strategist in the business world, and of Arab decent, Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs. We also look at the strategic approaches of H.H. Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Saladin, Khalid Ibn Waleed, Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Gandhi, Mao and former leader of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew. This elective course gives the participants an opportunity to apply models of strategy used throughout the academic year to non-traditional strategists in areas of military, economic and political aims. It also provides participants an opportunity to compare and contrast the strategic approaches of different leaders.
Topics in National Security (NDC 4010), 2 Credits
This course is designed to give selected participants the opportunity to create a guided analytical study of a current strategic problem in order to develop proposed solutions for possible implementation by government officials. Students will have to select a faculty mentor and gain the approval of the Dean of the College to enroll in this course. Once approved, the participant will develop a working thesis and a plan of research and investigation in order to analyze the issue of concern and create potential solutions; the participant will be required to write a 10-15 page policy recommendation, brief findings to the faculty mentor in week nine, and then brief the results of the study to selected faculty and staff during week ten of the elective.