International Security and Intelligence: Twenty-First Century Perspectives on Intelligence and Contemporary Threats

The International Security and Intelligence Program offers a unique opportunity to study with leading academics and practitioners. Students will explore the role of the intelligence and security agencies, applying their enduring principles to cutting-edge problems. Students will consider the claims of state secrecy, the threat of nuclear proliferation, of cyber attack, of terrorism, the problems generated by the demand for regional security and the security aspects of revolutions and governing diversity. Intelligence collection, analysis of the product, and its dissemination to customers remain at the core of the intelligence cycle. Counterintelligence and covert action play more opaque but still vital roles at the heart of the nation state. Understanding these perspectives, what intelligence can achieve, but also its limitations, are major course themes.

Students attend all lectures and will be able to specialize in one of two tracks on the course, either on intelligence or contemporary threats and issues. Within their chosen path students will explore issues in greater depth while also working towards an essay. The intelligence track will concentrate on issues to do with cyber security, terrorism, proliferation, national approaches to intelligence, oversight and accountability, using a variety of historical and contemporary case-studies as illustration. The contemporary threats track will focus on current affairs in the Middle East, Africa, America and Europe, on failed and failing states, energy security, revolutions and the issues surrounding governing diversity.

Setting the tone and direction of the program will be a series of outstanding guest lecturers covering a broad spectrum of contemporary intelligence and security challenges. Speakers in recent years have included the former Director-General of MI5, Chief of MI6, Director of GCHQ, Chief Judge to the Appeals Court of the United States Armed Forces, and the Deputy Director of Operations in the CIA.

The panoply of threats facing Western democracies is diverse and the issues which preoccupy the highest levels of government will be discussed and analyzed. With its emphasis on contemporary and future challenges and practice, this is a course which will appeal to those with an academic or professional interest in intelligence and contemporary threats.


Plenary Lectures

Setting the tone and direction of the program will be a series of outstanding plenary lectures covering a broad spectrum of contemporary intelligence and security challenges.

2016 Plenary Lecturers

  • Sir Richard Dearlove
  • Mr. James Pavitt
  • Professor Stefan Halper
  • Professor Michael Goodman
    More to come…

Key Theme Lectures and Seminars

The Lecture portion of the program splits the group into two tracks and begins to focus on more specific topics within the scope of the plenary lectures. Each track will be comprised of eight lectures of 75 minutes, allowing time for questions and discussion. All participants attend both tracks.

Intelligence Track with Professor Michael Goodman

  • The History of Intelligence
  • The British approach to intelligence
  • The Historical Roots of Intelligence in the Cyber Era
  • Terrorism and Intelligence
  • WMD Proliferation and Intelligence
  • Intelligence Oversight
  • Intelligence Liaison
  • Case Studies in Intelligence History

Contemporary Threats Track with Dr. Renad Mansour

  • Revolutions: the Nature and Causes of Political Change
  • Failed and failing states in Africa
  • Islam and Politics in the Middle East
  • The Future of Salafi-Jihadist Movements: The Islamic State versus the Al-Qaeda Model
  • US Foreign Policy in the Post Cold War Era
  • Russian Foreign Policy in Eastern Europe
  • The Migration “Crisis” and the Problem of Borders in Europe
  • The Energy-Security Question

Key Theme Seminars – Specialization

Each track will have two attached seminar groups with a maximum of 12 in any group.

Specialization: Participants will sign up for a seminar group in the track that most interests them. There will be eight sessions of one hour for each group.
In these groups:

  • Students will choose a title for an extended essay either from a list provided by the instructor or of their own devising by agreement with the instructor;
  • Key themes from the lectures will be further explored;
  • And there will be discussion of how to research and write an extended essay and feed-back as each student develops her or his research and writing.

Assessment and Credit

The program consists of a minimum of 40 hours’ contact time and assessment will be based on a 4,000-word research essay produced during the program and submitted within a week of the program ending. All participants will receive a transcript showing a single Mount St. Mary’s University grade for the program together with grading guidance notes.
While it is ultimately for participants’ home institutions to determine the amount of academic credit to be awarded, as a guide it is recommended that completion of the program can be considered as equivalent to completing 3 credits.

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