Defense Analysis (DA) Curricula
The Department of Defense Analysis is home to two very unique and highly respected graduate programs: 1) the USSOCOM-sponsored Special Operations and Irregular Warfare (SO/IW) program, and 2) the USDP-sponsored Information Strategy and Political Warfare curriculum. Both programs feature an interdisciplinary faculty representing a wide range of academic and operational specialties.
The Information Warfare & Political Strategy curriculum focuses on the strategic and operational dimensions of information—relative to the use of force—as an instrument of statecraft. Graduates will be able to develop information strategies to support military action by taking advantage of information technology, exploiting the growing worldwide dependence on automated information systems, and capitalizing on the near real time global dissemination of information to affect an adversary's decision cycles—all with the goal of achieving information superiority. This capability is dependent upon students acquiring a thorough understanding of the enduring nature of war. See the curriculum matrix here.
The curriculum is designed for both the specialist who will be assigned to an information operations position and the generalist who will be assigned to an operations directorate. The curriculum includes a core group of courses that address military art and operations, the human dimension of warfare (psycho-social), analytical methods, and a technical course sequence customized for each student. Additionally, each student will have an elective sequence designed to develop an in-depth understanding of joint information operations. Graduates are awarded a Master of Science in Information Operations. The program is 18 months long and requires a completed thesis.
This curriculum is open to officers, select NCOs, and civilian employees of the U.S. Government and other countries. U.S. officers and NCOs must be eligible for a TOP SECRET clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information based on a Special Background Investigation completed within the last five years. A baccalaureate degree earned with above average academic performance and a minimum academic profile code (APC) of 265 are required.
The Special Operations/Irregular Warfare curriculum provides a focused curriculum of instruction in irregular warfare. Courses address counterinsurgency, terrorism and counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, information operations, and other "high leverage" operations in U.S. defense and foreign policy. The core program also provides a strong background in strategic analysis, decision modeling, organization theory, and formal analytical methods. See representative SO/IW course matrices here.
Student programs of instruction are built around a common set of core courses and a selected specialty track. The individual student, depending on his or her interests and academic background, chooses the specialty track. In selected cases, students are able to develop a tailored area of specialization to satisfy a particular interest or requirement. Graduates are awarded a Master of Science in Defense Analysis, with their specialty track so specified.
This curriculum is the only education program in DoD in which 100 percent of the instruction is dedicated directly or indirectly to the study of irregular warfare.
While the curriculum is sponsored by US Special Operations Command, the curriculum actively solicits students from across the services, regardless of branch, MOS, or AFSC. In addition, international students are considered an important asset of the program. Students are encouraged to apply for an admission beginning with either the Winter or Summer Quarter, thereby permitting them to take maximum advantage of the program's sequenced course of instruction. The program extends for 18 months and requires a completed master's thesis prior to graduation.
The Special Operations/Irregular Warfare curriculum is open to officers, select NCOs, and civilian employees of the U.S. Government and other countries. U.S. officers and NCOs must be eligible for a TOP SECRET clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information based on a Special Background Investigation completed within the last five years. A baccalaureate degree earned with above average academic performance and a minimum academic profile code (APC) of 265 are also required.