Breadcrumb
Great Power Competition Overview

Great Power Competition Overview

With the rise of China and the return of Russia to near-peer military status with the United States, the topic of renewed Great Power Competition (GPC) has moved to the forefront of U.S. defense concerns, supplanting our post-9/11 focus on the Global War on Terrorism.  In 2019, in response to a request from N3/N5, the Department of National Security Affairs at NPS created a first-of-its-kind GPC overview course (NS 4000) to educate NPS students and interested faculty and staff about critical challenges posed by China and Russia. That course attracted some 200 students, faculty, and staff, making it the single largest course at NPS. Since then, this course has been transformed into an asynchronous, distance-learning format to allow it to reach an additional 500 military students and interested civilian personnel at commands across the United States and the world. 

In response to Navy requests in the summer of 2020 for additional distance-learning (DL) opportunities, the NSA Department created a 13-unit GPC DL certificate.  The first cohort started this series in January 2020, and a second cohort started in July 2020.  The certificate can be taken alone or be folded into an in-residence NPS degree.

More specific material on each of these offerings is provided on this site.  Please click on the program(s) of interest to you.

GPC Overview - NS 4000

Great Power Competition Lecture Series (NS 4000)

The purpose of this one-credit lecture series is to provide critical and timely information on the strategic challenges posed to the United States by the emergence of great power competition (GPC) with China and its re-emergence with Russia.  The course begins with a brief overview of the core dynamics of GPC historically, its Cold War manifestations in the bipolar arms race, and what has changed in the twenty-first century.  Faculty experts from the Department of National Security Affairs then look at the driving factors behind contemporary Chinese and Russian domestic politics, foreign policies, and military policies. Next, our professors analyze Chinese and Russian efforts to extend their influence into critical regions of the world, as well as the challenges this behavior poses to U.S., allied, and partner interests. The course then focuses on GPC dynamics in several key functional areas: global economics, outer space, cyberspace, and energy markets.  Finally, the series concludes with a discussion of possible future outcomes in the context of U.S. and allied responses.

All lectures will be approximately 35 minutes in length and are available for asynchronous, self-paced viewing via the course Sakai site.  There are also readings for each lesson, as well as a quiz covering the key points in each lecture that must be passed in order for students to receive credit for the course. The course will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the nature of great power competition historically and its current manifestations.
  • To understand the core motivations behind Chinese and Russian political, economic, and military policies, as well as the challenges they pose to the United States
  • To understand the tools China and Russia use to further their interests in various regions of the world outside their borders and in critical competitive domains, such as cyberspace
  • To understand the range of possible U.S. and allied responses to Chinese and Russian behavior.

To apply, please visit GPC Details page.

GPC Overview - Curriculum 255

Great Power Competition Distance-Learning Certificate (Curriculum 255)

The 13-credit graduate-level distance-learning certificate in Great Power Competition (GPC), organized by the Department of National Security Affairs, is targeting active-duty officers whose career paths may not otherwise accommodate resident graduate programs at NPS and would benefit from this coursework.  Its purpose is to provide critical and timely information on the political and strategic challenges posed to the United States by the emergence of GPC with China and its re-emergence with Russia.  The credits obtained through this nine-month nonresident program can be applied to a future one-year in-residence master’s degree in Strategic Studies (curriculum 688).  The 100% online remote-learning format consists of synchronous and asynchronous material, with the synchronous seminar normally scheduled on Fridays.

 

Learning outcomes for this certificate program are:

  • To understand the nature of GPC historically and its current manifestations.
  • To understand the core motivations behind Chinese and Russian political, economic, and military policies, as well as the challenges they pose to the United States.
  • To understand the tools China and Russia use to further their interests in various regions of the world outside their borders and in critical competitive domains, such as cyberspace.
  • To understand the range of possible U.S. and allied responses to Chinese and Russian behavior.
GPC Accordion

Program Structure

This thirteen-credit distance learning certificate is completed over nine months, with the following class structure:

*Courses alternate by cohort. See NPS course catalog for differences between the two classes.

  • Quarter 1:  NS4000 – GPC:  Current Policy/Strategy (1 credit)
  • Quarter 1:  NS3005 – Great Power Conflict in Modern History (4 credits)
  • Quarter 2:  NS3661/4642 – Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy (4 credits)*
  • Quarter 3:  NS3401/4425 – Russian Politics and Foreign Policy (4 credits)*

Sample Course Structure

NS4000 – GPC:  Current Policy/Strategy

  • One-credit, pass/fail course with 20 lectures
  • ~2 hours per week
  • 35-minute lectures followed by short quizzes
  • Optional readings

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the core motivations behind Chinese and Russian political, economic, and military policies.
  • Understand the tools China and Russia use to further their interests in various regions of the world and in critical competitive domains, such as cyberspace.

 

NS3005 – Great Power Conflict in Modern History

  • Four-credit course
  • ~8-10 hours per week

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the history of great power conflict in the 20th century, emphasizing the role of great powers in the evolution of the modern international system.
  • Understand core concepts in the following areas:
    • The role of great powers in the creation of international order.
    • The origins of great power wars.
    • The economic dimensions of great power conflict.
    • Great power conflict and revolutionary war.
    • The distinctive requirements of peace-making among great powers.

 

NS4642 – Chinese Foreign Policy

  • Four-credit course
  • ~8-10 hours per week

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the historical legacies of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Acquire a deeper knowledge of Chinese foreign policy during the Cold War.
  • Understand the development of China’s relations with the United States, East Asia, and the world during China’s rise.
  • Explore the main drivers for China’s grand strategy and foreign policy, and understand Chinese perspectives on the international environment.
  • Conduct in-depth research and analysis on a topic of interest related to Chinese foreign policy.

 

NS4425 – Russian Foreign Policy

  • Four-credit course
  • ~8-10 hours per week

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand Russia’s foreign policy traditions, interests, patterns of behavior, current trends, and possible future directions.
  • Understand the range of policy tools used by the Russian leadership in the pursuit of the country’s foreign policy.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of Russia’s priorities in its relationship to the United States as well as options for U.S. policy-makers in dealing with Russia.
  • Conduct in-depth research and analysis on a topic of interest related to Russian foreign policy.

Deadline for applications:

  • Must be submitted no later than 24 September 2021.
  • Delayed receipt of official transcripts and signed participation agreement could result in delay or rejection of application. Applicants will be notified by NPS via e-mail regarding their acceptance to the program.

 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited four-year college or university, and a 2.6 grade point average (GPA) or higher on a four-point scale.
  • Participants should have a projected rotation date no earlier than 22 October 2021.

 

Admissions Process:

  • Go to the NPS admissions page.
  • Once registered, applicants select GPC Certificate Program, curriculum number 255 with start date of January 2022.
  • Arrange delivery of official transcripts to the NPS admissions office from each institution attended for all undergraduate and graduate education.
  • Admissions requires a participation agreement signed by your commanding officer/supervisor, which is embedded into the admission website.
  • A one-page personal statement of preparedness and motivation must be submitted to NSA Program Officer via email and should contain the applicant’s professional information to include designator/MOS/AFSC, rank, current duty assignment, and current duty station.

Once complete with online application

  • Send your personal statement to NSA Program Officer via e-mail at nsaprogramofficer@nps.edu.
  • Completed package includes:
    • NPS completed online application.
    • Email signed Participation Agreement and send transcripts to admissions.
    • Email one-page personal statement to NSA Program Officer.