Master Intelligence & International Security

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  • Entry requirements
    graduates and professionals with an interest in understanding the nature and role of intelligence
  • Academic title
    MA Intelligence & International Security
  • Course description
    Programme description
    - The Department of War Studies is unique in the UK and one of very few university departments in the world devoted exclusively to the study of war as a human phenomenon.
    - The unrivalled location in the heart of London beside the River Thames brings outstanding advantages. Students enjoy excellent academic, social and cultural opportunities. The department is close to the seat of Government, the City, the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Inns of Court.
    - Students have access to visiting academics, serving officers, government ministers and other experts who give regular public lectures and seminars.

    Issues of intelligence have assumed increasing prominence in world affairs as analysts and policy makers attempt to assess the nature of new threats in the international system. This programme will enable students to examine the nature, processes, roles and case studies of intelligence and their interaction with developments in international security.

    In examining the trends that continue to shape intelligence and geo-strategic developments in the 21st Century this programme offers a unique multidisciplinary approach based on the strengths of the department. We aim to provide a framework in which to understand the nature and role of intelligence in its relationship to wider issues in war and international security; an understanding of the processes, practices and institutions that have characterised intelligence in the modern era; an understanding of the problems connected with intelligence collection, assessment and ability to predict events in world affairs; and an appreciation of the particular ethical concerns generated by intelligence related phenomena.

    The MA programme is designed to have broad ranging appeal to those interested in pursuing graduate studies in the areas of intelligence and security studies. Specifically those who may find this programme to be of interest will include: graduates in politics, history, international relations and strategic studies; those with practical experience in the intelligence community who may wish to reflect on the wider issues and implications of their experience; professionals in the areas of defence, diplomacy and foreign affairs.

    The MA comprises:
    · A compulsory core module, 'Intelligence in Peace & War' (worth 40 credits);
    · Optional modules chosen from a range of possibilities (worth 80 credits in total);
    · A dissertation of 15,000 words (worth 60 credits).

    The dissertation is to be written over the summer term. You may choose your own topic but it must fall within the remit of your programme of study and must be approved by a member of staff. If you are a part-time student, you are advised to take the core module in your first year of study and write your dissertation in your second year.

    Programme format and assessment

    Continuous assessment by essay; examinations and a dissertation of 15,000 words.

    Programme modules for MA Intelligence & International Security 

    Intelligence in Peace and War
    (Core Module)
    The course provides a thorough grounding in the conceptual, historical and contextual themes in the study of intelligence including its development and role within the domains of international security. A particular emphasis will be placed on the way that issues of intelligence permeate general themes of warfare and international relations. While attention will be given to intelligence methods, structures, institutions and processes, the course will not analyse intelligence merely as a discrete information gathering exercise but seeks to place the phenomenon in its widest setting by providing a framework to understand key ideas and dilemmas in international security.

    African Security
    This module provides students with a detailed understanding of African security. Specifically, the module hopes to address the key issues underlining conflicts in the continent, the institutions established to meet the demands of the continent's security, and recent developments in the major conflict zones in the continent (such as Darfur, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region). The module will also address issues such as ethnicity and citizenship, nature and the extent and impact of external interventions in the continent, and the increasing link between the continent and the global war against terrorism. Finally, the module will investigate all the ways through which these issues have affected security and development in the region.

    Clausewitz: Ideas and Legacy
    Clausewitz is regarded as the pre-eminent philosopher of war. Because of the size and intellectual depth of his oeuvre and the seemingly unfinished nature of his magnum opus ‘Vom Kriege’, however, the nature and meaning of his ideas are contested. This course will explore the development of the man and his ideas, identify the problematic areas, and study these in detail with the help of the three major English translations of On War. To get a measure of the greatness of the man’s ideas, the course will proceed to trace the reception and influence of Clausewitz’s ideas from the time of his death to the present ‘Clausewitz renaissance’. Please note that there is some commonality of subject matter with SWM122 ‘Strategy’. As a result, students who choose this option may not take the Strategy option.

    Conflict Prevention & Peace Building
    This module aims to impart knowledge, build analytical skills and sharpen the critical faculties required for effective policy making in the conflict prevention and peace making fields through engagement with the literature, policy analyses, seminar presentations and interaction with scholars and practitioners.

    Conflict Resolution in World Politics (20 Credits)
    The course will introduce students to some of the major models and methods for the resolution of international conflicts. It will first undertake a conceptual examination of what it means to 'resolve' a conflict and will then cover key approaches to conflict resolution, including mediation/negotiation, 'track II' diplomacy and problem-solving. Questions such as the impact of asymmetries of power and the timing of mediation will be investigated. In each instance the aim will be to highlight the relationship between theory and practice and how this is manifest in particular case-studies of conflict. The aim will be to develop in students an increased capacity for critical reflection on the conventions and perspectives on conflict resolution and their application to particular cases of conflict.

    Conflict Simulation
    This course explores the dynamic modelling of past battles and campaigns through the medium of conflict simulation games. Students make a critical study of the existing corpus of such conflict simulations and analyse the mechanisms and design choices involved and the strengths and weaknesses of these techniques as a representation and reflection of reality. They then research and design their own simulation game on a battle or campaign of their choice. The aims of the course are to familiarise students with the various possible mechanisms of conflict simulation, and the strengths and weaknesses of each and to encourage students to analyse the key dynamics of conflict situations, thereby gaining greater insight into the physical and human determinants of conflict.

    Conflict, Development and Islam in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia
    The course provides an analytical and empirically informed treatment of the linkages between conflict, development and Islam in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It explores the origins and dynamics of wars and unresolved military conflicts in the region, and examines potential new sources of violence that might emerge both in the region, and in neighbouring countries. The course also analyses the challenges of economic development and the linkages of development and security in Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The course also explores the dynamics of Islam, nationalism and extremist ideologies as they develop in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as the linkages between international terrorism, al Qaeda and Islam in Eurasia. Special attention is also given to the role played by the international community in addressing issue of conflict, security and development in the region.

    Deterrence in Theory and Practice
    The concept of deterrence was a cornerstone of cold war strategic studies, and its continued applicability is a matter of heated debate today. Questions raised by deterrence touch on many of the concerns motivating students of War Studies, including historical, ethical, and theoretical questions about war. This course uses deterrence as a lens to explore these larger issues. In particular, it will examine the following questions: What is deterrence, and what role has it played in the security policies of states? Has the viability of deterrence changed over time, and if so, have these changes been driven by changes in technology, by changes in the characteristics of states, or by other factors? To what extent do the theories of deterrence propounded by scholars capture the deterrent policies enacted by states? What determines the success or failure of deterrence in practice? Is deterrence an ethical strategy? The course will also expose students to various methodologies used in the social sciences, including comparative case studies, quantitative analysis and formal modelling.

    This course will examine the theory, art and practice of diplomacy, both as an instrument of foreign policy and an institution in the international system. It will analyse the way in which diplomacy, unlike most other aspects of international life, emphasises that which states have in common as well as those things which divide them. It will study diplomacy from the perspectives of politics, international law and history. In addition to this, it will look at the roles and functions of diplomacy regarding states and their policies, as well as the conduct of diplomacy in different forums and in different collective activities. The detailed substance of the course will focus inter alia on topics such as the following: diplomacy and intelligence; military diplomacy; summitry; mediation; the role of diplomacy in multilateral forums. Students will be encouraged to make use of case studies to illustrate general propositions about diplomatic theory and practice.

    Diplomacy, Intelligence and Armaments Competition: The origins of the Second World War, 1931-1941
    This option explores the origins of the Second World War in Europe, Asia and the Pacific in the period 1931-41. This tragic decade of international upheaval, crisis and war provides historians with a rich source for the study of international politics. Was appeasement, for example, a cowardly policy selected by naïve politicians or a strategy of containment? Was Japan provoked into war by the imperial and economic policies of the western powers? Was the European war of 1939 Hitler's war or was the German dictator propelled into war by a 'domestic crisis'? What role did intelligence and armaments competition play in the coming of war?

    Ethics in International Relations (20 Credits)
    This course will explore the reasons for ethics playing such a marginal role in traditional approaches to international relations. It will explore and evaluate major traditions of Political Ethics as these apply to international relations. In particular students taking this module will have an opportunity to consider the vigorous debates now taking place about the following ethical matters: intervention, secession, national self determination, sovereignty, the just war tradition in an age of 'New Wars', migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, global governance, and ethical approaches to the global environment.

    European (In)Security (20 credits)
    This course deals with the consequences of widening the security concept, the contribution of social constructivist and post-positivist approaches to security studies, and the transformation of contemporary security practices. The course focuses on the role of security policy in the construction of danger and the governance of society on the basis of unease and fear.

    European Security
    This course aims to introduce students to several analytical approaches to the study of security in Europe today. The historical background and in part socio-anthropological approach show different forms of inter-group relations that have existed, and the constructedness of European identities, whether they be religious, regional, ethnic or ‘national’. The analysis of successive structures of formal inter-group relations, which have by and by become increasingly crystallised around a state-order, is complemented by the comparative analysis of contemporary structures of policy making in three major states. To this is added an analysis of the interdependence of states and the evolution of supra-state or inter-state mechanisms (or régimes, international organisations such as NATO, the EU, the WEU and the OSCE and international norms). The focus is then on contemporary general problems of security in Europe, followed by in depth analyses, using all the analytical tools explored earlier, of present security concerns of individual states.

    Human Rights and Migration (20 credits)
    This course examines the development of migration rights as human rights in the European framework. Starting from the right of the state to control its borders and who is entitled to enter and reside on its territory, the course examines how, in the European context, migrants have acquired rights of movement and residence protected at the supra national level. Topics covered include citizenship, refugees and forced migration, family life and protection from expulsion.

    Human Rights in a World of States (20 credits)
    The aims of the course will be to introduce students to a particular way of thinking about the place of human rights in contemporary world politics, to launch an inquiry into the shortcomings of the way in which the discipline has traditionally dealt with the issue of human rights in an international context, to determine the usefulness of a human rights centred approach to the study of global politics and to explore the tension between human rights and sovereign states in the modern practices of international relations.

    International Peace Support Operations
    Since 1948 UN forces have been used for peaceful purposes to act between opposed armies in war zones and crisis areas. By the 1990s, the UN’s efforts to maintain international peace and security were increasingly focused on civil conflict and peacekeepers found themselves in an environment that was dangerous and complicated by the number of warring factions. The wars and violence of the 1990s took place in failing states and involved civil militias, warlords, child soldiers, starvation, displaced communities, looting on a massive scale and terrible human rights abuses. By 2000, troops from at least 75 nations were involved in international operations which deploy under the supervision of NATO, ECOMOG, CIS, OSCE and the UN. Contributing to international peaceforces has moved from being a peripheral and undemanding military activity to becoming a central defence requirement and a major item in national defence budgets. The purpose of this MA option is to explain how the concept of peacekeeping has changed since the contingencies of the Cold War period to cope with emergencies of the 1990s; to show how peace forces have grown in military power and changed their approach from being conciliatory to confrontational.

    International Political Economy (20 credits)
    The course provides an opportunity for students to engage with the linkages between international politics and international economics. Its aim is to provide an understanding of international political economy and the difference perspectives associated with this specialised field of knowledge. It covers issues such as global economic governance, globalisation and the role of the state in the international economy, the international trade order, the WTO, and the rise of regionalism, the international monetary system, and the IPE of development.

    International Politics of the Middle East
    The course explores the emergence and evolution of the Middle East system of states since 1945, through a framework of analysis that is partly historical and partly thematic. It covers the role of the great powers before, during, and since the Cold War, and explores the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the international politics of the Gulf. The course then surveys four main approaches to analysis of the foreign policies of Middle East states: assessing the role of state-society relations and political economy, and the impact of nationalism and of the balance of power on regional politics, alliance-building, and institutional cooperation. The politics of oil and of economic restructuring are then explored, followed by the politics of religious revival in the context of democratisation and of the military's role in the context of political change and economic transformation. This paves the way for an assessment of trends affecting peace, security, and stability in the Middle East since the end of the Cold War, and an overview of evolving US and European policies towards the region. The primary aim of the course is to provide a basic analytical understanding of political issues and historical processes in the Middle East. The secondary aim is to provide training in the critical reading of assigned texts and their use in writing.

    Nationalism and Security
    The aims of this course are to promote multidisciplinary understanding of concepts, issues and debates regarding nationalism and security and to encourage understanding of the interaction between statehood and population groups. Furthermore, the course examines the relationship between national political discourse and the peace-conflict axis and fosters conscious critical reading and discussion of issues of ethnicity, identity, statehood, self-determination and self-protection.

    Natural Resources & Conflict
    The aim of this module is to investigate all the ramifications of resource conflicts in developing societies, and to situate these within the nexus of security and development. Among others, the module focuses on the causes and nature of resource conflicts, their connection with local and global governance, the clash between local claims and national interest in resource politics, the link between international demand and pressures on local communities, the activities of warlords, the involvement of the international community in addressing these conflicts and the impact of globalisation on resource conflicts.

    Prosecuting War Crimes
    This course examines the establishment and conduct of international war crimes (including crimes against humanity) prosecutions. It evaluates the background to the emergence of war crimes as a concept in the 20th century, looking at martial, ethical and legal issues. It studies the creation of the first international tribunals following the Second World War and the issues which arose from these. The course examines the interaction between politics and law in the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the relationship of laws and rules to the social activity that is war.

    Reporting Wars
    As new information technology alters global communication the relationship between information, security and war fighting becomes increasingly important. This course analyses war reporting by drawing upon a range of historical and contemporary case studies. It looks at the influence of political leadership, organisational factors in media structures, and the roles and norms of journalists. The course explores in depth the relationship between the military and the media and how this relationship has been affected by recent technological changes and political developments. Special attention is given to media effects like the ‘CNN-effect’, i.e. the unmediated, live diffusion of images of tension, conflict and emergencies. The case studies examined include the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War and its aftermath.

    Science, Technology and Security Policy
    What role do developments in science and technology play in national security policy? Does the development of new technologies such as the ballistic missile and the nuclear weapon transform international security and require new policies, or is the development of new technologies driven by the security problems that states face? This course investigates these questions by examining developments at the intersection of science and security. It explores how scientific advances have influenced defence policy and international security in the past as well as preparing students to analyse the effects of current and future developments. To this end, it provides a basic grounding in the science underlying key weapons systems and security technologies, examines the role of science and scientists in the policy process, and through a series of case studies, prepares students to analyse the security implications of new technologies.

    Scientific and Technical Intelligence (20 credits)
    Drawing upon a range of historical and contemporary case studies, this course is designed to give students an understanding of the way in which scientific and technical intelligence has evolved from its origins in the Second World War, to the present day. In tracing these developments, the course will seek to explore the nature of scientific and technical intelligence, which revolves around the interaction between scientists, the scientific establishments, and the intelligence agencies. It will focus on scientific and technical intelligence both in terms of the development of intelligence technology, but also the scientific nature of the target. It will use a variety of case studies to explore and illustrate persistent issues related to the study of scientific and technical intelligence.

    Security & Migration in Europe in the 21st Century: An Uneasy Relationship
    This module provides students with a multidisciplinary approach to two key policy fields - security and migration. The module aims to develop students' critical understanding of how two different fields intersect and analyse the changes to each of the fields which take place through that intersection. It presents an overview on the relationship of law to policy in the two fields which will enrich students' analytical skills and ultimately be applicable in other domains. It also demonstrates and evaluates different modes of explanation in politics around security and migration.

    Security Issues in the Soviet Successor States
    This course seeks to develop a broad understanding of security issues in the former Soviet Union (FSU). In so doing, the course will examine traditional security concerns as well as new threats that have arisen in this region. The course will approach the concept of security from a perspective wider than that of military policy, to include crime, ecological issues as well as traditional doctrinal thinking and military developments. The course will examine the Soviet approach to security, which constitutes the historical and political background for thinking about security issues in the newly independent states. It will also introduce the main theoretical models to be developed for understanding Soviet politics. The course will proceed to examine Russian security policy, and the security issues and policies adopted by the other newly independent states. The development of armed forces and civil-military relations in each region will also be examined.

    The aims of this course are to explore the nature of strategy and the manner in which it is shaped by sociopolitical influences, encourage critical engagement with the scholarly literature on the subject of strategy, foster amongst students the capacity for analysis, judgement and communication at a level commensurate with taught postgraduate study. Please note that this is not a course about the ‘mechanics of war’ and that there is minimal operational or tactical content. Nor does it embrace the methods and assumptions of traditional military history. Those who feel uncomfortable with an explicit theoretical approach to the study of war may not find it to their liking. Please note that there is some commonality of subject matter with SWM118 ‘Clausewitz: Ideas and Legacy’. As a result, students who choose this option may not take the Clausewitz option.

    The Conduct of Contemporary Warfare
    The aim of this course will be to provide students with an understanding of contemporary military operations, in the light of economic, social, technological and political changes affecting the environment in which these operations take place. Conflicts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be covered. The course will build on issues raised in the MA core and provide an opportunity for those students who wish to develop further their interest in contemporary strategic issues.

    The European Union in the World (20 Credits)
    This course explores the Union's identity outside its own borders. Hence it explores the Union's nature as an international actor; its various forms of external activity; and the ways it deploys its policies in different parts of the globe, from Europe to the Far East. The objectives are to ensure that students develop both an empirical familiarity with, and a conceptual understanding of the theory and practice of the Union's external activities and impacts.

    The Evolution of Insurgency
    This course explains the evolution of insurgency doctrine since 1948, tracing its major development phases and concluding with contemporary international intervention forces and their revised techniques of counter-insurgency. The aim of this course is to analyse the moral and legal arguments for and against the use of political violence and explain the relationship of urbanisation and social transition to the use of political violence; It provides a social and historical context from which to understand the application and utility of insurgency doctrine during the period of the Cold War; to analyse the reasons behind the proliferation of insurgent forms after the end of the Cold War; to conceptualise emerging trends of globally organised violence after 11th September 2000; to assess the principles which underwrite the development of counter-insurgency strategy and to practice critical analysis, independent judgement, oral and written presentation skills at a level commensurate with taught postgraduate study.

    The JIC and British Intelligence
    Drawing upon a range of historical and contemporary case studies, this course is designed to give students an understanding of the origins and evolution of the modern British intelligence machinery. In tracing the developments of the various agencies that constitute British intelligence, the course will seek to explore the nature of British intelligence, which revolves around the workings of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). In doing so it will focus on the disciplines of intelligence (signals intelligence, human intelligence, espionage etc), as well as its products. It will focus on the effects of intelligence gathering on decision making, particularly in the realm of national security and military policy. It will use a variety of case studies to explore and illustrate persistent issues related to the study of intelligence.

    The Meaning and Experience of Imperialism
    This course considers the conceptual difficulties involved with the term ‘imperialism’ in understanding current and past global conflict. Taking an historical perspective on the evolution of western European empires, it challenges many current definitions. Though the British Empire necessarily looms large, the course takes a comparative approach to western empires since the fifteenth century, examining the changing motivation, method, and perceived purpose of expansion. In this way, it will assess in particular the relative role of military asymmetry and of coercion in global history to the present day.

    The Politics of Intervention
    Drawing upon a wide range of historical and contemporary case studies, the course provides an empirically informed examination of the role and nature of intervention and the place of intervention in contemporary global politics. It explores historical and contemporary debates on the literature of intervention, and examines the motives behind, and the decision for, intervention, on the modality of such intervention, the political measures required to achieve the intervention purposes, the timing and the method of disengagement, and the outcome of intervention. The course is concerned with the structural as well as ideational aspects affecting key intervening actors, and to this end, the role of ideology and personalities, as well as the changing parameters of sovereignty, the declining value of the strategy of containment, and the issue of legitimacy in relation to international law and public opinion, will also be considered. The course will consider numerous case studies of major interventions, including the American-led UN intervention in the Korean Civil War (1950-1953), America’s involvement in the conflict in Vietnam (1965-1973), the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan (1979-1991), humanitarian interventions in the 1990s, such as in Somalia (1992-3) and Kosovo (1999), and the recent intervention in Iraq to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein.

    The Proliferation of Weapons
    This course provides a comprehensive view of the proliferation challenges in the areas of nuclear, chemical, biological, conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. It considers the reasons why states and non-state groups might seek Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles. It examines the conventional arms trade in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods and analyses the problem of landmine proliferation. It assesses the utility of the various measures available which are designed to inhibit proliferation: export controls, arms control, regime formation, multilateral arrangements, regional initiatives, defensive military responses, international law, etc.

    The Rise and Fall of the Cold War

    This course investigates an ‘age of global threat’ to Western values and beliefs which followed after the end of the Second World War. The focus of our enquiry is to discern the major trends and dynamics of the Cold War and to discuss the changes and continuity in the international security order during and after the end of the Cold War.

    The Rise and Fall of the Russian and Soviet Navies: Power, Strategy and Geopolitics
    This MA Option contributes to the Core of the MA in War Studies in its in-depth examination of the Russian naval experience in the geo-strategic and diplomatic context, both as a case study, and to develop a suitable approach for the creation of historically based strategic analysis. The aim of this course is to examine one of the key issues in modern naval history, both as a case study in history, and as an historiographical and methodological exercise. The course will provide a better understanding of the development, implementation, and recurrent failure of national strategies. This will require the students to assess the importance of shore defences, land expansion, geo-strategic factors, technology transfer, threat perception and wartime performance in the overall naval performance of Russia.

    The Rise and Fall of the Russian and Soviet Navies: Power, Strategy and Geopolitics
    This MA Option contributes to the Core of the MA in War Studies in its in-depth examination of the Russian naval experience in the geo-strategic and diplomatic context, both as a case study, and to develop a suitable approach for the creation of historically based strategic analysis. The aim of this course is to examine one of the key issues in modern naval history, both as a case study in history, and as an historiographical and methodological exercise. The course will provide a better understanding of the development, implementation, and recurrent failure of national strategies. This will require the students to assess the importance of shore defences, land expansion, geo-strategic factors, technology transfer, threat perception and wartime performance in the overall naval performance of Russia.

    War and Psychiatry
    Twenty seminars will provide an introduction to the main developments and principles of military psychiatry from 1900 to the present. Key topics include: the issue of shell shock in World War One; the discovery of 'forward psychiatry' and 'PIE' methods to treat combat stress reaction; attempts to treat 'battle exhaustion' in World War Two; group therapy at Mill Hill and Northfield; comparative approaches in France and Germany; the realities of war and the impact of combat on servicemen; the efficacy of forward and base treatments; Vietnam and the rise of PTSD; veterans pressure groups and war pensions; Gulf War syndrome; psychiatric responses of civilians to trauma and the issue of risk communication: the need to encourage vigilance without causing panic. There will also be a visit to either: Combat Stress (Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society), to the Historial de la Grande Guerre and the Somme, or to the Centre for Defence Medicine. The course is primarily based on the UK experience, though reference throughout will be made to US, Israeli, French and German examples for comparison. Students will be encouraged to explore cultural differences between armies. It is a comparative course, which uses the past to inform the present and draws on the differences between nations.

    War, Criminality and Global Politics (20 credits)
    The aim of the course is to explore the subject of responsibility in time of war. The course will first be located within the wider remit of international relations and the ethics of war. It will evaluate the significance of the subject of war crimes within a discipline that conventionally defines the subject of politics as the state. It will explore the implications of taking the individual as the primary location of responsibility when actions are undertaken in time of conflict, and will consider responses to criminality in war from the establishment of war crimes tribunals to attempts at reconciliation between affected communities.

    One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Other programs related to national and international security

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