Managing Security and Defense (MSD 2019)



Online Phase Dates: 
May 20, 2019 to May 31, 2019
Residential Phase Dates: 
Jun 03, 2019 to Jun 07, 2019

Language Requirements: 
Course given in Spanish; English reading ability required


Deputy Director:

MSD is a week-long senior executive seminar preceded by an optional two-week online phase (to read available articles). The seminar content is tailored in response to the policy priorities of both the Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Security Cooperation offices in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as the objectives of US Southern and Northern Commands. In particular, the MSD seminar focuses on subject areas addressing improved ministerial capacity through better institutional governance of the security and defense sectors, in order to have these produce more effective and sustainable contributions. The MSD course thus contributes to the larger DoD enterprise focused on Defense Institution Building (DIB).


Current complex security challenges call for solid and well-governed institutions. Therefore, producing good governance in the defense and security institutions-a complex task in and of itself-must become a state priority. In other words, if nations want to generate adequate responses that can lead to improved security and defense of the Western Hemisphere, they must first devote serious efforts to improve their ministerial and sectoral capacities.

Accordingly, the MSD seminar brings together senior-level government officials to empower the next generation of executives and decision-makers with tools and know-how so that they address and better respond to a key question: how do we improve our institutional capacity to more appropriately attend to the requirements of this changed and increasingly complex strategic environment?

The seminar will explore several key concepts related to producing good governance in the defense institution. This will include addressing the principles and characteristics of good governance; examining key defense management processes such as policy formulation and resource management and the role they play in producing this as an outcome; employing tools to understand, analyze, and determine security and defense requirements in the strategic environment; and understanding the role key actors other than Defense Ministries play in the governance of the defense institution.

Using a variety of teaches concepts, methodologies, and tools, this course aims to:
  • Build the capacity of senior executives in the security and defense sectors to better manage their respective sector through effective policies and integrated decisions.
  • How to support a broader framework: Security & Defense Institution Building (SDIB).
  • How to sustain a Community of Practice in Managing Security and Defense within the region.
This is a week-long seminar, with a two-week optional online phase. Major themes covered in the seminar include:
  • The SDIB decision environment.
  • Recognizing and framing the SDIB problem.
  • Strategizing capabilities into smarter security and defense forces.
  • The economics of sustainable SDIB Metrics and governance.
  • Developing organizational and professional competencies.
  • Sustainable management of SDIB Designing and advising the SDIB process.

The target participants of this course are at the level of Vice Minister, Vice Chief of Staff, and Director General of Security and Defense Policy.

Candidates must possess a university degree; military and police personnel must have completed a war-college course or equivalent. Exceptions to the above will be made on a case-by-case basis with minimum requirements including command and staff college (or equivalent), or substantial professional work experience in the case of civilians without an appropriate degree.

The MSD course is conducted in Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation from English during some plenary sessions. A moderate level of English reading skill is required for course reading materials.