Defense Policy and Complex Threats (DPCT)

By Invitation Only
Online Phase Dates: 
Jun 11, 2018 to Jul 06, 2018
Residential Phase Dates: 
Jul 23, 2018 to Aug 03, 2018
Perry Center Faculty: 
Course Director / Director del Curso

DPCT Course Logo

This course is tailored in response to the defense policy goals of the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and the objectives of the Combatant Commands ; particularly those related to the critical mission of the US Government and the Department of Defense to strengthen whole-of-government approaches to defense policy.


Designed for senior security and defense decision-makers (Lieutenant Colonel / Commander (O-5) and above, plus their civilian equivalents), DPCT participants undertake a comprehensive overview of existing methodologies used to analyze the ever-changing nature of security and defense challenges and assess the capabilities of the state to respond to probable future challenges. Participants develop tools for risk-forecasting and for writing effective policies to appropriately prepare the state to counter the impact of these challenges. Participants discuss the characteristics of unconventional “conflicts” and assess the ability of the state to prevent future conflicts or mitigate their impact; apply new, specific methodologies to reduce uncertainty in conflict forecasting; learn to identify and distinguish the peculiarities of the security and defense establishments in their respective strategic and political contexts (both domestic and regional); assess the impact of these organizational peculiarities; and develop tools to craft effective policies to support decision-making related to the management and transformation of security and defense organizations.


More information is forthcoming.


This is a six-week course, with a four-week online phase and two-week residential phase. Participants use National Defense University's (NDU) distance learning system Blackboard, to download reading material, submit assignments and participate in video conferences. The residential phase is conducted using a combination of individual study, discussions of the readings, small-group discussions and panels, case studies and exercises.


Participants should be senior practitioners from security and defense establishments with responsibilities for advising and/or contributing to the improvement of security and defense decision-making processes. Participants should be advisors and/or policymakers involved in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies concerning defense and security management coming from the following institutions/activities:

  • Policy/decision-makers for the nation’s security and defense forces.
  • Government personnel who work on policy advising in organizations other than the military or police (e.g., Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, national legislature, military war colleges, etc.).
  • Personnel from civilian organizations which focus on national or regional security and defense policy-making and/or threat forecasting, including non-government organizations (NGO), academic institutions, and thinktanks.

Candidates must possess a university degree or, in cases where a candidate does not hold a degree, equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The DPCT course is conducted in Spanish. There is simultaneous interpretation from English during some plenary sessions. Since the majority of the course readings are in English (including theoretical and conceptual material) a high level of English reading proficiency is required. English speaking skills are not required.