Emerging Threats in National Security

Examine new challenges to national security.

National Security

Emerging Threats in National Security is a semester-long experience that explores non-traditional challenges to U.S. national security. This seminar provides students with a deeper understanding of national security policy in general, while considering the impact of new and non-conventional threats. Previous topics have included civilian and military government issues, weaponization of space and nuclear issues, human rights, civil rights, and climate change.

The seminar is not designed as a broad introductory survey; rather, it adopts an advanced “selected topics” perspective, focusing on a small number of salient or emerging national security issues of the greatest importance, urgency, and difficulty.  It is interdisciplinary, embracing considerations of law, policy, politics, strategy, history, ethics, science, and more. Participants will discuss how our country has reacted to prior crises and threats to national security, whether those reactions netted positive overall gains to national security, and how we can best use the lessons learned from past crises to tackle present and future national security challenges. The seminar is designed to be highly interactive, relying upon vigorous discussion and debate among all class members.

The program begins with a foundation in national security, providing students an opportunity to think more broadly about the field. Students are encouraged to question whether traditional concepts adequately address new and novel threats facing the United States domestically and internationally. While national security may be traditionally thought to be the domain of lawyers and political scientists, this program seeks to include students from diverse backgrounds to join the national security dialogue. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply.

Each bi-monthly session will focus on a different national security issue currently facing the United States. Students will explore these topics and engage directly with one another, debating the merits of each issue and proposing policy to elevate those issues they believe to be among the most pressing national security concerns.

The program concludes with discussions on the U.S. national security decision-making process and ethical dimensions of national security policy and will challenge whether the traditional paradigm for addressing national security is adequate given new threats. National security practitioners will participate as guest speakers. At the end of the program, students will produce a blog post for inclusion on the Eisenhower Institute’s student blog, Ike’s Anvil.

A key component of this program will be an experiential learning trip to the Washington, D.C. area to visit the centers of power where national security decisions are made. As part of this journey, students will participate in a simulation activity with national security professionals to challenge and strengthen their decision-making abilities.

The program is led by Annie Morgan ’06, a Gettysburg College alumna, adjunct professor of political science, and current Department of Defense attorney engaged in investigation of torture and other human rights violations.

Spring 2024 Schedule

Sessions will be biweekly on Tuesday nights during the spring semester, from 6:30-9pm. Exact dates will be announced prior to the start of the semester. 

This program includes a three-day study trip to Washington DC over spring break (March 9-11).

Application Center