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Masters Degree in Global and National Security

Representatives from national laboratories and defense industries in New Mexico have expressed strong interest in a masters degree that would prepare personnel who already hold advanced degrees in engineering and physical sciences fields to have a stronger understanding of the broader strategic, political/institutional, and cultural contexts in which defense, security, and technology policies are made and implemented. Because many of the scientists and engineers who need this training are employed full-time, the course delivery format should be minimally disruptive of regular work obligations, perhaps following the model of the Anderson School of Management’s Executive MBA program. That format concentrates classroom time over a limited number of very intensive long weekends, with home assignments in between, and is therefore more feasible for students holding regular professional positions.

The Masters degree program, like the graduate certificate, would be based on a series of interdisciplinary modules that draw on multiple perspectives to address such issues as international systemic risks, impact and management of technological change, and the interface of institutions and cultures. The Global and National Security Policy Institute’s Advisory Board would develop the national security graduate certificate and the masters degree program in cooperation with UNM schools and departments and with the national security labs and industry. The interdisciplinary, team-taught, long weekend modules would be delivered over one-two years. Each module is six graduate credit hours; a total of six modules or 36 credit hours would satisfy the degree. The Modules include such topics as international regimes, innovation, environmental security and resiliency, nuclear policy, law, global, natural resources, health, human and cyber security.

The non-traditional masters degree in national security will incorporate a series of modules delivered in one-two years across long weekends (Wednesday-Saturday or Thursday-Sunday). Following are a few examples of such modules:

1. Globalization, Technology, Innovation, and National Security:  This module would focus on international competitiveness as a basis for economic and, therefore, national security. Competitiveness has elements of technology development and innovation, infrastructure in all of its forms, financial capabilities to develop and execute such activities and many other interrelated factors. The module will cover international regimes of innovation and resultant economic activities;
technology, R&D and other contributions to innovation in civilian and military products and services; international agreements and cooperation and their effect on competitive activities; and financial systems and their effect on economic and national security and on competitive activities; and e) other related areas.

2. International Regimes: This module would focus on international interactions that take place under the frameworks of rules, institutions, regulatory frameworks, and accepted practices that are referred to in the aggregate as international regimes. Regimes combine elements of international law, international organization, norms, and administrative and bureaucratic systems. Often multiple regimes have bearing on a given set of issues and interactions. This module would require faculty contributions from law, political science, management, economics, and possibly other departments.

3. Environmental Security: Only recently have US agencies begun to take seriously the importance of environmental factors, including climate change, in shaping national security. This module would combine contributions from Earth and Planetary Sciences, Political Science, Economics, and Geography and Environmental Studies to assess the scope of challenges to human and economic security, as well as risks of conflict, associated with environmental stresses. Topics would include the extent or projected climate, physical, and ecological changes; economics of climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation; scope of population displacements; infrastructural requirements of climate adaptation; and empirical analysis of the impact of environment on civil and international conflict.

4. Nuclear Policy and How the Legislative and Executive Branches Function: Most graduates of UNM and most New Mexico employees have a scant knowledge of how Washington works. Some courses on how the executive and the legislative branches function would be good for both undergraduates and graduates as well as employees of the high tech community might be interested. This module should help explain nuclear policy for technical people who are employed in the labs and the national security community.

5.  Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Non-Proliferation and Policy and Science: Interdisciplinary introduction to the nonproliferation. The US and international agencies responsible for development and implementation of nonproliferation policies will be discussed. Social and political dynamics underlying the development of WMD in selected countries. A review of current nonproliferation treaties will also be examined. Discussion of the technological approaches available for verification and implementation of these policies and treaties and of the concept of non-proliferation policy and its application. Current Challenges in Far East Asia and the Middle East will be reviewed.

6.  Nuclear Non-Proliferation - Regional Issues and Capabilities:
 issues arising from nuclear proliferation in certain sensitive regions of the world will be examined. Student projects will focus on nuclear capabilities and intent in South Asian countries as part of regional strategic analysis of the nuclear enterprise. Student research projects are planned to determine through open sources the nuclear capabilities and intent of the countries, such as: development of nuclear strategic and theater forces, development of materials capabilities and capacity for such weapons, development of nuclear industries and power generation, leadership intent, national prestige, and threat perception, political and public understanding of nuclear weapon and energy development issues, and intellectual and technical capabilities in nuclear research and development. Interdisciplinary efforts will be attempted to develop research topics from technical and political/policy viewpoints will be encouraged.

7. The Rule of Law: This module would explore the domestic and international legal constraints on nations and non-state actors during times of war or crises. Topics would include: constitutional law (such as the authorities assigned to the branches of the federal government over foreign affairs), criminal law (such as the essential elements of criminal offenses, including terrorism), national security law (such as the authority of the Executive and the role of the judiciary in times of war), international law (such as the war crimes and genocide), international human rights (such as protections for refugees and minority groups), and domestic preparedness (such as the roles of federal and state agencies in the event of a natural or man-made disaster).

8. Global Health and Human Security: This module combines the diverse fields of public health and preventive medicine, environmental studies and international law in exploring the challenges of population health in globalized world settings. Topics include bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness, epidemiological surveillance of emerging infectious diseases, non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases, social determinants of health, structural violence and the critical roles of governments, business and non-profit organizations in providing transformative leadership.

9. Emergency Preparedness: This module provides an overview of the dynamic world of natural and human generated disasters. Course material covers the various phases of the disaster cycle, ranging from the pre-event phrase through the post-impact emergency response and longer-term recovery periods. Topics include the phases of emergency management; governance and organizational structure, disaster theory, case study of historical disasters, humanitarian assistance and the roles of military, social and economic dimensions of disasters, vulnerability, risk and protective factors, mitigation and environmentalism. As a case study project, learners focus on a hypothetical disaster scenario and assess the existing data frameworks that are currently available to emergency response teams within a given spatial extent. After completing this analysis, learners additionally conceptualize a framework for data collection, coordination and sharing that would improve response times and/or decision-making.

10. Homeland Security and Global Problems: This module provides learners with a broad, up-to-date and interdisciplinary overview of health and human security in the 21st century. Course materials cover making connections to world issues of inequality, work and trade, gender and family, access and success in education, crime, war and states of terror, democracy and human rights, ethnicity and religion, ecology, sustainability and urbanization, poverty and population health, technology and energy.

11. Fundamentals of Cybersecurity: This module covers the fundamental concepts associated with assuring the security of networked computing systems. Key security building blocks including authentication, authorization, encryption and public key infrastructure will be introduced. It also considers the differences between threats and vulnerabilities, and provides a categorization of cybersecurity attacks. Key industry and governmental security standards will be presented, and fundamental principles associated with securing a system will be articulated. Finally, the module will consider how emerging technologies impact the design and implementation of security system architectures.

12. Data Science: This course provides an overview of the key concepts associated with data science. Students will learn how to analyze data in order to gain insights and support data-informed decisionmaking. First, a background on data modeling and ingestion will be provided. This will include data “munging”, that is, the cleaning, sampling, and manipulation of raw data in order to prepare it for analyses. The module will also discuss data structures and database systems that support data analytics over large data sets and statistical analyses, regression, classification and prediction as applied to big data. Finally, the module will consider effective means for presenting analytics results, including discussion of data visualization, dashboards and visual analytics architectures.

13. Understanding Resource Conflict: This module focuses on key concepts in natural resource management, highlighting historical and contemporary case studies of resource-based conflict. Topics include: paradigms for understanding the human- environment relationship, scales of environmental governance, the special complexity of water as a fluid resource, resource dependence, the “resource curse,” intersections of political systems with resource control, and predicted scenarios for various natural resource futures including climate change.

Spring 2017 Module

8-Week Online Module:

Introduction to Directed Energy
Introduction to Cybersecurity

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