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National Security Management

The program's flagship is a course in National Security Management (NSM). NSM develops senior executives of military, government and industry organizations to perform confidently in roles for which in-depth knowledge of national security affairs is essential. Graduates of NSM at Syracuse join a distinguished cadre of over 2,000 alumni who form a powerful network of leaders in U.S. national security affairs.

The course is geared to the needs of senior executives who are navigating the transition from enterprise leadership to the management of policy challenges at a national scale and scope. Accordingly, the class comprises mostly flag/general officers of the U.S. military, senior executive/Foreign Service civilians, and executive vice presidents in commercial enterprises. However, those at the ranks of O-6/GS-15 and their commercial equivalents may also apply.

Classroom time involves a mix of keynote addresses, case studies, lectures and practical exercises addressing a range of the most important topics that comprise a rounded primer in national security affairs. Its 60 hours of instruction are delivered over seven weeks in a hybrid format that is organized into two phases.

The fall 2024 program fee is $10,000, which covers tuition, curricular materials, housing, meals and course-related transportation. Participants will only be responsible for expenses associated with transportation to/from Syracuse University. Payment for the course is due before the first day of class.

Students will be awarded a Maxwell School Executive Education certificate upon the successful completion of the course. Those who wish to earn academic credit for participation in the NSM course may do so by completing an independent study assignment under the supervision of a Maxwell School faculty member.


Phase I

The first 20 hours are delivered online in weekly four-hour sessions over five weeks. The objective of Phase I is to instill knowledge of the building blocks of national security affairs:

  • Tectonics: global trends that shape the national security landscape.
  • Strategy: the theory of grand strategy and its expression in national security strategies.
  • Hard Power: the military, kinetic instruments of national power.
  • Soft Power: the diplomatic, economic and information instruments of power.
  • Technology: how advanced technologies give impetus to the dynamics of national security.

Phase II

The 40-hour balance of the course is delivered over seven successive days in-person, on campus at Syracuse University. The objective of Phase II is to explore the application of knowledge to solving practical challenges of national security leadership and policymaking: 

  • In the Arena: first-hand accounts of distinguished national security leaders.
  • The Kinmen Crisis: an inter-agency crisis simulation in which students play the roles of executive branch officials and elected representatives in Congress.
  • Project Kyiv: a study group exercise involving small groups working in collaboration with Maxwell School faculty to explore the implications for national security affairs of the Russo-Ukraine War.
  • The Erie Canal: a “staff ride” through downtown Syracuse to consider the early 19th-century history of the Erie Canal as an exemplar of grand strategy.


“Outstanding course overall. The quality of presenters and topics were second to none. As the course progressed, when I didn't think it could get better another great session would follow.” — 2021 NSM Alum

The Discipline and Practice of Strategy

Developed in collaboration with the Strategic Leadership Division of the U.S. Army Staff, Discipline and Practice of Strategy (D&PS) is a short course in executive education for midcareer professionals. Those who succeed in the course will have learned the habits of mind and repertoire of actions that constitute a practical discipline of strategy.

The course is designed to give the practicing professional strategist knowledge of strategy as a specific discipline, an awareness of its application to the special class of challenges that truly warrant its exercise, and a toolkit of how to think strategically, formulate strategies, and act with strategic coherence.

The syllabus comprises 24 hours of instruction organized into eight, three-hour sessions, which include:

  • An Overview of Strategy, which teaches a framework of strategy as a discipline.
  • Grand Strategy, which teaches the application of strategy to advance a national purpose.
  • The Erie Canal: America's First Grand Strategy, which teaches the story of this early 19th-century engineering marvel and its economic, social, and geopolitical impact.
  • Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, which teaches the strategic precepts of Richard Rumelt.
  • Strategy Implementation, which teaches three toolkits to guide the formulation and implementation of strategies.
  • Case Study, which organizes students into small groups to analyze a real-life strategic challenge and present a diagnosis and recommendation about it to a review panel.

The summer 2024 program fee is $5,000, which covers tuition, curricular materials, housing, meals and course-related transportation. Participants will only be responsible for expenses associated with transportation to/from Syracuse University. Payment for the course is due before the first day of class.

Students will be awarded a Maxwell School Executive Education certificate upon the successful completion of the course.

“Well worth my time and my agency’s investment.” — 2021 NSM Alum

Frequently Asked Questions

Non-Attribution Policy

This is an unclassified executive development program and all presentations, comments, and discussions among peers, staff, faculty and guest speakers are not for attribution.

University Resources

Class participants will formally register for this course.  As a registered Syracuse University student, you will have access to many University resources, both virtually and when on campus. Our staff looks forward to working with you one-on-one, to assist you in discovering resources, and providing guidance and support ahead of the course start, and  throughout the entire program. 

Online there are several services and applications available to you. The NSM course uses Office 365, primarily MS Teams and SharePoint, to deliver course content and host virtual weekly meetings. SUMail accounts are also provided, utilizing Microsoft's cloud services.

All class participants will have access to Syracuse Libraries throughout the entire course, both virtually and in person.

When on campus, you will have access to campus fitness and workout facilities.


The program fee covers the cost of all ground transportation to and from course-related events. Program participants, or their sponsoring agency, are responsible for the total cost and arrangements for transportation to and from Syracuse, New York.



You will stay at the Collegian Hotel and Suites, within walking distance of the Maxwell School, where the majority of your classes will be held. Once you register for the course, we will secure your reservation at the hotel.

The program fee covers all lodging expenses and meals, the majority of which will be served either in private hotel dining facilities or catered on campus. Telephone charges and miscellaneous expenses such as room service, alcoholic beverages, movies or dry cleaning are your own personal obligations.


Daily Schedule (On-campus NSM, November 2-8)

9 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Program sessions and activities, lunch break
2 - 5 p.m.: Program sessions and activities
6 - 8 p.m.: Variation of informal and formal dinners on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday


Weather in Upstate New York in June can be unpredictable but is most often warm and dry. Please visit our local news web page for the most updated forecast.

“The single best short (1-2 weeks) professional development course I’ve taken.” — 2021 NSM Alum

Grundman headshot

Steven Grundman

Program Manager

David M. Van Slyke

David Van Slyke

Co-Director, NSS
Dean, Maxwell School

Steven Lux

Steve Lux

Co-Director, NSS
Director, Executive Education

“Thank you for creating this amazing program and the opportunity to meet so many other senior leaders. This is hands-down the most well thought out and professional course I have attended.” — 2019 NSM Alum


Executive Education Department
219 Maxwell Hall