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  • National Security Studies

  • 2021 National Security Management Course March 25 - June 11, 2021

    The NSM Spring-’21 course aims to deliver the equivalent content and instruction that is associated with the National Security Studies program at Syracuse but in structure that mixes online and on-campus components. The first half of the course will be delivered online, across a videoconferencing/webinar platform, over ten, 2-1/2 hour sessions scheduled on a weekly basis across the calendar from 25 March 2021 to 3 June 2021. The second half of the course will be delivered during a one-week, on-campus component from early-evening on Sunday, 6 June 2021 through noon on Friday, 11 June 2021  

    Each of the ten online sessions will focus on one of the building blocks of the course:

    • Global context
    • Regional studies (2)
    • US national security strategy
    • US defense budgets and resources
    • Hard-power instruments of national security
    • Soft-power instruments of national security
    • National security institutions and decision-making
    • Technology
    • Business/acquisition

    Like its on-campus equivalent, each session will comprise a combination of keynote addresses, case-studies, lectures, and discussion. 

    The on-campus component will focus on four objectives which cannot readily be undertaken except in-person:

    • Simulation of a national-security crisis (2 days)
    • Exploration of the future-frontier of national security (1 day)
    • Instruction in leadership and management (1 day)
    • Integration of the course (1/2 day)

    The on-campus component also will feature engagement with distinguished figures in national security affairs, both serving and former officials, over the luncheons and dinners of that week. 

    We believe this mixed structure of the course delivers content that is equivalent to the traditional two-week, on-campus format, but in a manner that respects the safety and security of the students, faculty, and university community in consideration of the various risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Register for spring 2021

    “This is my third executive education experience as a General officer and it is by far the BEST! From the incredible instruction, dynamic speakers, to the logistics and organization, it is obvious to me that much work and effort went into putting on this class.” — 2019 NSMC Participant

    National Security Studies (NSS) is a premier professional development program for senior civilian and military executives in both the public and private sectors. The curriculum of this executive education program will include topics of foreign policy, intelligence, terrorism/counterterrorism, management, leadership, homeland security, global economics, and trouble spots around the world, to an array of current challenges facing the nation. This course will specifically focus on a wide spectrum of leader development competencies.

    Our spring 2019 two-week course had 45 distinguished guest speakers. The course included lectures, discussions, simulations, and case studies. The agenda was tailored to meet the emerging issues and ever-changing demands of national security. We are committed to providing senior executives with similar strategic insights necessary to help them successfully navigate these challenging times each year.

    The cost of the program is $9,000 for each attendee. This covers room, board, tuition, group transportation and materials upon arrival. Payment for the course is due before the first day of class. Transportation to and from Syracuse is at the expense of each participant. We have 55 seats available and there is no limit as to the number each agency or organization can send. Personnel at the ranks of 06/GS15, as well as Flag and General Officers, SESs, or those of a non-defense equivalent status, are welcome.

    “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 NSMC Participant

  • About NSS

    The Maxwell School of Syracuse University has provided this program to participants since 1996 with a concentration on developing management, leadership, and decision-making competencies. This is done in the form of a two-week management course conducted each spring at Syracuse University. The National Security Studies Program offers a unique curriculum designed for each course at which distinguished guest speakers and members of the Syracuse University faculty interact with participants in the form of lectures, extended discussions, case studies, and simulations. The goal of the program is to address lessons of history and issues of contemporary relevance to national security.

    NSS is a fully accredited OPM executive development program that is included for credit as a developmental opportunity as part of the SES Candidate Development Programs. NSS is recognized for credit by the Department of Defense, DOD Agencies, the Military Departments, and other Federal Agencies to whom the program has been opened. The Maxwell School of Syracuse University is an accredited institution of higher learning, and the NSS program is a recognized and qualified Executive Leadership Program within the school. An NSS participant is eligible for graduate credit if he/she completes our two-week National Security Management Course, then pursues three credits by submitting an approved topic in the form of a written paper.

    The three credits are awarded through the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School, a top-ranked school of public administration in the nation. The Department and School are members of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), a recognized professional body that reviews and accredits graduate degree programs in public administration. Additionally, Syracuse University is a member of the Middle State Association (MSA), a regional academic accreditation organization.

    During the time the program has resided at Syracuse University, over 2,000 people have participated in the NSS program. Each has received a Certificate of Completion signed by the Maxwell Dean and the Program Director.

    Frequently Asked Questions


    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. Please indicate on the Administrative Registration Form the specific details of your travel plans so we can be prepared to assist you.


    You will stay at the Sheraton University Hotel and Conference Center, just a five-minute walk from 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 tuition 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.

    Weekend Travel, Minnowbrook Conference Center at Blue Mountain Lake 

    Due to the on-going challenges with Coronavirus, travel to Minnowbrook may not occur in 2021. In years past and expected in the future, the class typically takes a two-and-a-half day trip to a Syracuse University retreat in the Adirondacks for a case study simulation.

    Daily Schedule

    Morning classes begin at 8:30 am and generally last three hours. Afterwards, lunch is provided and typically host to distinguished guest speakers. There are three or four hours of lecture and class work in the afternoons, followed by an informal dinner at the Sheraton from 6-8 p.m.

    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.


    You will be assigned a computer account and given access to the library. On campus, you may use Maxwell's internet to complete your assignments and access your home systems.

    The Sheraton Hotel offers free wifi and high-speed ethernet access to those who bring their own laptops.

    Contacting You during the Program

    Colleagues, friends, and family will be able to contact you by mail, email, and phone at either the Maxwell School or the Sheraton Hotel. Contact details will be provided prior to the start of the program.

    Weather and Fun

    Spring weather in upstate New York in May is unpredictable but most often beautiful. Our area also boasts of beautiful lakes, rivers and streams where you might enjoy fishing, canoeing, or kayaking in your free time.

    As a participant of the program, you will have access to campus fitness and workout facilities.

    The Syracuse area is surrounded by some of upstate New York's finest golf courses. If you play golf, bring your clubs. The academic agenda is quite full but does include one afternoon for a golf outing for the class; all participants, regardless of skill level, are encouraged to play a round of golf as our invited guest.

    Optional Activities

    We are proud to have both an Army and Air Force ROTC program here on the SU campus. Each year during the program, volunteers from the class speak to the cadets if available.

  • NSS Staff

  • David Van Slyke

    David Van Slyke
    Co-director, NSS
    Dean, Maxwell School

    Steve Lux

    Steve Lux
    Co-director, NSS
    Director, Executive Education

    Steve Grundman

    Steven Grundman
    Program Manager

    Sue Virgil

    Susan Virgil
    Assistant Director, NSS
    Phone: 315-443-9920 

Executive Education Programs
219 Maxwell Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
Phone: +1.315.443.3759