National Security Courses 

Guest lecturer during a National Security Course

National Security Studies (NSS) courses prepare senior civilian and military leaders for demanding assignments and challenges within a continuously evolving national security environment with respect to policy and strategy. Professional excellence requires the progressive mastery of executive competencies involving management, leadership and decision making.

Educationally, the NSS program is designed to provide the next generation of thinking and leadership skills to course participants. Distinguished guest speakers, a renowned faculty and state-of-the-art classroom facilities on campus are part of this world-class program. The curriculum includes classroom lectures and discussions on a full range of contemporary issues, coupled with exposure to case studies, simulations and staff rides. Participants share the interactive NSS learning experience with colleagues having diverse backgrounds and representing agencies and organizations in the public and private sectors.

NSS is actively engaged in and deeply committed to better meet the demands of the complex and challenging world in which we live. There is a standard of excellence to which the Maxwell School and the National Security Studies staff are responsible for the management and stewardship of a program that uniquely serves the nation.

Selection Process

One of the highlights of the NSS program is that it provides the opportunity for individuals from the private sector and the public sector at all levels – federal, state and local – to work together and become more familiar with the roles of their different agencies and organizations.

Private Sector

NSS will accept applications from any individuals working in the private sector for firms working in the field of national or international security. Examples include think tanks, consulting firms, businesses doing work with the United States government, non-profit organizations, academia, or law firms that have partners working in security-related areas.

Government Agencies

NSS welcomes participants from any government agency, federal, state or local, that deals with national security issues. We ask that applicants for the National Security Management Course (NSMC) be GS-15 (or higher) or equivalent.

Defense Department

In the past many NSS participants have been from the Department of Defense (both military and civilian). While this will no longer exclusively be the case, we welcome any Department of Defense personnel who wish to enroll in one of our courses. We ask that those attending the NSMC be a minimum of GS-15 or O-5. Waivers may be granted people of the next lower rank if promotable.


The cost of attending one of the NSS courses is $10,000 per participant. This cost includes all classroom expenses, room, meals, and group travel costs during the program (i.e. related to the off-campus site visits). It does not, however, include travel to and from Syracuse.