Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

This is an archived copy of the 2014-15 Catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Program Overview

Chair, Department of Continuing Studies: Mark L. Parker 
Program Manager: James Dalton

The Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis (BSSSDA) is a degree-completion program designed to build upon the military education and experience of Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The BSSSDA program of study fulfills general education competencies needed to complete the bachelor’s degree while developing a soldier’s knowledge in vital areas such as sociology-anthropology, geography, cultural awareness, regional politics, and international conflict. The program is open to those who are active duty or retired from the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, including reserve and National Guard components, as well as to other service members who are assigned to Special Operations Units.

Instruction in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis at Norwich University is designed to be highly experiential through an integration of the operational and international experiences of SOF soldiers into the curriculum. A soldier will apply course work and study to initiatives and field exercises related to his or her deployment area. Students will conduct research concerning a region’s conflicts and opportunities and will incorporate both their research and field experiences into their program of study, thus potentially enhancing the U.S. Army’s body of knowledge of that region. Principles of critical thinking, ethical decision making, and leadership interweave throughout the curriculum.

Students entering the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program may receive the equivalent of up to 60 semester hours for courses in military training, leadership preparation, and/or language study upon credit review by the American Council of Education or a similarly recognized organization. Students may also transfer up to an additional 24 semester-credit hour equivalents from other accredited institutions of higher education. Transfer courses must meet specific course requirements in the SSDA program. Students complete the remaining credits through Norwich University in a structured program that will typically require two to four years to complete, depending upon a student’s full-time or part-time enrollment status and military deployment schedule.

Students in the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program will graduate with the major competencies needed to implement the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Forces agenda in a specific region of the globe. These competencies include the ability to:

  • Identify, describe, and explain the geographic features of the region.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the history of the region and its impact on current events.
  • Identify various cultures of the region, explain similarities and differences among them, and apply this knowledge to develop problem solving strategies within a range of contexts.
  • Identify political figures in the region, analyze their positions on various issues, and apply this knowledge to develop effective collaborative relationships and/or intervention strategies.
  • Understand the economics of the region, analyze a range of economic factors, and formulate recommendations for economic activities.
  • Appraise and articulate the role of the United States within the region.
  • Appraise and articulate the role of the US Army within the region.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to cross cultural competence.

The Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree curriculum is divided into four areas of instruction. The first area, core knowledge, ensures that students complete general education courses required for a bachelor's degree at Norwich University. The second area, program courses, addresses specific learning needs of the SOF and related communities. The third area, field studies, allows students to put their knowledge into practice by exploring a specific region’s economic, geographic, and cultural systems and making recommendations to help effect change within a region. The program culminates with a Capstone Project that is supervised by a faculty member. The Capstone Project is intended to contribute to the U.S. Army’s body of knowledge of regions around the globe including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

Curriculum Requirements  

Pre-Program Education and Training

Students accepted into the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program must have earned a minimum of 60 semester credits from college courses, military training, or other educational experiences such as CLEP tests. A maximum of 84 semester credits may be transferred into the program. General education courses listed below are required unless applicants transfer in approved coursework or training from other institutions.

Number of Semester Credits

General Education Courses
ENGL 270Military Literature3
HIST 310Historical Studies3
MATH 232Elementary Statistics3
RELG 300Comparative Religion3
SCIE 301Environmental Science3
SSDA 306Science and Technology Visual Augmentation Defense Systems3
Program Courses
Students complete 18 credits of the following:18
Tech-Mediated Communication3
Strategic Communications3
Socio-Economic Studies3
History of US Constitution3
Operations & Project Mngt3
Strategic Planning3
Critical Thinking3
National Security Policy3
Comparative Politics3
International Terrorism3
Military Sociology3
Intro to Cultural Competence3
Emergency and Disaster Relief Operations6
Insurgency and Conflict6
Information Operations6
Field Studies
Students complete 18 credits of the following:18
Economic Studies6
Culture and Anthropology6
Area Studies6
SSDA 400The Capstone Project6
INDE 490Selected Topics6
Total Credits60
Faculty Member Institution at which highest degree was earned
Edwin (Leigh) Armistead, PhDEdith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
Laurette Brady, MBASt. Joseph's University
Jack Covarrubias, MAUniversity of Southern Mississippi
John Covell, MSTroy State University
Allison Greene, PhDOld Dominion University
Victoria Greene, MSUniversity of Vermont
John Jennings, PhDUniversity of Hawaii
R. Alan King, MAWebster University
Cynthia Levy, PhDAcademy of Sciences/Zriayi Miklos National Defense University (Hungary)
Charles Lynch, MSNaval Post Graduate School
Martin McMahon, MLittMiddlebury College
Greg Makuch, MSTroy University
Randall H. Miller, MANorwich University
Brett Morash, MAUS Naval War College
Darlene Olsen, PhDState University of New York, Albany
Robert Pauly, PhDOld Dominion University
Russell Ramsey, PhDUniversity of Florida
Robert Greene Sands, PhDUniversity of Illinois
Shawn White, PhDUniversity of Georgia
Lea Williams, PhDUniversity of Oregon

Communication Courses

COMM 205 Tech-Mediated Communication 3 Credits

A study of human communication and the effect of modern technology on it. Students review basic communication theory, including non-verbal and intercultural communication, and then evaluate the impact of technology on the effectiveness and efficiency of communication. Topics include: spoken vs. written communication; synchronous vs. asynchronous communication; the status of world languages on the internet; the impact of social media; modern workplace communication; and trends in the development of communication technology.

COMM 302 Data Analysis and Writing 3 Credits

This course is designed to strengthen the technological, analytical, and written communications skills needed in careers in law enforcement, intelligence, and security. Students identify certain key data resources, and apply the data obtained in various communication contexts. The course emphasizes specific types of documents and communication channels used in the law enforcement community. Pre-requisite: SOCI209.

COMM 305 Strategic Communications 3 Credits

This course introduces students to principles of strategic communication. The course provides a detailed understanding of the important role that participatory web media play in strategic communication. Topics include understanding and defining strategic communication, public diplomacy, who is responsible for conducting strategic communication, challenges of U.S. strategic communication, improving strategic communication, and the future of strategic communication. Practical application of the tenets of strategic communication will be accomplished by reviewing and critiquing high-profile cases from the Iraq war and other significant events. This course will enable students to identify and apply the basic characteristics of effective strategic communication. Prerequisite: None.

COMM 312 Intercultural Communication 3 Credits

This course prepares the student to communicate effectively in both written and verbal forms within the context of a multi-cultural society. The course covers best practices in investigative reporting, written reports and memos, and interpersonal verbal communication within criminal justice settings, including interactions with victims, suspects, incarcerated persons, government officials, community leaders, staff, and civilians. 3 lecture hours. Pre-requisites: none.

Defense Analysis Courses

SSDA 306 Science and Technology Visual Augmentation Defense Systems 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the primary concepts of visual augmentation defense technology, particularly with regard to its use by the U.S. Federal Government and the Department of Defense. Students learn the history and evolution of optics as well as the scientific principles that underlie development and utilization of selected technologies. Pre-requisites: none.

SSDA 310 Emergency and Disaster Relief Operations 6 Credits

This course examines the principles used by emergency managers to respond to local or regional disasters. Students examine the NIMS (National Incident Management System) and other standards governing emergency management. Pre-requisites: None.

SSDA 315 Insurgency and Conflict 6 Credits

Students compare and contrast selected insurgencies and counter-insurgencies from across the globe. Students gain knowledge needed to analyze and establish mission profiles for past, present and future conflicts. Pre-requisite: None.

SSDA 320 Information Operations 6 Credits

This course introduces students to the overall concept of information warfare (IW) and information operations (IO), particularly in regard to the US federal government and Department of Defense. Pre-requisites: None.

SSDA 400 The Capstone Project 6 Credits

Students analyze and synthesize program learning with a particular focus on ethics and leadership. Students analyze ethical scenarios and a tactical ethics text and present an in-depth ethical analysis paper. Students must address how their work will contribute to the U.S. Military’s body of knowledge about the topic(s) under discussion. Pre-requisites: Completion of all SSDA courses or permission of the Department Chair.

Economics Courses

ECON 310 Socio-Economic Studies 3 Credits

Students explore tenets and characteristics of various economics systems, analyze economic indicators, conceptualize problems and recommend possible solutions. Pre- requisites: None.

ECON 401 Economic Studies 6 Credits

In this regional economics course, students complete a research project to analyze the economy of a country or region of interest. Students survey and evaluate the economic institutions and infrastructure of the region. Local, regional and global challenges and opportunities that exist in the region will be explored. The study will include recommendations for improving the well-being of people by strengthening the region’s economic institutions and infrastructure. The course will culminate with a substantive research paper. Pre-requisites: Completion of ECON 310 or permission of Chair of Department of Continuing Studies.

English Courses

ENGL 250 Crime in Literature 3 Credits

A course in which students read and discuss works of literature that explore the ethical, social, and philosophical implications of criminal behavior and society's response to it. Prerequisite: Either EN102, EN108 or transfer equivalent from prior learning. 3 lecture hours. A recommended literature course for fulfillment of General Education, or Bachelor of Arts degree requirements in Literature, Arts and Humanities, or English.

ENGL 270 Military Literature 3 Credits

A study of men and women in war and the military service, their ideals, experiences, and strategies as seen in foreign and American military literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Pre-requisites: EN102 or EN108 or equivalency.

History Courses

HIST 210 History of US Constitution 3 Credits

A study of the political, economic, and social contexts of the creation of the Constitution and the significant amendments to it. Emphasis is on the role of the judicial branch in constitutional matters; the effects of social change in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries; and the impact of technology on contemporary constitutional issues.

HIST 310 Historical Studies 3 Credits

This is an overview of the historical development of political, cultural and economic behavior of institutions within a specific geographical context. Students will focus on a specific region, e.g., the Middle East, Latin America, Sub-Sahara Africa or Asia. Students will explore and develop an in-depth understand of the history of a region and the impact of that history on current events. Pre-requisites: none.

HIST 411 History of Diplomacy I 3 Credits

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview and analysis of diplomacy and international relations from 1648 to 1914. The course focuses on the historical foundations of the modern state system and on the effects of globalization and its influence on decision-making in diplomacy. The course is offered three times per year and is eight weeks in length. Prerequisite: Permission of the program manager.

HIST 412 History of Diplomacy II 3 Credits

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview and analysis of diplomacy and international relations from 1914 to the present. The course builds on the material covered in HIST 411 – History of Diplomacy I and focuses on the historical foundations of the modern state system and on the effects of globalization and its influence on decision-making in diplomacy. The course is offered three times per year and is eight weeks in length. Prerequisite: HIST 411.

Independent Study Courses

INDE 490 Selected Topics 6 Credits

Students will study a specific topic of interest under the direction of a faculty member. Pre-requisites: To be determined on an individual basis.

Information Operations Courses

INOP 302 Cyber Crime and Security 3 Credits

This course provides an in-depth understanding of how science and technology impacts national security and intelligence. It examines how important hard science and technology is in developing areas of national security and intelligence. This includes analyzing cyber-security and cyber-warfare, the emerging relationship between the Intelligence Community (IC) and Information Technology (IT), space reconnaissance, and high-tech domestic espionage. Pre-requisites: none. Note: this course is under development and will be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.

INOP 310 Emergency & Disaster Relief 6 Credits

This course examines how emergency managers respond to national, state, or local disasters. Students gain a broad understanding of the functions, challenges, key concepts and organizing principles of U.S. emergency management. Emphasis is placed on how emergency management is structured and organized by examining the National Response Framework (NRF), the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the Incident Command System (ICS) as well as other standards that govern emergency management in the United States. Students will apply their learning to develop an emergency plan capable of addressing identified threats. This course requires broad knowledge, in-depth understanding, analysis, synthesis, and creativity in regard to the topics addressed. Pre-requisites: none. Note: this course is under development and will be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.

INOP 316 Info Ops & Infrastructure 3 Credits

This course focuses on the skills required to operate a security program in an organization and the practical application of security practices. Topics include security structure, leading security projects, policy management, human factors of security, and physical security methods. Pre-requisites: none. Note: this course is under development and will be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.

Management Courses

MNGT 311 Operations & Project Mngt 3 Credits

This course is designed to introduce a broad overview of operations and project management, while exploring a number of important concepts critical to achieving operations and project management success. Operations management is broad in scope, encompassing products and services in a multitude of forms. These products and services range from the cars we drive, the computers we use, the Internet we access, to military operations that safeguard our county. In effect, operations management, as a field, encompasses the activities and tasks that create value for the goods and services all of us use in a variety of ways. In addition, this course will explore project management from the focus on the "nuts and bolts" or fundamentals of project management and practices, and how is supports operations management strategic goals and objectives. We'll also examine some of the key elements of project management from the project management life cycle, key processes and important tools, techniques and measurements of project. Pre-requisites: None. Note: this course is under development and will be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.

MNGT 315 Leadership 3 Credits

In this course students learn key theoretical models of leadership and apply them to a range of situations in both military and non-military organizations. Students identify key functions and skills of effective leaders, explore leadership styles through study of selected leaders and evaluate the role of communication, negotiation, strategy, purpose and ethics in leadership. Prerequisite: none.

MNGT 320 Strategic Planning 3 Credits

This course is designed to enhance the critical and creative thinking skills needed to solve complex and ill-defined problems. The key themes are problem framing, operational art, leadership, and the outcomes for human security. Students focus on historical and contemporary examples of strategic level planning in highly complex operations and use this learning as a framework for problem solving within and across agencies. Students complete a major team project that leverages skills learned to focus on a complex problem vignette that requires creating a course of action for the leader to meet the desired end state. There are no pre-requisites.

Mathematics Courses

MATH 232 Elementary Statistics 3 Credits

A course that covers the study of frequency distributions, averages and standard deviations, normal curve, probability, decision-making, sampling techniques, testing hypotheses, chi-square, students-t and F-distributions, correlation and linear regression. Prerequisite: A college level mathematics course or equivalent as determined by departmental placement testing.

Philosophy Courses

PHLS 205 Critical Thinking 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the critical thinking skills and techniques needed in academic and research endeavors. Topics covered include formal and informal logic; the structure of logical systems; argumentation; and the relationship of logic to research and the scientific method. Emphasis is placed on learning to recognize common logical fallacies.

PHLS 324 Criminal Justice Ethics 3 Credits

This course provides a short introduction to general ethics, with applications to practices and problems in the criminal justice field. It uses the case study method to focus on immediate decisions which involve ethical dilemmas and typically face criminal justice professionals in the police, courts, and corrections. It also studies a selection of more general issues involving the criminal justice system which are of common public concern, as well as the deeper question of why certain forms of behavior should or should not be criminalized. In this connection, a selection of recent high-profile Supreme and Appeals Court cases in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties will be discussed. The emphasis is on developing discussion skills and familiarity with essential patterns of legal and moral reasoning. This course satisfies the University's General Education Ethics requirement. 3 lecture hours.

Political Science Courses

POLS 302 National Security Policy 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the issues and institutions of national security policy. Successful students will have an appreciation of strategic thought and strategy formulation, the ability to assess national security issues and threats, and an understanding of the political and military institutions invovled in the making and execution of national security policy. Pre-requisites: none.

POLS 306 Comparative Politics 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the basic methods, concepts and substance of comparative politics. Special attention will be paid to institutions and behaviors as well as development and modernization theories. The course provides students with tools to address such questions as: What is a political system? What are the different varieties of democracies and authoritarian regimes? Are some regimes more vulnerable to political violence than others? What explains the transition from authoritarianism to democracy and can that process be reversed? How does geography impact the political, economic, and social development of a region? Pre- requisites: none.

POLS 316 Domestic Terrorism 3 Credits

This course traces the history, emergence, and growth of domestic terrorist and extremist groups within the United States. Students will assess various groups' intentions, capabilities, and activities within contexts of and ramifications on political, national security, and legal paradigms. Topics include current and active domestic groups and their organizational structure, philosophies, and networks. Pre-requisites: none.

POLS 318 International Terrorism 3 Credits

This course addresses the effects of a variety of forms of sub-state violence on world affairs. Topics include sources of terrorism, its major characteristics, the problems it poses for global peace and stability, responses to terrorism by countries and international organizations, and the problem of balancing public safety and personal freedom in dealing with terrorism. Pre-requisites: none.

POLS 325 Immigration Law and Policy 3 Credits

This course touches upon the major policy debates currently swirling around immigration reform and policy. Students will examine social changes and the development of immigration law over the last few decades, including the emergence and role of social change movements. Other topics to be explored include undocumented immigration, international coordination on migration, judicial review and due process, refugee and asylum policy, immigration and employment, border security, state and local enforcement of immigration law, and the relationship between immigration law and crime. Pre-requisites: none. Note: this course is under development and will be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.

Religion Courses

RELG 300 Comparative Religion 3 Credits

Based upon myth and built upon ritual, religious thought affects politics, economics, international relations and security. This course provides learners with the opportunity to explore and analyze the similarities and differences of world religions to better understand the impact of belief systems and religious themes on culture, human history and current affairs. Pre-requisites: None.

Science Courses

SCIE 202 Science, Technology and Procedures in Forensic Investigations 3 Credits

The course will focus on the scientific principles behind the recognition, collection, preservation, analysis and interpretation of physical evidence found at a crime scene. This course presents the science and technology used by modern forensic professionals that is best suited for non-science majors. The emphasis is placed on practical forensic applications of scientific principles in the areas of chemistry, physics, biology, geology and others. This is a lab science class where each week the student will have an online lab activity or case study in which to apply the various principles of forensic science covered in the course.

SCIE 301 Environmental Science 3 Credits

A study of the dynamic interaction between human and environment with emphasis on ecosystem structure and function; the study, analysis and identification of optimal solutions to local and regional environmental issues and problems; and short- and long-term strategies for natural disaster or post-conflict remedial measures. Pre- requisites: none.

Sociology Courses

SOCI 209 Methods of Social Science Research 3 Credits

The purpose of this course is to develop a working understanding of social science research and research methodology, with an emphasis on its application within the criminal justice field. The course covers the purposes and rationale for conducting social science research, formulation of research design from problem or issue identification, and descriptions of different research designs and their applications. Pre-requisites: SSMA 232.

SOCI 220 Cultural Issues & CJ System 3 Credits

This course explores the issues of race and ethnicity as they relate to crime and our criminal justice system in a culturally diverse society. Students will examine the broader social context of race and ethnicity in our American society, with a special focus on the changing ethnicity of communities and related changes in social and institutional public policy. Students will also learn how cultural diversity impacts the roles of the police, our court system, and correctional facilities; how it influences the death penalty; and how it affects juvenile and minority youth justice. Other discussion topics include cross-cultural communication, the implementation of cultural awareness training, multicultural representation in law enforcement, and criminal justice interaction. Pre-requisites: none.

SOCI 322 Drugs and Gangs 3 Credits

This course analyzes transnational crime and corruption issues within global politics. Focus is given to potential national and international responses to transnational threats. Students also examine the increasing relevance of criminality and governmental corruption and how it becomes a major aspect of national security policy. Pre-requisites: none.

SOCI 325 Public Safety Diverse Society 3 Credits

Students learn about law enforcement issues in a society with increasing physical, cultural and economic diversity. Topics include women and minorities in policing, conflict resolution, cross cultural communication, building community relationship and partnerships, and controversial issues such as racial profiling. Pre-requisites: none.

SOCI 330 Military Sociology 3 Credits

This course provides a sociological perspective of the military as both an institution and as an occupation. It examines the social structure and functions of the military and the social factors that influence behavior in and of the military. In terms of function, it examines the changing purposes of the military in view of changing national and international conditions; and in terms of structure, it examines the norms, values, traditions, organizations, and culture of the military. It is designed to provide greater insight into the routine life within the military and into contemporary issues confronting the military. Pre-requisites: none.

SOCI 335 Intro to Cultural Competence 3 Credits

Students learn key concepts in the study of cultures and explore how culture and cultural contexts and language influence values, expectations, behavior, communication styles and conflict resolution. Pre-requisites: None.

SOCI 401 Culture and Anthropology 6 Credits

Students complete a study for a particular region in relation to its culture, social groups and organizations, social stratification, and other relevant characteristics of the region. The study will include a comparative analysis of the various cultures and ethnic minorities that exist throughout the region. The study will further explore how the legal structure of the region deals with the cultural challenges and opportunities in the region. The study will include recommendations for improvement and/or strengthening the regions’ societies. The course culminates with a substantive research paper. Pre-requisites: Completion of SOCI 335 or permission of Department Chair.

SOCI 406 Area Studies 6 Credits

Students complete a study which surveys and evaluates a particular region in relation to its geographic location, diversity and resources. The study should include a summation of the geography of the region and how it relates to implementation of a project or the resolution of a problem in the region. It will examine the current natural resources and resource challenges of the region, paying particular attention to mineral, oil, water and other high valued items present in the region. It will analyze future challenges of the region in terms of geography as well as resources. The study will include recommendations for improvement and/or strengthening the region’s resources. The course will culminate with a substantive research paper. Pre-requisites: Completion of HIST 310 Historical Studies or permission of Department Chair.