Saturday, May 18, 2013

Exam Prep

I'm preparing for two exams: Global Security Issues (GSI) and Strategic Nuclear Doctrine (SND). I have a lot of material to review. For starters, I'm going to review several of the topics from last semester's Strategic Theory curriculum - particularly deterrence, arms control, and alliances. Ironically, pretty much all of that is for SND. I'm fortunate this semester, as there's a lot of overlap between GSI and SND. I've made a list of primary review topics...
Primary Study Topics
  • United States / United States global strategy and perspectives
  • Russia / Russian security policies and objectives
  • NATO’s Nuclear Posture / European security challenges
  • United Kingdom / Anglo-American "Special Relationship"
  • Israel / Security in the Levant
  • Alternative Nuclear Futures (SND)
  • Formation and Evolution of Strategic Nuclear Doctrine (SND)
  • Gulf security (GSI)
  • Political Islam (GSI)
  • ... and a list of secondary review topics...
    Secondary Study Topics
  • China / China’s role in Asia-Pacific security arrangements
  • India and Pakistan / Tensions in the sub-continent
  • Thoughts about post-Cold War security (GSI)
  • Japan and international security (GSI)
  • Salient security issues in sub-Saharan Africa (GSI)
  • Water as a security issue (GSI)
  • Legal and Moral Issues Relating to Nuclear Weapons (SND)
  • ... to organize myself. Those topics with a slash between them are topics in which the content overlaps between the two courses. So, I've put together complementary POA&Ms - "Plans of Action and Milestones", a phrase I picked up doing network security work - for studying. First, GSI...

    GSI Study POA&M
    [ ] Pick Five GSI Topics
    [ ] Review Oil Cuttings
    [ ] Review GSI Slide Decks
    [ ] Listen to Kagan #1 x2
    [ ] Listen to Kagan #2 x2
    [ ] Listen to Kagan #3 x2
    [ ] Review Operational Strategy Documents
    [ ] Review Atomic Kingdom
    [ ] Read MCDP 1-1 Strategy
    [ ] Assemble Book List (Goodreads) for Review

    ... and then SND.

    SND Study POA&M
    [ ] Pick Five SND Topics
    [ ] Review SND Slides
    [ ] Review Gray's Modern Strategy
    [ ] Review Gray's Another Bloody Century
    [ ] Review Sloan's Modern Military Strategy
    [ ] Review Wohlstetter's The Delicate Balance of Terror
    [ ] Review Brodie's The Anatomy of Deterrence
    [ ] Review Martin's The Two-Edged Sword
    [ ] Review Freedman's The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy
    [ ] Review relevant ST Slides (Deterrence, Arms Control, Alliances)
    [ ] Review seminar note sheets
    [ ] Define Deterrence
    [ ] Define Narrow Deterrence
    [ ] Define Broad Deterrence
    [ ] Define Extended Deterrence
    [ ] Define Central Deterrence
    [ ] Define Deterrence by Denial
    [ ] Define Deterrence by Punishment
    [ ] Define General Deterrence
    [ ] Define Immediate Deterrence
    [ ] Review NPRs, et cetera

    The SND exam is the one I'm most concerned about, since a lot of the material was new to me this semester and my professional experience - mostly with the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps - hasn't focused much on nuclear strategy, which has tended to be a primarily Air Force-centric discipline save for a limited niche in the Navy's submarine force. I'm a lot more comfortable with GSI, but I'm going to try to combine my study topics in order to cover specific regions, in addition to some materials specific to each individual course.

    I'll have about seventy-two hours, maybe slightly less, between the two exams, which will give me some additional time to study for one or the other. I'll have to check, but I think that SND is the second of the two, which will help a bit. Either way, I have a lot of work ahead of me for the next week and a half, but I feel, ironically, that I have more productive time to work on this than I did for last semester's exams.


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