POLS348 National Security: Nature and Perspectives for Development



Study of the evolution and comprehension of the security concept and its interpretation as a public national security policy. Analyses of the comprehensive security problematic through the prisms of national, societal, international, and human security concepts.


The course elaborates the basic concepts and ideas, the structure and dynamics within the field of national security in the contemporary world. It analyses and outlines the present national security threats and likely future challenges. The course’ learning blocks are the evolving concept of security, organising for national security, and the security challenges that policy has cope with recently and in future.

The course aims to introduce students to the theoretical, political, policy, and management aspects of national security, as well as to comprehend their understanding of the societal and human dimensions of contemporary security.

The study will be directed in two different but bounded and mutually reinforcing approaches. The first one (during the initial period of the course) will discuss the question, ‘what the security is’ regarding values, subjects, objects, and public policy. The second approach will answer the question, ‘what does the security do’ analysing the political processes of “securitisation” and ‘de-securitisation’ and their impact on democracy, governance, society, and country’s international relations.

Presenting the two approaches, we will enlighten, argue, and illustrate the theoretical discourse and practical exploration of the essential questions, formulated by Barry Buzan in its seminal work “The Evolution of the International Security Studies” (2008):

? Who, along with the state, are the real security actors in theory and practice? What should be secured – the individuals; the societal groups; the nation; the state’s attributes as borders, territory, independence, and sovereignty; the regional or global security? How to respond to the on-going ‘fusion’ of the referent objects across the ‘external and “internal,’ national and state, state and international?

? How to define the national security domain regarding government public policy? Should the focus be only on external threats or the internal should also be considered as national security issues?

? How comprehensive could the national security policy be? What other than defence (military security) aspects should be considered equally important priorities, e.g., societal, economic, environmental, health, development, demography, gender, and others?

? Shall the national security concept and policy be seen as extreme and exceptional, with those situations that would not just raise difficulties, but could wipe out the nation or they should be expanded according to the actors/threats’ dynamic? How the expanded security policy measures and operations could affect the liberal democratic regime and the people way of life?

We will also reveal and discuss the mechanism (security sector’ organisation, norms, operations, and decision-making) of national security governance on the examples of the most advanced democratic countries, answering questions as:

? What are the threats to security, the internal vulnerabilities, and the level of risk?

? Which values to be secured?

? By which means and strategies is security to be achieved?

? How many resources should be devoted to security?

? Who is to do the securing?

The documentation of national security strategy as a political effort of balancing the national security aims and ambitions with the relevant instruments and resources is an object of particular attention.

The course’ materials reflect military, nuclear, terrorism, cyber, hybrid, migration, demographic, environmental, financial, energy, health, and gender aspects of security.

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Politique internationale


Valeri Rachev

Course Description:



Through the lectures, readings, and discussion, students will get a sense for the evolution of the security theory and its practical exploration in the current politics. The course will help them develop a better understanding of ‘security’ as a contemporary political and social phenomenon, projected on both domestic and international affairs. On completion of the course, students achieve the following competencies and skills:

? To understand and be able to interpret the fundamental concepts, principles, strategies, and practices of national security policy.

? To be able to apply critical thinking in examining real domestic security problems.

? To perceive the multi-facet character of the interaction between security, defence, and foreign policy and be able to think strategically on national politics.

? To be qualified to compare, contrast, and assess the contending versions of national security policy from international relations perspectives.

? To demonstrate effective communication skills in writing and speaking, as well as a capacity for independent research and group discussions.

English language profeciency.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:



General source of reference:

Collins, A. (ed.) Contemporary Security Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 – first published).

Recommended reference readings:

Bartholomees, B. Jr. (ed.) U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Policy and Strategy, Vol I. and II (Carlisle: SSI, 2012). Available at http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1109 and http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1110

Katzenstein Peter J. (ed.) The Culture of National Security. Norms and Identity in World Politics (NY: CU Press, 1996).

Nye, Joseph S., Jr., The Future of Power (NY: PublicAffairs, 2011).

Shinoda, H., ‘ Chapter 1: The Concept of Human Security: Historical and Theoretical Implications,’ IPSHU English Research Report Series No.19 Conflict and Human Security: A Search for New Approaches of Peace-building (2004). Available at home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/heiwa/Pub/E19/chap1.pdf

Recommended electronic journals and influential reports:

International Security (Quarterly Journal) - http://www.belfercenter.org/journal-international-security/overview

International Security - http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/isec

Intelligence and National Security - http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fint20/current

The Counter Terrorist magazine - http://www.thecounterterroristmag.com/

Security Dialogue - http://journals.sagepub.com/home/sdi

Disarmament Diplomacy – journal of the Acronym Institute, providing in-depth and critical coverage of disarmament negotiations, arms control and international security: www.acronym.org.uk/dd/index.htm

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – journal on all things nuclear, with reliable data on nuclear arsenals of nuclear states – www.thebulletin.org/

Federation of American Scientists http://www.fas.org/index.html

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: http://www.nuclearfiles.org/ and http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/

Arms Control Association: http://www.armscontrol.org

Global Security - http://www.globalsecurity.org/index.html

Final Report of the Commission on Human Security, 2003, in www.humansecurity-chs.org

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, ‘Responsibility to

Protect’, 2003 in www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/iciss-ciise/menu-en.asp

Kofi Annan, ‘We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century’,

www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/summ.htm pp. 1-7

Kofi Annan, address on proliferation at Princeton University, 2007: http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sg/stories/AnnanKeySpeeches.asp