Defense Governance (DG 2021)

The Defense Governance Course 2021 is a virtual 40-hour course that explores relevant concepts, institutions, norms, values, processes, and methodologies related to the functioning and effectiveness of defense governance within a democratic state.

Due to the focus of this course and the limited number of slots available to self-nominated candidates, we will not be accepting applications from non-government civilians (e.g. university professors, consultants, researchers, etc.) or retired military officers who do not currently work as government civilians in a ministry level decision-making capacity.

COURSE OVERVIEW (click on the + below to open the individual items)

The DG course teaches concepts, methodologies, and tools allowing participants to:

  • Define defense governance
  • Discuss the applications of governance within security and defense establishments
  • Explain the nature of defense and the peculiarities of the military culture
  • Characterize the impact of “crises” for defense governance
  • Discuss the relevance of leadership to defense governance
  • Explain the role of defense institutions and of defense documents within a democratic environment
  • Propose models for defense institution building in different democracies
  • Analyze the strategic planning models and their respective relevance to defense governance

This is a three-week course, with a two-week preparatory phase followed by a one-week course held online. Participants use National Defense University's (NDU) distance learning system Blackboard, to download reading material, submit assignments and participate in video conferences. The resident phase is conducted using a combination of individual study, discussions of the readings, small-group discussions and panels, case studies and exercises.


The course content is tailored in response to the policy priorities of both the Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Security Cooperation offices in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as the objectives of US Southern and Northern Commands. In particular, the DG course focuses on subject areas addressing improved ministerial capacity through better institutional governance of the security and defense sectors, in order to have these produce more effective and sustainable contributions. The DG course thus contributes to the larger DoD enterprise focus on Defense Institution Building (DIB).



ADMINISTRATIVE DETAILS (click on the + below to open the individual items)

Participants should be senior-level practitioners (O-5/O-6 and civilian equivalents, e.g., Director-level) from security and defense establishments, understood broadly, with responsibilities for advising and/or contributing to the improvement of security and defense decision-making processes. Particular emphasis should be placed on individuals who are either currently in positions of influencing change (e.g., legislative defense committee chairs) or are expected to move into positions of influence in the near future (e.g., O-6 level officers expected to become flag officers and assume key positions in the institution).

Due to the focus of this course and the limited number of slots available to self-nominated candidates, we will not be accepting applications from non-government civilians (e.g. university professors, consultants, researchers, etc.) or retired military officers who do not currently work as government civilians in a ministry level decision-making capacity.


Candidates must possess a university degree; military and police personnel must have completed a war-college course or equivalent. Exceptions to the above will be made on a case-by-case basis with minimum requirements including command and staff college (or equivalent), or substantial professional work experience in the case of civilians without an appropriate degree.


The DG course is conducted in Spanish. However, recommended reading materials may be in English; therefore, the ideal participant will possess a proficient level of English reading comprehension.


Updated / Actualizado: February 23, 2021