Managing Security and Defense (MSD 2019)



Residential Phase Dates: 
Jun 03, 2019 to Jun 07, 2019

Language Requirements: 
Course given in Spanish; English reading ability required


Deputy Director:

Decisions surrounding national security and defense are among the most vital and most difficult responsibilities of high-ranking officials in any country. Many of them understand that, in terms of national security, long-term success is never determined simply by acquiring more or better equipment. To adequately respond to the defense and security imperatives of a democratic state in the 21st century, decision makers know that they must remain skeptical of the promises associated with the latest technologies or the attractiveness associated with prefabricated approaches or solutions. Leaders capable of advancing defense management know the quality of their decisions depends on their ability to keep a healthy distance from the limits imposed by lack of resources, institutional legacies or evaluations of obsolete or incomplete threats.

The key idea that guides the development of this seminar is that, in order to better respond to instability, insecurity and risk in the Hemisphere, senior decision makers must think about how to improve broader and even more essential aspects in terms of refers to institutional capacity. At the national and sectoral level, these issues are framed within the areas of strategic governance and high-level defense and security management.

Specifically, defense and security leaders will lay the foundation to generate more and better results as they can advance the quality of: (1) political and strategic decision processes, (2) processes through which such decisions they are implemented in a consistent and integrated manner through the design and appropriate alignment of the activities and resources of the defense and security system, (3) the schemes and controls that ensure that those decisions (and the resources that accompany them) are implemented to produce the desired effects, and (4) mechanisms that allow reassessing the quality of decisions in relation to the objectives set and in terms of their impact on the security of the nation and that of each of its citizens.

How to "do" good governance and how to build better defense and security institutions is still a work in progress. At the international level, several organizations such as the UN, the OAS, the OECD, the World Bank and NATO are still seeking answers. For high-level civilian or military professionals, "generating or contributing to" good governance tends to require long experience and the continuous development of interdisciplinary skills and knowledge.

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

The main objective of this seminar is to contribute to the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the security and defense sectors of the Americas by providing participants with the opportunity to advance in the following competencies:

  1. Identify institutional capacity gaps through global case-driven reflection
  2. Contribute to generate better results and reduce capacity gaps in the sector through the identification of principles, processes and practices among which are:
    • the alignment of defense interests and efforts at the national level
    • the generation and prioritization of medium and long-term objectives
    • the assignment of authorities and roles throughout the system
    • the alignment and control of resources, human capital, material and concepts to generate greater and better capacity of the force (s) of the
    • the evaluation, management and mitigation of risk in decision making throughout the system
  3. Recognize the importance of adopting a holistic vision under the Governance framework of the Defense and Security sector in order to generate sustainability and results.
  4. Generate necessary mechanisms to contribute to the management of strategic stakeholders (external stakeholders) that influence the articulation of capabilities and defense / security results.
  5. Identify the strategic political priorities of the US towards the region and the role played by the programs for building institutional capacity in the advancement of international cooperation.
  6. Articulate the importance and characteristics of good governance and high management of the security and defense sectors with other stakeholders in their countries.

During its residential phase in Washington DC, the MSD seminar will use instructional modalities that emphasize the promotion of dialogue and knowledge exchange among participants and the resolution of professional problems. which will include:

  1. Presentations by distinguished professionals focusing on experiences, concrete examples and applied knowledge.
  2. Panels of experts / interns, which allow to have diverse and dynamic lessons and exchanges of points of view.
  3. Conversational interviews with high-level professionals, which allow participants to be granted a personal atmosphere conducive to openness and dialogue.
  4. Theoretical sessions that will always be accompanied by the feedback of the participants through dialogue and questions and answers.

The seminar 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 MSD seminar 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 MSD course thus contributes to the larger DoD enterprise focused on Defense Institution Building (DIB).

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

The target participants of this course are at the level of Vice Minister, Vice Chief of Staff, and Director General of Security and Defense Policy.

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 MSD course is conducted in Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation from English during some plenary sessions. A moderate level of English reading skill is required for course reading materials.

Updated / Actualizado: May 20, 2019