Pre-Course Assignment

Reserve Component National Security Course

Pick one question below for your RCNSC strategy paper. The paper should be typed, double-spaced, and approximately 500 words in length. (Handwritten is NOT acceptable.) You will submit a hard copy of your paper to your Seminar Leader no later than 0900 on the first day of the course. 

Please adhere to the NDU Academic and Plagiarism policies.

  1. Printing is NOT available for RCNSC students at NDU
  2. Papers are graded Pass / Fail
  3. Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct may result in a student being disenrolled from NDU
  4. Your paper should be an essay that represents original critical thinking and not just recitation of fact. Evaluation of the paper will be based on both (a) composition (organization, clarity of expression, and proper grammar) and (b) originality of thought, the coherence and persuasiveness of your position, and how well you address arguments that would challenge your case.
  5. There is no “RCNSC solution” or answer to any of these questions. The paper’s evaluation will depend on the objective you state in the paper and how well you support it. This writing exercise should provide an opportunity for you to develop and strengthen your skills as a critical thinker.
  6. Please follow the CISA Style Guide if you are citing sources.

Essay Question (Select one):

President Biden's National Security Strategy provides a vision of a better future with “a free, open, secure, and prosperous world.” The strategy looks to advance our national interests by protecting the security of Americans; expanding economic prosperity and opportunity; and to defend democratic values.  The President looks to accomplish those objectives (ends) through various actions (ways), by employing diplomatic, informational, military, and economic instruments of power (means). 

Using the National Security Strategy, October 2022 as a starting point while complementing your research with other required reading materials, write a 500-word essay answering ONE of the following questions:

  1. Which instrument of power (Diplomatic, Informational, Military, or Economic) do you consider the most important "strategic means" for competing against People’s Republic of China Belt and Road Initiative and why?
  2. As Russia continues to wage war against Ukraine, the United States and its allies/partners support Ukraine's efforts to deter Russia's aggression.  US and allies/partners are primarily employing two instruments of power: economic (sanctions) and military (security cooperation, weapons transfer, etc.) against Russia. What is the biggest risk the United States will encounter with the current strategy and how can that risk be mitigated?
  3. The President plans to modernize and strengthen the Military by utilizing Integrated Deterrence (NSS, page 22) to deter aggression from the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and other states.  How should the Reserve and Guard be utilized for Integrated Deterrence and what changes are required to achieve your recommendation?