Higlighted Course – The Theory of Intelligence

Michael Warner, JHU AAP

Put yourself ahead of your peers. You’ve got a chance this semester to study the important questions of intelligence with one of the leading scholars and practitioners in the field, Dr. Michael Warner.

Course offered to current Global Security, National Security Studies, Government, Public Management, and Nonprofit Management students, as well as alumni.


Dr. Michael Warner serves as a Command Historian for US Cyber Command and was formerly a historian for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  He has written and lectured widely on intelligence history, theory, and reform.  He has taught at American University, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University.

His new book The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: A International Security History is forthcoming in April 2014 from Georgetown University Press. In November 2013, he co-authored an article on America’s cyber defenses in The National Interest with General Keith Alexander, the Director of NSA and Commander of Cyber Command and Alexander’s strategic adviser, Emily Goldman.

Course Description

470.624.51 – The Theory of Intelligence: Limits and Possibilities

This course explores intelligence from a theoretical perspective to assess the ways in which persistent and emerging issues in the field help or hinder national and international actors in achieving policy objectives. The goal is to provide answers to several questions: “What is intelligence?”; “How does it work?”; “What difference does it make?”;”and “How do we know?” By investigating these questions, students will develop their analytical skills and increase their understanding of the workings of intelligence and security policies. The approach will be historical and topical, as well as theoretical. Students are not expected to begin with any particular expertise in deriving and applying theory; this class will teach what skills are needed. The history of intelligence offers a surprising number of illustrative cases and themes many of which can now be examined in detail using official records and contrarian views, and can even be compared with analogues across nations and time periods. More-recent events are not as well documented in the public, official record, of course, but an understanding of earlier patterns and activities can provide valid insights on contemporary trends. The trends identified in the past and the present will then be explored for their ramifications for the future.


Tuesdays 5:45 – 8:00; 1/28 – 5/6

Alumni Registrants: Please complete following form.