6 Sep - 16 Nov 2017 / Course language: English


PASS is the Marshall Center’s largest and lengthiest resident program, running 10 weeks and involving more than 100 participants from countries around the globe, including Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. Participants are junior- and mid-level security sector practitioners. Attendees include civilian government officials, military and security force service members, and government academics.



Program Objectives:

  1. To provide a graduate-level education in security policy, defense affairs, and international relations;
  2. To create a network of security colleagues from widely varying cultures and backgrounds.



The PASS course methodology centers on daily plenary lectures—presentations by subject matter experts from an array of backgrounds—and the opportunity to discuss topics in greater depth in small seminar groups. Each PASS seminar is carefully crafted to bring together participants from diverse countries and a wide range of professional backgrounds. There are approximately 13 participants per seminar group, and conversations are facilitated by Marshall Center faculty. PASS participants also take part in electives (see below), participate in a Capstone Exercise, and travel to Berlin for a field study trip. Participants also engage in independent study and research. Networking and cultural activities as well as a volleyball tournament round out the program. The program language is English and all activities are governed by the Chatham House Rule.


Course structure

The PASS program is organized in 7 modules:

  • Security and Insecurity Today: In this module, participants are introduced to International Relations Theory and the discipline of Security Studies as well as the institutional and normative foundations of today’s global security and economic architecture. Specific topics to be discussed include:
    • Approaches to International Relations
    • Norms and Power (International Law)
    • The Origins of Today’s Global Security and Economic Architecture
    • Human Rights: The Post-WWII Regime
    • Security Studies: Defining and Applying Security
    • Human Security
  • Key Actors, Regions, and Organizations Influencing Euro-Atlantic Security: In this module, participants analyze the European-focused security policies and priorities of key global powers such as Russia, China, and the United States as well as the impact that international organizations and alliances, such as NATO, have on European security. The fragile states and regions neighboring Europe are also a subject of discussion. Specific topics to be discussed include:
    • U.S. Policy and Implications for the Euro-Atlantic Region
    • Russia Policy and Implications for the Euro-Atlantic Region
    • Panel on Russia Policy
    • China Policy and Implications for the Euro-Atlantic Region
    • Indian Subcontinent Security Challenges and Implications for Europe
    • Arab Region Security Challenges and Implications for Europe
    • United Nations: Key Features and Current Issues
    • NATO: Key Features of the Alliance and Current Issues
    • OSCE: Key Features of the Organization and Current Issues
    • European Union: Key Features of the Union and Current Issues
  • Contemporary Security Challenges: In this module, participants study the most pressing challenges facing Europe today. Specific topics to be discussed include:
    • Media: From Intimidation to Instrumentalization
    • Migration
    • Cyber Threats
    • Democratic Transformation and its Alternative
    • WMD Use and Proliferation
    • Arctic Security Challenges
    • Participant Presentations on: Terrorism Hybrid War, Maritime, Transnational Organized Crime, and Climate Change
  • Strategies / Approaches for Mitigating Challenges: In this module, participants investigate and evaluate possible responses to contemporary challenges including national-level approaches, regional level approaches, and international approaches. Specific topics to be discussed include:
    • Strategy and Strategy Development
    • Security Sector Reform
    • Whole-of-Society Approaches
    • Crisis Communications
    • Gender Mainstreaming
    • The Comprehensive Approach
    • Peacekeeping
    • Promoting the Rule of Law
    • Coercion
    • Diplomacy
    • Negotiations


  • Capstone Exercise: In this module, participants apply what they have learned through participation in several exercises, including a Security Sector Reform exercise and a three-day Capstone Exercise which includes a negotiations component.
  • Research Essay and Presentations: In this module, participants research and write an essay, the topic of which relates to key themes of the PASS course. They also deliver a presentation of their findings to their seminar group.
  • Field Study Trip: In this module, participants study and evaluate U.S. and German security institutions, policies, and strategies. Conversations with senior U.S. and German officials as well as a week-long field study trip to Berlin provide unique insights into the institutions and approaches of these mature democracies. Specific topics to be discussed include:
    • U.S. Security Institutions
    • German Security Institutions
    • U.S. and German Strategy Analysis


Electives are short, small seminars that give participants the chance to pursue focused study on topics of interest to them. Each elective meets for two hours over the course of seven days. PASS participants choose 4 electives from 34 offerings. Sample elective topics include: 

  • U.S. Foreign and Security Policy
  • Russian Foreign and Security Policy
  • NATO
  • African Union
  • Central Asian Security Challenges
  • Maritime Security
  • Trends and Challenges in Contemporary Warfare
  • Understanding and Combating Terrorism
  • Security Dynamics of Southeast Europe
  • Protracted Conflicts
  • The Art of Strategy and Policy
  • Strategic Communication
  • Intelligence Challenges in a Democratic Context


pass 2017 poster

Slide show: Click on image.


Expected Outcomes

At the end of the 10-week program, each participant should be able to:

  1. Understand more fully the strategic environment in which his/her country is operating;
  2. Identify the most significant challenges to regional and international peace and security;
  3. Discuss and analyze various approaches for addressing current and emerging threats and challenges, including opportunities at the national, regional, and international levels;
  4. Comprehend U.S. and German national security structures and strategy decisions;
  5. Demonstrate individual capacities for national security strategy development, institution building, and budgeting;
  6. Leverage the Marshall Center’s international network of security sector practitioners.



For application and deadline information, contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , your ministry point of contact, or the U.S. or German Embassy in your capital city.