The Marshall Center's flagship course, the Program on Advanced Security Studies (PASS), is currently conducted twice a year. PASS offers a rigorous, intellectually stimulating, 10-week course for civilian government officials, military officers, and government academics. The program provides graduate-level study in security policy, defense affairs, international relations and related topics.
PASS consists of core studies and electives, which include assigned readings, seminar discussions, debates, panels and role-playing exercises, as well as field studies. Participants must be proficient in one of the three languages in which the program is taught: English, German or Russian. If necessary, PASS participants may also take English and German language courses and computer skills classes, all based on individual ability.
During the first six weeks, participants take part in a core curriculum that builds a common understanding of critical aspects of global security. Core activities include plenary lectures and small seminar groups led by Marshall Center resident faculty. Each carefully crafted seminar brings together participants from a wide variety of countries and professional backgrounds.
Core study topics include the following:
- Global Security - Trends and Perspectives: theories of international and security relations; U.S. and German international security policy; global challenges.
- Armed Conflict and Terrorism: the nature of armed conflict; terrorism; weapons of mass destruction; stability operations.
- Transnational Challenges: the impact of various "soft security" threats on national and international security; energy issues; crime and corruption; the role of democracy in facilitating security.
- International Norms: human rights and international law.
- International Security Cooperation: the 21st century security threats that confront the UN, NATO and EU.
- National Security Governance: developing national security strategy; international and domestic influences on strategy formulation; defense economics.
Based on the level of experience participants bring to the program, they are placed in either the Executive Program in Advanced Security Studies (EPASS) or the Leaders Program in Advanced Security Studies (LPASS). The EPASS is designed for those who serve as lieutenant colonels, colonels, senior diplomats, parliamentary staffers or equivalent ranks in internal, national security or border control agencies. The LPASS provides a forum for lieutenants, captains and majors, their civilian counterparts in government security agencies, and junior diplomats.
During each PASS, the director of the Marshall Center invites distinguished security practitioners to speak to the class. Past speakers have included ministers of defense and foreign affairs, presidents, prime ministers and chiefs of defense staff.
After participants complete the core studies, they meet in elective seminars relevant to their professional development. Participants choose three from a menu of more than 30 electives.
Some examples of elective topics are as follows:
- Negotiations in International Disputes
- International Terrorism and Its Security Implications for Democratic States
- International Law and Armed Conflict
- Defense Transformation: The Military Response to the Information Age
- The European Union and International Security
- NATO: Strategic and Operational Perspectives
- Russia and Its Neighbors
- Central Asian Security
- South Caucasus Security
- Security of Small and Medium States
- Weapons of Mass Destruction: Security in the Second Nuclear Age
A field study session at the end of the program complements core classroom activities by allowing participants to examine national and international security institutions and speak with senior decision-makers. Destinations vary from course to course and have included Washington, D.C., Berlin and Brussels.
A theme addressed throughout PASS' core topics and electives is the need for international, interagency and interdisciplinary cooperation in responding to most 21st century security challenges. Qualified participants may undertake an independent research project in place of one elective.