module specification

GI5066 - Strategy in the Contemporary World (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Strategy in the Contemporary World
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
 
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   1,000 word book/article review
Coursework 70%   2,000 word essay
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary


The broad aim of this module is to enable students to apply knowledge of strategy-making and strategic thinking as a historical practice to contemporary problems, and, in particular, to:

1. Understand the development of strategic theory and practise.
2. Examine how strategy can be applied by the study of significant case studies.
3. Examine the nature of strategy and how it relates to both policy and action in the 21st Century.
4. Encourage students to think as practitioners.

Prior learning requirements

Successful completion of Level 4

Syllabus

This module will consider the role of strategy and how it relates to both policy and action in the rapidly changing, and volatile, contemporary international system. LO1,LO2,LO3

The module will begin by examining strategic theory from a historical perspective, contrasting the writings of strategists such as Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz, before focusing on the contemporary world. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

This will include an examination of the development of military strategies and the major problems and dilemmas posed, including the role of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and insurgency – and counter terrorism and counterinsurgency strategies, the rise of cyberpower, hybrid warfare, and the role of intelligence in the 21st Century. In particular, the module will explore how strategy-making increasingly involves not just the use of force, but also the creation of coalitions, and coordinating the actions of multiple actors (including multinational organizations, the media, and other groups of players). LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

The syllabus will then consider how strategy affects not just the military world, but how it is a crucial, and often overlooked, component of political life. For example, the module will examine the strategy of nonviolence, and how to run an effective political campaign. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

Throughout, emphasis will be placed on exploring important case studies. This will include the use of role plays to enable students to think as practitioners. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching consists of a weekly two-hour lecture followed by a one hour tutorial. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, videos and the use of first hand documents and websites. During the module seminars will combine a variety of methods including discussion, based on pre-set questions, and role plays. Blended Learning will be a key component of the module. Lecture notes and first hand documents for use in class will be posted on line, as will web links for academic and governmental websites, as well as video links. Lectures will also be recorded by the module tutor and made available on line.

Materials for use in class will be posted at least one week in advance on line to allow students to prepare and reflect on the subject. Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Module Booklet available on the VLE, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

A formative piece of work in the form of a group role play on a contemporary strategic issue will take place mid-module to enable students to reflect on their understanding of the subject matter to date in order to put in place learning strategies for the remainder of the module. The role play will be peer-reviewed in class.

There will be two summative pieces. The first will be a review of a book or article. This will encourage students to use a variety of skills, including: extracting and presenting key information; assessing sources in terms of their relevance and quality, and their contribution to the subject area.

The second summative component will be an essay which will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work of their choosing on a key element of the module. This will enable students to develop writing and research skills whilst reflecting on what they have learnt.

An activity week will also be included in the syllabus to expand on subject-specific knowledge and skills.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should:

1. Be able to engage with key concepts and theories, historical practice, and the major issues and debates in Strategic Studies.
2. Be able to apply knowledge of strategy-making and strategic thinking to
historical and contemporary events.
3. Be able to assess and critically analyse the role of strategy in a variety of situations, including political, social, economic, and military strategies.

The transferable skills students should have developed include:
4. The ability to communicate effectively in speech (such as responding to questions orally and working as a team during role play sessions) and writing (for example, writing an article review and essay using commonly accepted standards of definition, analysis, grammatical prose, and documentation).
5. Research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse arguments and exercise critical judgement.
6. The capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.

Assessment strategy

A formative piece of work in the form of a group role play on a contemporary issue, which will be peer reviewed in class, will take place mid-module to enable students to reflect on their understanding of the subject matter to date in order to put in place learning strategies for the remainder of the module. This will encourage the development of a variety of employability skills including: research involving information retrieval from a variety of resources; analysing and advocating solutions to problems; developing a reasoned argument and communicating ideas to the group; exercising critical judgement; and collaborating with others towards a common goal. 

There will be two summative pieces. The first will be a review of a book or article. This will encourage students to use a variety of skills, including: extracting and presenting key information; assessing sources in terms of their relevance and quality, and their contribution to the subject area.

The second summative component is an essay. This will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work of their choosing on a key element of the module. This will enable students to develop further many of the employability skills introduced during the formative assessment, in addition to writing, reflecting on what they have learnt and making use of constructive feedback.

Bibliography

Core Reading

Baylis, J., et al. (2016) Strategy in the Contemporary World, 5th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Freedman, L. (2013) Strategy: A History, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mankhen, T. and Maiolo, J. (2014) Strategic Studies: A Reader, Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.

Additional Reading
Brands, H. & Porter, P. (2015) ‘Why Grand Strategy Still Matters in a World of Chaos’, The National Interest, at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-grand-strategy-still-matters-world-chaos-14568.
Clausewitz, C. (1982) On War, London: Penguin.
Dueck, C. (2015), The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gray, C. (2015) The Future of Strategy, Cambridge: Polity.
Gray, C. (2012) War, Peace and International Relations, 2nd ed., Abingdon, Oxon., Routledge.
Heuser, B. (2010) The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mansoor, P. & Murray, W. (2016) Grand Strategy and Military Alliances, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mearsheimer, J. & Walt, S., (2016) ‘The Case for Offshore Balancing: A Superior U.S. Grand Strategy’, Foreign Affairs, July/August.
The UK Ministry of Defence, (2014) Global Strategic Trends out to 2045, at www.gov.uk/government/publications/global-strategic-trends-out-to-2045. 
The USA National Intelligence Council, (2017) Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, at https://www.dni.gov/files/images/globalTrends/documents/GT-Full-Report.pdf
Sloan, E. (2012) Modern Military Strategy: An Introduction, Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.
Sun-Tzu (2009) The Art of War, London: Penguin.
The USA’s National Security Strategy 2017 available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905.pdf.
The UK’s National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015: A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom, available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-security-strategy-and-strategic-defence-and-security-review-2015.

On-line resources include: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies; Survival; Foreign Affairs; and The Washington Quarterly.

Other indicative websites include:
International Institute for Strategic Studies at www.iiss.org
The Centre for Strategic and International Studies at www.csis.org
The Royal United Services Institute at www.rusi.org.
Chatham House at www.chathamhouse.org
The Strategic Studies Institute at www. ssi.armywarcollege.edu
The Council on Foreign Relations at www.cfr.org
Central Intelligence Agency at www.cia.gov
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) at www.sis.gov.uk
The Atlantic Council at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org
Institute for National Strategic Studies at www.inss.ndu.edu

Students will also be encouraged to follow key individuals and organisations on social media platforms, such as Twitter.

Where possible, the most current version of reading materials will be used during the delivery of this module. Comprehensive reading lists will be provided to students in their handbooks. Reading Lists will be updated annually. Weblinks will also be updated regularly.