Geopolitics, National Security and Policy Planning

Jean – Loup Samaan

Lecturer in NATO Defense College (Rome, Italy); Policy Advisor at the French Ministry of Defense (2008-2011); Adjunct Lecturer in international security at the French Institute for Political Studies; Researcher at the RAND Corporation in Washington DC (2007-2008).

This course’s objective is to train the participants in strategic analysis by providing them tools to evaluate Ukraine’s international security environment. To this aim, each of the three sessions will combine a theoretical and historical introduction delivered by the teacher followed by a discussion of specific case studies.

The first session,  will cover “Geopolitics and net assessment”. It will offer the course members a survey of current world politics with a special emphasis on the Eurasian area. The teacher will explain how to execute a net assessment of political and military power (capabilities, intentions…). The discussion will then focus on the issue of evaluating Russian power in today’s world.

The second session,  will cover “National security strategies: a comparative analysis”. Following the previous lecture, we will see how specific countries adapt their national security strategies according to their threat assessment, their resources and their international alliances. The case studies introduced by the teacher will be France, India, United Arab Emirates and Estonia. In the discussion, these examples will enable participants to think about Ukraine’s own national security strategy.

The third and final session,  will look at “Forecasting and scenario-building”. The idea of this final session is to get the students accustomed to the practice of forecasting and scenario-building in the policy planning process and see the values of these for decisionmakers. The teacher will start by explaining the methodology of these exercises and it will then followed by two case studies: first the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends Report, and second a scenario of a NATO-Russia conflict (based on readings assigned to the students prior to the session.


Lecture 1. Geopolitics and net assessment
Lecture 2. National security strategies: a comparative analysis
Lecture 3. Forecasting and scenario-building

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