Carnegie Mellon University

Concepts of War and Cyber War

Course Number: 84-388

This course examines traditional theories, concepts, and practices in international relations and warfare- conventional, unconventional, and modern- and relates them to the emerging dynamics of cyber war. The principle concepts examined in this course reflect, have shaped, and continue to shape state and non-state actor behaviors and their calculations of how to prepare for and prosecute warfare. These include, among others, conventional and nuclear deterrence, offense-defense dynamics, first strike capabilities, and irregular warfare. The course will focus on theory but will leverage history, military doctrine, and cases to highlight the challenges of integrating cyber war into defense planning and practice. Students will be challenged to consider how the 2009 introduction of cyberspace as a warfighting domain- in addition to land, maritime, air, and space- affects the ways that scholars and practitioners- operating with force structures and strategic, operational, and tactical concepts that are decades, if not centuries old- conceive of and practice warfare in the 21st Century. The principle objective of this course is to introduce students to cyber war within the context of traditional, and emerging, concepts of armed and unarmed warfare. This course will focus on two core areas: 1) a discussion of traditional concepts of warfare in the physical domains; and, 2) a discussion of cyber war and its intersection with these traditional concepts..

Academic Year: 2019-2020
Semester(s): Fall, Mini 2
Required/Elective: Elective
Units: 6
Location(s): Pittsburgh

Learning Objectives

The course seeks to help students understand a critical national security policy challenge through reading and discussion.  Honing students' critical thinking and argumentation skills will enhance their ability to contribute to scholarly or policy debates in their chosen professions.

Fall 2019
Mini 2
6:30-9:20 PM

Required course for the following IPS degree:
Minor in Cybersecurity and International Conflict

Elective course for the following IPS degrees:
B.S. International Relations and Politics
Additional Major in International Relations and Politics
B.S. Economics and Politics
Additional Major in Economics and Politics
Minor in International Relations and Politics