Full-Time Degree Programs

Regional Defense Fellowship (RDF) Program 

Washington D.C.

The Regional Defense Fellowship is a 10-month, full-time, in-residence Master of Arts degree program offered by National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs at Ft. Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. The RDF program explores irregular warfare in its global and local contexts in relation to all relevant instruments of national power. Its curriculum centers on the delivery of analytical frameworks specifically designed to evaluate and respond to irregular challenges.

Born out of 9/11, the RDF treats terrorism as but one tactic inherent to irregular warfare: a violent struggle among state and/or non-state actors to influence populations or affect legitimacy. Through this focus on irregular warfare, our focus—and that of our students—has been on insurgency, criminal actors, networks of radicalization, state use of hybrid and political warfare, and various hybrids of all of these. 

To complement their academic coursework, students take part in a practicum where they visit government agencies and combatant commands to gain a better understanding of U.S. national security at the strategic level. Upon graduation, they join an active alumni network of over 1,600 irregular warfare practitioners across the globe.  

CISA Students at Lecture

South and Central Asia Program (SCAP)

Washington D.C.

Developed at the request of the Director of the Joint Staff and Commander, U.S. Central Command, the ten-month South and Central Asia Program (SCAP) supplements the on-the-ground experience of officers with theoretical, analytical, and regional expertise in South and Central Asia. In this course, students survey several key themes identified in the J-7’s Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis (JCOA) Decade of War Study, including Understanding the Environment; Adaptation; Interagency Coordination; and Coalition Operations. 

Aside from leadership studies, the curriculum has three additional components: the Core Security Studies program, the Regional Area of Concentration courses, and the individualized thesis or capstone project.  The students engage in regional and local visits from NYC to the broader Washington, D.C. area. Additionally, the students must continue with their language and cultural training at the Defense Language Institute. Combined, this intensive one-year master’s degree gives students the tools and skills to be effective strategic advisors and leaders at the operational level in the South and Central Asia region.

Joint Special Operations Master of Arts (JSOMA) Program

Fort Bragg, N.C.

The JSOMA program was created in 2010, at the request of the US Army Special Operations Command, to help prepare the operational force for the uncertain and dynamic global security environment.  This Master’s degree is delivered to qualified officers, warrant officers, and NCOs of US Special Operations Forces (any Service) by an interdepartmental team of CISA professors deployed at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (JFKSWCS) at Fort Bragg, N.C. Over a ten-month period, students attend classes full-time to complete this rigorous graduate program leading to a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies (MASSS).

JSOMA offers a unique combination of a rigorous academic environment on par with top-tier civilian graduate programs and close working relationships with the Special Operations educational and operational communities at Fort Bragg, offering SOF students an unparalleled educational experience-grounded in the realities of the complex security environment in which they operate. An inclusive student body comprised of seasoned Joint Special Operators of all ranks, including interagency, allied, and partner-nation students, adds to this unique learning environment.

The JSOMA curriculum offers a strategic-level perspective on the global threat environment, including the rise of newly empowered and politicized ideological movements; the relationships between political objectives,  strategy, and all instruments of national power; and the roles of power and ideology.  Through seminar participation, independent study and research, and a combination of both theoretical and empirical coursework, students will develop strategies for addressing the emerging threat environment in combination with other agencies and partner nations, for developing and implementing national and international security strategies in peace, crisis, and war. For more information about the JSOMA program, click here.