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Assessing America’s National Security Threats

Examine America and its adversaries in the 21st century.
Assessing America’s National Security Threats is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 17.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and concise analysis of issues at hand Course does a great job of identifying the key players, policies, and historical events surrounding present day threats to national security. Gives a fair and critical review of the complex partisanship involved in these topics, as expected for a history course. My only complaint is that each lecture isn’t longer, I felt it was a bit compressed.
Date published: 2024-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So much information to be learned Presentation was great. So much scary stuff to learn. Very authoritative presentation.
Date published: 2024-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely relevant Probably the most relevant Teaching Company course I have watched. General MacMasters provides a broad overview of the many issues threatening the United States. People may not always agree with his solutions, but the issues certainly deserve strong consideration.
Date published: 2023-10-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Excellent Description of Subject Matter General McMaster uses the term 'presentations' to describe these 12 'lectures.' I agree with him; they are not lectures in the true academic sense of what is a typical course offered by The Great Courses. His knowledge and experience is extensive and his personal opinions on the topics are well worth listening to. This course is better as an audio learning tool since all he does is sit on a stool and reads from the teleprompter. The photos he offers are little more than promotional pictures of him with various leaders. His approach to these presentations strikes me more as someone who is thinking about running for elected office as opposed to a classroom professor. Nonetheless, I found them interesting and worthwhile as a forum for getting a better understanding of the dynamics associated with assessing America's security threats.
Date published: 2023-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting series! I find this series interesting enough. It is mostly about national security issues in past 30 years, within the geopolitical climate of the current world. However, I feel the series look at the personal point of view of the professor than generic introduction.
Date published: 2023-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Illuminating and Informative I found H.R. McMaster's presentation balanced and factual, with important information, regardless of political persuasion. My views are less conservative than his, but I am also convinced enough to believe that information here is truthful and very much worth noting. Excellent! Thank you for offering this course!
Date published: 2023-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview of National Security issues H.R. McMaster did a great job of condensing very complicated issues into a high-level overview that gave me a better understanding of the topic. While each topic could be fleshed out into a stand alone course, he gave a concise analysis of the main threats facing the west and how they are tied together. The segments on how hostile nations have manipulated the American public toward the political division we have today was particularly enlightening and show how each of us has to challenge our own biases. I hope that those on both sides of the political spectrum will watch these with an open mind so we can work together on finding solutions.
Date published: 2023-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Assessing America’s National Security Threats A concise and informative review of the threats facing America in the 21st century by a deeply knowledgeable instructor. Thank you, H.R. McMaster, for teaching the course.
Date published: 2023-02-16
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Assessing America’s National Security Threats digs into the history, scope, and scale of America’s most pressing national security threats. In 12 lectures, you will work with former US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster to understand the threats facing the United States today. You will dive into history to better understand the motivations, goals, and world views of our adversaries; investigate American foreign policy, both past and present; and see how to reframe strategy and construct sound policy in light of specific challenges like climate change and Russian misinformation.


H. R. McMaster

I'm determined to explore how we can work toward promoting peace and prosperity for generations to come.


Hoover Institution, Stanford University

H. R. McMaster, a former national security advisor and a retired US Army lieutenant general, is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He received a PhD in Military History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of the best-selling books Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free Worldand Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.

By This Expert

Assessing America’s National Security Threats
Assessing America’s National Security Threats


From Cold War to Hot Wars

01: From Cold War to Hot Wars

Begin with an exploration of US foreign relations since the Cold War. Discover the meaning and consequences of strategic narcissism and take stock of the threats facing the United States in the 21st century, from aggressive adversaries to jihadist terrorism to climate security.

32 min
Vladimir Putin’s Russian Playbook

02: Vladimir Putin’s Russian Playbook

After the dissolution of the USSR, Russia continued to pose a threat to the West. Explore how dictator Vladimir Putin consolidated power; comb through the Russian playbook of economic dependence, disruptive technologies, and disinformation; and see how powers like the United States can respond to it.

28 min
Misunderstanding China’s Communist Party

03: Misunderstanding China’s Communist Party

China has emerged as one of the most powerful adversaries of the United States. Here, investigate what drives the Chinese Communist Party to perfect its technologically enabled police state, and explore how the United States and allies can strengthen free societies against Communist Party coercion.

28 min
Afghanistan and Jihadist Terrorism

04: Afghanistan and Jihadist Terrorism

Closely examine the evolution of US policy in Afghanistan. Investigate the costs and consequences of American foreign policy that pursues strong ties with Pakistan. And survey a range of transnational terrorist organizations operating in South Asia, considering how the threat jihadist terrorists pose today is greater than ever.

15 min
Iraq and the Middle East

05: Iraq and the Middle East

Trace how the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule, the rise of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Iranian-backed militias unleashed sectarian civil wars and cascading crises across the Middle East. And explore how the United States could and should engage in the Middle East to help break the cycle of violence.

16 min
Iran and Its Terrorist Proxies

06: Iran and Its Terrorist Proxies

Turning east toward Iran, assess Iran’s four decades of proxy war against the United States and its policy responses from the 1979 revolution to the collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal. Explore the motivations that drive Iranian aggression, not only toward the United Sates, but also toward Israel, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and others.

26 min
The Unresolved Conflict with North Korea

07: The Unresolved Conflict with North Korea

Why is the Kim family regime in North Korea so intent on developing nuclear weapons? Examine the history of North Korea from Japanese occupation to the present day and evaluate the success of various US strategies aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation.

28 min
Climate Change and Energy Security

08: Climate Change and Energy Security

Climate change, a clear and present reality, also poses a range of security risks. Zoom outward to see how climate change is a global problem that needs multinational solutions. Consider how countries and industries can collaborate to tackle the interrelated challenges of climate, food, energy, and water security.

19 min
Dangers in Space and Cyberspace

09: Dangers in Space and Cyberspace

Space represents a new security domain, and the US defense apparatus must be prepared as adversaries learn how to navigate and exploit space. Investigate how space became a critical security domain and how the United States can compete within it.

20 min
The New Information Warfare

10: The New Information Warfare

Emerging technologies have the potential to do good, or to empower adversaries. Understand how bad actors use technologies like ransomware, social media, AI, and cryptocurrency to undermine security, and evaluate how the United States—and private industry—can use emerging technologies to build a prosperous future.

21 min
Building Strategic Confidence

11: Building Strategic Confidence

Examine strategic competence: Explore how strategy at the highest level is made, through the example of a firsthand account of a 2017 NSC meeting on China. Investigate the ethical and moral dimensions of strategy in war. And see how studying history can help us regain strategic competence.

21 min
Learning from Dereliction of Duty

12: Learning from Dereliction of Duty

In Dereliction of Duty, H. R. McMaster gave historical evidence showing how military leaders failed their troops and country during their conduct of war in Southeast Asia. Investigate one of the most important questions in US foreign policy: How should America engage with global challenges? Interrogate the legacy of US retrenchment in various conflicts and explore how good foreign policy can be crafted, with Vietnam and Iraq as references.

30 min