Nick Eftimiades: New Course Intellience & National Security in the Undiscovered County

Academia, Ethics, Government
Professor Nick Eftimiades
Professor Nick Eftimiades

New King’s College Course on Intelligence and National Security

Posted by neftimiades on March 31, 2013

This is a new graduate course I will be teaching for King’s College War Studies Department beginning autumn, 2013.  The course is called Intelligence & National Security in the Undiscovered Country .  It will be a 20 credit Master’s Degree course on the future of intelligence and national security.  The course description is DRAFT.

Module Description:

Consider for a moment the words of William Shakespeare who characterized our fear of the future in Hamlet. “The undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of” Hamlet tells us that it is better to suffer the ills of the day than to travel to the Undiscovered Country.  What will the future bring for intelligence and national security and are we prepared for it?

The concept of a nation state is changing.  Globalization, regional alliances, global and regional environmental and economic issues, telecommunications, changing demographics, and integrating social value systems are altering the nation state.  The idea of what it means to “defend ourselves” decades from now will be dramatically different from what it is today.  New constructs for national security necessitate new intelligence and military capabilities.  Defending a nation may become an exercise in cyber warfare, global policing functions, nation building and support, small unit combat operations, and exerting diplomatic, political, and economic influence.  As the emphasis in national security capabilities changes so too will the intelligence functions supporting them.

This module is an element in the MA in Intelligence and International Security. It provides a basis in conceptual and contextual themes in the study of future intelligence and national security requirements.  A particular emphasis will be on “future trends” divided into four broad categories; and the implications of these trends on intelligence services and nation state security.

  • Demographics and the nation state.  Current trends and implications of age, immigration, economic status, level of education, income level and employment, among others.
  • Technology research and development.  Global spread of scientific knowledge and technology.  Current R&D trends and the implications for emerging threats, future intelligence collection and analysis, military force projection, and national security.
  • Global integration and telecommunications.  The impact at (national and international levels) of political, social, and economic integration, social media, Internet, communications, and transportation on emerging threats, intelligence, and national security.
  • Emerging issues.   – Nations without borders, loss of nationalism, climate change, pollution, finite natural resources, trade.  Impact on democratic institutions, national and international security.  Failed nation states and the prospects for the rise of terrorism and radicalism.


The aims of the module are to provide:

•          a conceptual framework in which to understand the dynamics of societal change and the implications for intelligence, national, and international security.

•          an understanding of the spread of scientific knowledge, non-linear technology development , and the implications for emerging threats.

•          an understanding of future needs for intelligence collection and exploitation and the impact on privacy and democracy.

•        an understanding of future requirements for military and security forces capabilities.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

  •  appreciate demographic changes and the impact on national security policy formulation and decision making
  • understand globalization and social change and the impact on warfare, national and international security.
  • understand future needs and requirements for intelligence and military capabilities.
  • explain the impact of technology development on emerging threats, future Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, and military capabilities.
  • analyze the kinds of problems and ethical dilemmas associated with future  intelligence capabilities.

Module Requirements:

Students should attend the programme of 10 2-hour lectures and are required to attend three 1-hour seminars. Students must arrive at ready to present their work and participate in discussion and other activities.


To complete the module successfully, students are required to submit and earn pass marks on the following:

  • One 4,000-word essay developing a concept for future ISR and military capabilities and courses of action based on a choice of scenarios and future environments provided by the instructor.  The scenario(s) will identify a situation (e.g. crisis, disaster, environmental, warfare, etc.) in the 2025 timeframe.  The future environment(s) will offer the student a contextual platform (i.e. paradise, bi-polar world, corporate dominated world, regional power blocks, etc.) in which to develop their future concepts.
  • One 4,000-word essay analyzing one of the broad areas of concentration: Demographics and the Nation State, Technology R&D, Global Integration and Telecommunication, Emerging Issues.  The student will research the subject, compile and analyse data to assess the impact on future intelligence and/or military capabilities.

The Department of War Studies uses the Blackboard e-leaning system for the submission of coursework, the distribution of course materials and as a notice board. Please check KEATS (King’s e-learning and teaching system) for this course regularly for updates.

All assessed work is marked under the terms outlined in the College Generic Marking Criteria for Postgraduate Awards, a copy of which is available on the College’s webpage, and is subject to further scrutiny in accordance with the College Marking Framework.

All written work should be submitted with all due care and attention to matters of presentation. Essays should be double-spaced, carefully proofed, and properly referenced. Essays submitted to KEATS without references or a bibliography will be returned to the student unmarked for re-submission and penalised for being overdue.

Teaching Arrangements:

The module includes a programme of lectures and a session offering advice and support in the writing of dissertations for the MA Intelligence programme. Students will be organised into seminar groups and issued with more information about the seminar schedule at the first lecture.

Lectures and Seminars:

Lectures will take place on Tuesdays from 16:00 to 18:00 hrs. Suggested readings listed under the lecture titles are from XXXXXX

See Also:

Intelligence and The Future  This week on Skepticality, Derek sits down with Nicholas Eftimiades, Chinese Intelligence expert who was the Chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency Space Division for a period of time. He recently penned a book called Edward of Planet Earth—a science fiction novel set 200 years in the future in which a few androids decide to communicate with the Almighty.  LISTEN TO EPISODE 202

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