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Situation Room

Central Challenges of American National Security, Strategy, and the Press casts you as an advisor to the President in answering such questions. One of Harvard Kennedy School’s most storied courses, “Central Challenges” isnow available on edX for free. As a participant, you’ll find yourself in a virtual Situation Room – the place where Presidents have made their legacies, and their worst mistakes. You’ll weigh in on the toughest decisions any President has to make – when to send fellow citizens abroad to kill or to die, when to negotiate with enemies, and how to deal with global competitors.

You won’t be able to escape today’s reality that every decision is influenced by an intrusive press, whose revelations can force the President’s hand, or interfere with classified operations. When dealing with national security secrets, reporters and editors are making some of the most difficult – and contentious – judgments, often putting them at odds with governments that say they need to protect a nation’s secrets.

On top of formulating policy recommendations for each challenging case presented, you’ll pivot to assume the role of a reporter, tackling potentially tougher questions: When does the public’s need to understand what the military or intelligence agencies are doing in their name outweigh the government’s need to protect its secret operations? Is it possible to tell the story without endangering lives, or undermining intelligence operations? Will the reporter face prosecution, or demands to testify?

Over six-weeks, “Central Challenges” explores these dilemmas, taking learners “behind the veil” to see the dynamic between the press and the U.S. government. We’re excited to interact with a newly expanded group of talent in this second iteration of our edX course, which during its first run engaged thousands of policy makers, journalists, academics, and practitioners from around the world.

In addition to enhancing your abilities in policy analysis and strategic thought, you’ll become part of a global network of learners tackling today’s toughest foreign policy challenges.

We’re looking forward to meeting you on February 23 – and we hope you’ll join us on this adventure. This course is offered as a MOOC as well as an intensive, Limited Enrollment course (by application). You may apply to be part of the Limited Enrollment experience until February 18th at 2 p.m. UTC.

By Guest Post: Graham T. Allison, David E. Sanger, and Derek S. Reveron