Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 22 Hours. 1 x 2 hour seminar per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 3,000 words  50%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   50%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • assess the nature of American military power
  • assess how the USA's military and intelligence establishments have developed and the taskings they have been given
  • assess the importance of intelligence to war-making and defence planning
  • assess the limits on the usefulness of both intelligence and military force
  • evaluate methodological and historiographical problems in the study of intelligence

Brief description

This module chiefly examines the role played by intelligence in maximizing American military power in the period between the USA's intervention in the First World War and the present day. It also examines the character of American military power in this period.


The aim of the module is to examine how intelligence assists war-making and defence planning, as well as to investigate how American military power grew in the twentieth century and how this created pressure for greater and greater intelligence collection.


The most celebrated examples of use of intelligence concern its handling in war, while American military power was decisive in both World Wars and has exceeded that of any other country since 1945. So this module addresses the crucial question: how has intelligence assisted the USA in waging war and in preparing its defence plans since it first emerged on the world stage as a great military power in 1917? Within this framework, the module addresses smaller questions too, such as: what particular kinds of intelligence has the US chiefly sought; what instruments of collection has it mainly relied on; what results have they yielded and what are the limits on their usefulness? The module will also examine the nature of American military power and the limits of what it can achieve.

Transferable skills

Students have the opportunity to develop, practise and test a wide range of transferable skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the module, students should practise and develop their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as self-management. In seminars students enhance and develop their analytical skills and practise listening, explaining and debating skills. Through group role-play particular emphasis is placed on teamwork; such role-play also provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate problem solving skills. Students develop a more critical attitude towards information, its sources and the conduct of states. Essay writing encourages students to practise independent research, writing and IT skills.


This module is at CQFW Level 7