Spies, Special Agents and the Presidency

Lead Instructor: Elly Rostoum, Bates ’07

Course Overview: Intelligence is at the heart of US national security. This short term course examines the role of the intelligence community (IC) within the US national establishment. Student will explore the missions, structures, and modus operandi of the intelligence community and its interactions with policymakers and the executive branch of government. Special attention will be given to issues around the cyberspace as a determinant of geopolitical insecurity. Student will have the opportunity to explore key transnational issues through hand-on exercises simulating a real-life conflicts. Students will also explore some of the most pressing ethical and moral issues involving the intelligence community and US national security.  

This course is highly interactive and designed to mimic “a day in the life of an intelligence officer.” It is geared towards student interested in gaining greater understanding of intelligence, cyberspace and national security issues. This short term course will be most beneficial to students interested in careers in the intelligence community, the policymaking arena and/or the consulting and advisory research sectors. The course is formulated with no prerequisite in mind other than a healthy dose of intellectual curiosity about some of the most important topics globally.

Meeting Times: M/T/W 10-12 & 1-3

Learning Goals: In this short term course, students will gain first-hand knowledge of the major methodological tools of intelligence statecraft:

  1. simulate wargames, execute scenario planning, decision analysis and counterintelligence exercises
  2. role-play (a country, president, national security advisor, military commander, activist, journalist, etc.) through a full-scale simulation
  3. test, refine, and develop tactical and strategic solutions/options for real life conflicts
  4. compile a Strategic Options Memo—the standard briefing document for decision makers in the executive branch and key policymakers
  5. develop, present and defend strategy and policy recommendations

Instructor Bio: Elly Rostoum is a political scientist and public policy practitioner, with more than 15 years of experience in both the private and governmental sectors. She has advised cabinet-level policymakers and decision-makers at the White House, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and at the United Nations. Ms. Rostoum recently served on the National Security Council, covering the Middle East portfolio. She specializes in public diplomacy, foreign policy and national security issues.

Ms. Rostoum was previously a White House intern.  She began her career in the private sector forecasting oil prices, and has consulted with C-suite executives in the energy sector worldwide. Ms. Rostoum’s research has been prolifically published and featured in industry and policymaking circles, including with IHS CERA, the Harvard Kennedy School Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Middle East Economic Survey, and the Foreign Policy Association. Ms. Rostoum speaks Arabic, French, German, and Spanish. She has conducted field research in Austria, Saudi Arabia, and in the United Arab Emirates. Academically, Ms. Rostoum is completing her PhD in Global Governance and Human Security. She holds a Master’s degree in liberal arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master’s in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts, a Certificate in Decision Analysis and Risk Management from Stanford University, a Certificate in Energy Modeling from the International Energy Agency, and a Bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Bates College