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ASU launches MA in global security, with irregular warfare concentration

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February 19, 2024

By Tony Roth

In response to the evolving landscape of global security challenges, Arizona State University is launching a groundbreaking Master of Arts in global security, with a concentration in irregular warfare.

This unique program, offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate complex irregular warfare scenarios in today's geopolitical environment. 

The MA in global security (irregular warfare), which will be available starting fall 2024, is the first of its kind in a civilian, accredited academic university. It addresses the growing recognition among security experts that irregular warfare will be a prominent component of future conflicts, particularly in the context of great power competition.

The fully online program, offered through ASU Online, is tailored to meet the educational needs of security practitioners, including military personnel, diplomats, intelligence analysts and policymakers.

"The concentration allows students to focus their studies within the context of global security on issues that are central to contemporary irregular warfare,” said Jeff Kubiak, School of Politics and Global Studies professor of practice who is spearheading the program. “Our curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including narrative conflict, urbanization, military adaptation and innovation, and the theory of irregular warfare and special operations.” 

The program's online delivery format ensures accessibility to students based in the U.S. and internationally, fostering collaboration and learning across cultural and national borders. With esteemed faculty members such as Peter Bergen, Jan Gleiman, Candace Rondeaux, David  Kilcullen, Isaiah Wilson, Thomas Just, Alicia Ellis and Ajit Maan, students will benefit from the insights of global thought leaders, seasoned scholars and skilled practitioners. 

Two of the key courses in the MA in global security (irregular warfare) are: 

  1. GSC 570: Irregular Warfare (three credits)  Examines how states employ measures short of war to gain strategic advantage while avoiding the costs and risks of major armed conflict, including the variety of irregular warfare approaches to competitive statecraft. Explores irregular warfare campaigns and the implementation of competitive strategies to determine why they succeed or fail. 
  2. GSC 572: Proxy Warfare, Strategic Thinking, History, and Operational Arts (three credits) — Proxy warfare has become a prominent feature of modern conflicts, posing unique challenges to traditional military strategies. This course examines the historical roots, strategic implications and operational dynamics of proxy warfare. Students will analyze case studies and engage in strategic simulations to develop critical thinking and decision-making skills essential for navigating proxy conflicts in the contemporary global security landscape. 

Graduates of the MA in global security (irregular warfare) will be well positioned for a variety of career paths, including roles in conflict zone reconstruction, security policy analysis, global security intelligence and military advancement. 

Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the degree page for more information and to apply. 

For media inquiries or further information, please contact Alicia Ellis at

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