Technology and National Security: Past, Present, and Future


Stanford School of Engineering


The increasing use of information technology for national security has many benefits as well as some risks. Advanced sensors, smart weapons, and stealth aircraft are a few of the advances developed by the United States in recent decades.

This course explores the relationship between national security policy and technology from early history to modern day, focusing specifically on current U.S. national security challenges and the role that technology plays in shaping our understanding and response to these challenges. Course will cover a broad range of topics, including nuclear weapons, energy, and proliferation issues. Guest lecturers include key participants in the development of technology and/or policy.


  • 1 year of college level calculus (through calculus of several variables, such as MATH51 or CME100)
  • Background in statistics
  • An undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent

Topics include

  • Complex nuclear weapons programs
  • Strategic stability
  • The evolution of U.S. international security relations
  • Emerging technological developments 
  • Security challenges including cyber security, drones, the role of social media, biosecurity, counterinsurgency, nuclear terrorism and intelligence gathering

Course Availability

The course schedule is displayed for planning purposes – courses can be modified, changed, or cancelled. Course availability will be considered finalized on the first day of open enrollment. For quarterly enrollment dates, please refer to our graduate education section.

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