Home » Governance and Strategy for Security and Defense 2024
Governance and Strategy for Security and Defense 2024
GSSD 2024

Applications from Perry Center graduates who have completed the Strategy and Defense Policy (SDP) and/or the Defense Governance (DG) course will not be accepted, regardless of the applicant's funding status (WJPC scholarship or self-funding).

GSSD is an evolution of the Perry Center’s flagship course. It is a four-week course (two weeks distance-learning and two weeks in residence) designed to educate civilians about the main tasks related to defense governance of a ministry of defense in Latin American democracies. It is also designed to encourage improved civil-military relations and inter-agency cooperation. The course begins with a survey of the theoretical underpinnings of the role of military forces in democratic societies and addresses the overall strategic context confronted in the Western Hemisphere today. It then focuses on four competency areas: (1) policy writing, (2) institutional reform, (3) strategic planning, and (4) resource management. The course employs several academic methodologies to convey its objectives: conceptual presentations, case studies, tabletop exercises, breakout group discussions, readings, and writing assignments. The current contextual discussions cover strategic competition, climate change, HA/DR, Women, Peace, and Security, as well as other current topics.



Application Period:
08 Apr 2024 -
10 Jun 2024
Online Preparatory Phase:
19 Aug 2024 -
30 Aug 2024
In-Person Phase:
09 Sep 2024 -
20 Sep 2024


The main expected accomplishment is ability to understand and evaluate existing defense concepts and approaches from a defense governance perspective within the context of a rapidly challenging strategic environment that affects individual nations as well as prospects of defense cooperation throughout the Hemisphere.

Specifically, upon completion of the course, each student should be able to:

  • Identify the various actors in the defense and security environment.
  • Describe the international and domestic structures that affect the defense and security environment.
  • Identify current global and regional security threats and challenges to include strategic competition.
  • Contribute to build a common vision and the imperative for cooperation and collaboration to confront threats and challenges.
  • Analyze the fundamentals of defense governance within a democratic state, including oversight mechanisms.
  • Discuss elements that contribute to the institutionalization of defense and security organizations.
  • Be able to evaluate the policy development process.
  • Understand the basic elements and considerations of defense institution reform.
  • Evaluate the essential elements of strategic planning.
  • Understand the complexity of defense resource management.


GSSD is a four-week course, combining both on-line and in-residence educational activities. The program takes place across two phases:

  • During a two-week distance-learning phase, participants read, analyze, and evaluate readings, posting comments and engaging in chat groups and virtual meetings with their classmates and facilitating professor.
  • During a two-week in-residence phase, participants will engage in an intensive program of lectures, case studies, breakout groups, tabletop exercises, and reading. Civilian and military participants become aware of and apply concepts critical to defense and security issues, especially strategy, policy, and defense governance. Participants approach each topic through a three-step learning process:
    • Attendance at lectures on the topic by a Perry Center professor or invited expert.
    • Review in the breakout groups of the implications on a national or regional scenario of the material presented in the mater lecture.
    • Evaluation of acquired knowledge through table-top exercises.


Candidates must be professionally engaged in defense or security issues in their countries, coming from the following institutions/activities:

  • Career officials from the ministries/secretaries of Security and Defense.
  • Officials from other ministries/secretaries, from the legislative and judicial branches that interact with security and defense, including planning and control and oversight institutions.
  • NGO and think-tank staffs involved in security/defense matters, educators, academic researchers, journalists and members of political parties.
  • Police and active- duty military officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and above and senior non-commissioned officers.

Individuals are limited to receiving two (2) scholarships to attend in-residence courses per ten-year period, but are free to apply to additional in-residence courses in a fully self-funded status (the 18-month waiting period between attending in-residence courses still applies).

Applications from Perry Center graduates who have completed the Strategy and Defense Policy (SDP) and/or the Defense Governance (DG) course will not be accepted, regardless of the applicant’s funding status (WJPC scholarship or self-funding).

In accordance with Department of Defense policy, citizens of “high income” countries (as established by the World Bank) are not eligible for scholarships. As of 01 July 2023, this restriction applies to the following Western Hemisphere nations and territories:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Curaçao
  • Guyana
  • Panama
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Martin
  • Sint Maarten
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Uruguay

Citizens of these countries may still apply to courses, but in a fully self-funded status. Self-funded candidates must meet all eligibility standards and comply with all application requirements, including application deadlines, as well as being able to cover the expenses of their own travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals. US citizens cannot (by law) receive scholarships, but may also apply to attend in a self-funded status. US citizens and other self-funded candidates should contact the Registrar’s Office for additional guidance.

Candidates must possess a university degree or, in cases where a candidate does not hold a degree, equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The GSSD course is conducted in Spanish. There is simultaneous interpretation from English during some plenary sessions. Minimum professional reading skills in English are desired for candidates to read theoretical and conceptual materials. English speaking skills are not required.


Dr. David Spencer
Dr. David Spencer
Course Director
Dr. Luis Bitencourt
Dr. Luis Bitencourt
Course Deputy Director / Facilitator