The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) provides education for civilian officials of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and other governmental agencies, as well as senior officers of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). The goal is to give them a broad perspective on national security. The importance of senior-level education at the NIDS continues to grow, as the roles of the MOD and SDF widen to include international activities such as peacekeeping operations and confidence building. The NIDS annually offers Two academic programs; the Regular Course, the Special Course.

Regular Course

The Regular Course is mainly designed for colonel/captain and lieutenant colonel/commander-grade officers from the three services of the SDF and civilian officials of the MOD. The course lasts one academic year, or 10 months, from the beginning of September until the following June.
The Regular Course covers a wide range of issues, such as the foundations of national security, military strategy, military history, science and technology, economy, international relations, domestic affairs and national security policy-making. The students achieve perspectives on a wide variety of issues that form national security and explore the way of defense policy of Japan through this academic program. At the same time, they improve their insight and improve their ability to think logically and flexibly to see the essence of the matter.
The student body also includes officials from other governmental agencies and those from private sectors, and colonel/captain and lieutenant colonel/commander-grade officers from abroad.

Regular Course
Regular Course

Special Course

The NIDS offers the Special Course. This is a three-week intensive course of study conducted in July. The Special Course is mainly intended for major general/ rear admiral and colonel/ captain-grade officers of the SDF and equivalent-rank civilian officials of the MOD.
The course put stress on study of current policy agenda as well as international relations, security and defense issues. The division director-level officials from other ministries and those from private business also join the student body.