Information Assurance is dedicated to keeping information safe from harm. This encompasses computer security, but also communications security, operations security, and physical security. That's a lot to study in one course. For example, NSA has an Information Assurance Directorate tasked with: "detecting, reporting, and responding to cyber threats; making encryption codes to securely pass information between systems; and embedding IA measures directly into the emerging Global Information Grid. It includes building secure audio and video communications equipment, making tamper protection products, and providing trusted microelectronics solutions. It entails testing the security of customers' systems, providing OPSEC assistance, and evaluating commercial software and hardware against nationally set standards, to better meet our nation's IA needs."
Our approach will be to cover selected topics from this very broad area of study with the goal of preparing the student to think critically about security from a wholistic perspective, rather than a purely technical perspective.