The National Security Seminar is a four-day event that creates an environment for
Army War College students and invited guests (whom we refer to as "New Members")
to examine current national security issues and exchange candid dialogue. NSS takes
place during the first full week of June, immediately preceding resident class graduation,
and serves as a capstone event that enhances student learning through exposure to
a cross-section of American perspectives.
NSS provides a forum for distinguished speakers to discuss their views on issues
of importance to the nation's security and welfare with New Members, resident students,
International Fellows, staff and faculty. NSS introduces these New Members to future
leaders of the American armed forces and government, and in turn permits our students
to gain a better understanding of the society they serve.
Approximately 160 invitees join resident student seminar groups for the event. These
New Members come from across the country and are a cross-section of American life,
representing a broad range of occupations, geographic regions, and age groups. Since
this is an outreach program with a limited number of seats, we intentionally invite
New Members that do not have a close association with the military. This has the
effect of encouraging a free and frank exchange of differing views among participants.
Approximately seven New Members are assigned to each of the 24 student seminar groups.
They are invited to become active participants in the discussions and are encouraged
to probe and examine the seminar group's ideas vigorously to provide our students
the benefit of their personal experience and perspectives. New Members are not expected
to prepare in advance for the Seminar.
We normally open the Seminar with a General Officer, currently serving or recently
retired, to address current defense issues. Each day includes a guest speaker who
sets the theme for the day's discussions. On subsequent days, distinguished speakers
cover varied topics such as the challenges of civil-military relations, the role
of domestic politics in national security, globalization, foreign policy, international
security issues and the future role of the United States. Our speakers are widely
recognized and accomplished experts in their respective fields.
New Members (and their spouses) have the opportunity for more informal discussions at several social events. These include an "Icebreaker Social" at the Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC), an individual "Seminar Social" event on Monday evening, and a Commandant's Reception held at his residence. In addition, New Members and their spouses are provided the opportunity to take a "Staff Ride" tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield with our experienced historians.