Please note: Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NSS has been cancelled.
The National Security Seminar is a four-day event that creates an environment for
Army War College students and invited guests 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 invited guests, resident students,
International Fellows, staff and faculty. NSS guests are introduced 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. NSS guests 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 guests 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.
Six or seven NSS guests are assigned to each of the 25 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. NSS guests are not required
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.
NSS guests (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, NSS guests and their spouses are provided the opportunity to take a "Staff Ride" tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield with our experienced historians.