Summary of 2018 NSS

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The 64th U.S. Army War College (USAWC) Annual National Security Seminar (NSS), 4 to 7 June, was the academic capstone event for the 2018 resident course with a theme of "America's Strategic Role in the World." 157 guests from across the country participated in the NSS providing them an opportunity to gain an understanding of perspectives of the 380 USAWC resident course graduates including 74 international officers. The U.S. graduates are America's future strategic leaders, thinkers and advisors. International officers who have graduated from the USAWC have reached the highest levels of leadership in their respective countries. The NSS provided an opportunity for the American students to better understand the society they serve and for the international officers to gain an appreciation for the diverse opinions among the American population.

The NSS kicked off with an Icebreaker Reception for arriving guests at the Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) on Sunday evening, June 3rd. The NSS officially opened at the US Army War College on Monday, June 4th, with a formal welcome address in Bliss Hall Auditorium by the Commandant, Major General John Kem followed by NSS guests meeting with the students in one of 24 seminar groups. In the afternoon, former U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk provided the keynote address, discussed economic diplomacy as an instrument of national power, and talked about the benefits of trade. He noted the power of economic engagement, and stated countries who enter into economic agreement do not go to war. That evening, each of the seminar groups gathered for dinner at various locations around Carlisle to socialize and review the day's events.

On Tuesday, former Department of State Ambassador Kristie Kenney explained how many of the accomplishments in today's diplomatic environment are enabled through coalitions with other countries and organizations. She cited the fight against Ebola as an example of how countries and health organizations come together for a common cause. In the afternoon, NSS guests, students and faculty had the opportunity to attend one of four lectures presented by War College faculty:

  • The Army's Domestic Imperative: Defending and Securing the Homeland
  • Game On or Game Over: US-China Competition
  • Strategic Intelligence: When Should State Secrets Stay Secret
  • Why America Entered the First World War and Why it Matters Today

NSS guests spent the remainder of the afternoon in seminar group discussion. The last event of the day was the Commandant's Reception, where students, faculty and NSS guests enjoyed a social mixer and had the opportunity to network with their seminar colleagues and guests.

On Wednesday, Admiral Kurt Tidd, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, spoke about the significance of the military as an instrument of power in the diplomacy, information, military, and economic (D.I.M.E) strategy. Tidd's remarks led the audience through the phases of war and the spectrum of conflict. Highlighting the theory that while there seems to be a peace; our adversaries are on the initiative and dominating the threshold just below the war level. Following his presentation and the morning seminar session, U.S. Army War College historians led the NSS guests and their spouses on a Gettysburg Battlefield Staff Ride.

Thursday morning began with seminar discussions of the Gettysburg Staff Ride; a review of the week's learning points, followed by the week's final distinguished speaker - Mr. David Sanger. Mr. Sanger is the Chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, provided his perspective on the informational instrument of national power. The Commandant then closed the week with his concluding remarks, thanking the NSS participants for the part each played in making the event a noteworthy success.

The 2018 NSS was an engaging and thought-provoking week. NSS guests provided positive feedback, highlighting the opportunity they received in their seminar groups to discuss and debate issues, and to understand the perspective of rising military and government leaders. Keys to this year's NSS success were the diversity of the NSS guests and excellent distinguished speakers.

Contact Information

National Security Seminar
U.S. Army War College
632 Wright Avenue
Carlisle, PA 17013
Phone: 717-245-3224