Summary of 2019 NSS

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NSS was cancelled.

Seminar Video and Photo Albums

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The 65th U.S. Army War College (USAWC) Annual National Security Seminar (NSS), 3 to 6 June, was the academic capstone event for the 2019 resident course with a theme of "Complexities of Strategic Competition in a Globalized 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 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 2. The NSS officially opened at the US Army War College on Monday, June 3, 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. Ambassador to Lithuania Deborah McCarthy provided the keynote address, discussing the role diplomats play in international relations and how diplomacy is woven through all elements of national power. She offered explanations and examples of diplomatic work to defend the American people and way of life, enhance U.S. economic prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance American interests. Her examples highlighted the interaction of diplomats with U.S. military leaders, the U.S. Trade Representative, and others, making the point that diplomacy is not an exclusive club. She noted five key elements of diplomacy: reconnaissance, communication, negotiation, foreign assistance, and overseas presence. 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, the Commanding General of U.S. Army North, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, drawing from his personal experiences, illustrated the integration of the military instrument of national power with other elements of power.

His lecture emphasized the principle of unity of effort in military operations and shared purpose when coordinating with allies and partners. For the NSS guests, he reminded them of the military's obligation to advance readiness and build a more lethal force. He highlighted the Defense commitment to strengthen alliances and partnerships and improve interoperability. His discussion points inspired questions about national security policy, responding to climate-related challenges, and civilian authorities' contributions to achieving unity of effort.

For the students who will soon graduate and return to the joint force, Buchanan reminded them that effective problem solving is dependent on their work in defining the problem and wariness about single-source solutions. Referring to Sun Tsu, he advised the leaders to know themselves and their decision-making styles so that they may share that understanding and help us better serve the entire organization.

In the afternoon, NSS guests, students and faculty had the opportunity to attend one of five lectures presented by War College faculty:

NSS guests spent the remainder of the afternoon in seminar group discussion. The final 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, Dr. Jeffry Frieden, a Professor of Government at Harvard University, addressed the economic instrument of national power.

Frieden talked about the past, present and future of the integrated international economy and how recent trends in trade, finance, and immigration have created discontent and political pressure that is driving contemporary globalization. He offered historical examples from the 19th and 20th centuries of the interplay among political, economic and military developments connecting dots from the great depression and political pressures in Central Europe to World War II. Frieden explained, as well, that domestic and international political support economic cooperation and commitment to an open economy could foster healthy economic growth. In addition, he linked investment in productivity, development and infrastructure to continued economic prosperity.

His conversation sparked several inquiries from the NSS audience about topics ranging from current U.S. monetary policy to the national debt and government options to retain new industrial capabilities in the U.S. 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 - the Honorable James Clapper. Mr. Clapper, who served as the fourth U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI), 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 2019 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