Army War College News, Features

Thomas Zimmerman, Public Affairs
National Security Seminar encourages civilian, military discussions

The keynote speaker for NSS was Lt. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of Third Army/U.S. Army Central, the Army service component of the United States Central Command. 

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June 7, 2012 -- Approximately 150 citizens drawn from across American life and various fields of endeavor became “new members” of Army War College seminars during the 58th annual National Security Seminar, June 4-7.

The seminar is the capstone event of the 10-month curriculum at the Army War College, the Army’s senior educational institution. Each New Member is assigned to one of 21 student seminar groups and becomes an active participant in seminar discussions, sharing from their own background, experience, beliefs and perspectives on these issues. NSS aims for these representative citizens to get to know some of the prospective leaders of their Armed Forces and, in turn, allows the students to better understand the society they serve.

“Each of you was chosen for what you bring to the table to further the discussion of strategic leadership,” said Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, USAWC commandant, during his welcome to the guests. “Our nation faces very complex issues and challenges and we will all need to work together to find solutions.”

A NSS guest asks a question during the presentation by Brooks. The seminar is designed to serve as the capstone event for USAWC students who will complete their 10-month resident course with a graduation ceremony June 9.

Featured speakers for the week included Lt. Gen. Vince Brooks, commanding general of Third Army/U.S. Army Central, the Army service component of the United States Central Command, who presented an update on the U.S. Army in Afghanistan; Gordon Adams, a professor in the US Foreign Policy Program at the School of International Service, American University, who discussed current U.S. economic conditions; and Norm Ornstein, a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, who talked about the domestic political landscape. 

Brooks discussed a variety of topics during his keynote address including the complex and uncertain environment that will face the USAWC students upon graduation, the ongoing effects of the Arab Spring on the Middle East and the world, the importance of recognizing the interconnected nature of the world and the pursuit of alternate form on energy and its long-term effects on the force.

Adams discussed the challenges facing the Department of Defense in budgeting for national security in an era of resource constraints.
“When you get out of war, your budget is going to go down, history tells us that,” he said. “The challenge is balancing competing requirements for these resources.”

The National Security Seminar also includes an historian-guided Gettysburg Staff Ride and multiple opportunities to discuss several national security issues facing our country today.

     150 “New Members” of Army War College seminar took part in the 2012 National Security Seminar at Carlisle Barracks June 4-7.