Army War College News, Features

Great Decisions, March 17: Col. Ian Lyles will speak on Latin American politics

The U.S. Army War College's Great Decisions program offers an interactive experience for anyone in the greater Carlisle area to listen and engage on topics of interest to American citizens.  The series kicks off Friday, Jan 20 and continues Friday afternoons, 1-3 p.m. through March 17, at the Army Heritage & Education Center. Café Cumberland will be open for lunch and snacks.  Community members are invited to attend any or all of the free lectures. Below is the list of subjects and speakers.

Latin America’s Political Pendulum    Friday, March 17, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Col. Ian Lyles. Col. Lyles is the Director of Americas Studies at the U.S. Army War College, he is a Latin American Foreign Area Officer and holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas at Austin.

The pendulum of Latin American politics is swinging rightward again. The forces of change have more to do with socioeconomics than ideology. Economic and political crises have coincided in countries like Brazil and Venezuela. The final result for Latin America may be the emergence of centrist, pragmatic modes of governance.

Saudi Arabia in Transition    Friday, Jan. 20, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. David Commins, Dr. Commins is professor of history at Dickinson College specializing in modern Islamic thought, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.

As Saudi Arabia struggles to adjust to the decline in oil revenue, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attempts to boldly transform the country and shift more power to the younger generation. At the same time, many countries point out the lack of democracy, women’s rights and human rights in Saudi Arabia, Both countries need each other, but they are at a crossroads in bilateral relations.

Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan    Friday, Jan. 27, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Larry Goodson, Department of National Security and Strategy, USAWC

Major internal conflict has plagued Afghanistan for four decades. Today, war with the Taliban persists, and tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan have gradually deteriorated. The incoming administration has a choice: will it maintain the status quo, completely reverse the Obama administration drawdown or withdraw completely? Does the U.S. face a no win situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

 U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum     Friday, Feb 3, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Bryan T. Stinchfield. Dr. Stinchfield is an Associate Professor of Organization Studies at Franklin and Marshall College;formerly, a U.S. Army pilot and counter-terrorism officer

What is the effect of U.S. petroleum security on foreign policy? For 45 years, the country has alternated between periods of energy security and insecurity. Policymakers must recognize both petroleum security circumstances and patterns in the relationship between petroleum and foreign policy.

Nuclear Security    Friday, Feb. 10, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Marybeth Ulrich. Dr. Ulrich is the Professor of Government in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the US Army War College. 

Nuclear nonproliferation was a top priority for the Obama administration. While the Iran Deal was a diplomatic victory toward this end, major threats still persist. Countries like North Korea, Russia, and India and Pakistan continue to challenge nonproliferation efforts. In a fractious world, which way forward for U.S. nuclear security policy?

The Future of Europe    Friday, Feb. 17, 1 – 3 p.m.find last weeks lecture at

Speaker: Col. Thomas Moffatt, Col. Moffatt is a U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer with a regional concentration on Europe and currently serves as the Director of European Studies at the U.S. Army War College.

The United Kingdom referendum on EU membership sent shockwaves across the globe. Amid a refugee crisis, lingering financial recession and the constant specter of terrorism, unity seems more imperative than ever. What will post-Brexit Europe look like, and how can U.S. foreign policy adapt?

Trade and Politics    Friday, Feb. 24, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Prof. John Troxell. Prof. Troxell is a Research Professor of National Security and Military Strategy, with the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, and for the past seventeen years has taught an elective course on the Economics of National Security. - 

The U.S. political mood toward trade has gone sour. Trade means that China wins, at America’s expense. Has the metrics used to gauge economic strength—Gross Domestic Product and balance of trade— kept up with modern manufacturing.

Conflict in the South China Sea    Friday March 10, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speaker: Amb. Daniel Shields, Amb. Shields is a Senior Foreign Service Officer whose extensive Asia experience includes service from 2011-14 as the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei in Southeast Asia. 

The South China Sea is a region of competing territorial claims, and China its most vocal claimant. Beijing’s interest has intensified disputes with other countries in the region in recent years. Despite rising international pressure, China staunchly defends its policies in the region. Preventing tensions from boiling over is a matter of careful diplomacy.

The Great Decisions is a national civic education program and publication of the Foreign Policy Association, dating to 1954. Great Decisions encourages American citizens to become aware and engaged in important global challenges. The Carlisle area Great Decisions series is sponsored by the Army War College, MOAA, and USAA. All Great Decisions lectures are free and open to the USAWC community and the public at the Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, Pa.

Faculty of the Army War College, Dickinson College and Franklin and Marshall College will share knowledge, and take questions about key topics selected by the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions 2017 program.

All lectures will be available a week later at

For weather-related decisions, call 717-245-3700 or go to: