Department of National Security and Strategy - U.S. Army War College - Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
U.S. Army War College
Strategic Studies Institute
Army Heritage and Education Center
Collins Hall
Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute

National Security Seminar

  • Last Year's NSS Summary

  • NSS Nomination Form

  • NSS Confirmation Form

  • NSS Biographical Form

  • NSS Travel Response Card

  • Directions to Carlisle Bks

  • Nonattribution Policy

    Contact the Director, National Security Seminar
  • General Information. 

    The National Security Seminar (NSS) is a one-week event that creates an environment for Army War College students and distinguished guests to examine current national security issues and exchange candid dialogue. NSS takes place the first full week of June, immediately preceding 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 students, International Fellows, and faculty of the Army War College as well as new members from across the country. The event will introduce NSS guests to some of the future leaders of the American armed forces and government and, in turn, permits the students to better understand the society they serve.

    Approximately 160 new members join student seminar groups during the NSS. They come from a cross-section of American life and represent as broad a range of occupations, geographic regions, and age groups as possible. Since this is an outreach program with limited seats available, we intentionally invite new members that do not have an association with the military. This also has the effect of encouraging a free and frank exchange of differing views among the guests and students.

    Approximately eight new members are assigned to each of the 20 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 and critically so as to give the students the benefits of their own personal experience and perspectives. New members are not expected to prepare in advance for the Seminar.

    Each day includes a guest speaker who sets the theme for the day's discussions. Generally, we open the Seminar with a General Officer, currently serving or recently retired, to address current defense issues. On subsequent days speakers cover 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.

    Besides the guest speakers and the seminar discussions, new members also have the opportunity for more informal discussions at several social events. These include individual seminar socials on Monday night, a buffet dinner, and the Commandant's Reception, held at Quarters One.

    In addition, new members and their spouses are provided the opportunity to take a "staff ride" to the Gettysburg Battlefield with our experienced historians.

    Once new members provide for their transportation to and from the Seminar, the remaining costs of the week, to include food, lodging and daily transportation are provided by the College. The College also provides an alternate itinerary for those spouses who accompany them. Unfortunately, space does not allow spouses to sit in Bliss Hall during lectures or the seminar rooms during discussions. Spouses are invited to listen to guest lectures which are broadcast in Wil Washcoe Auditorium and to partake of all social activities as well as the Gettysburg Staff Ride. We recognize that many couples are both individually well-qualified to attend the Seminar, but with limited seats available each year for this outreach effort, we cannot extend invitations to more than one spouse.

    The nonattribution policy of the Army War College applies throughout the week, both in the seminar group discussions and during guest speakers' addresses. This policy ensures that guest speakers, new members, students, and faculty may enjoy a free and frank exchange of ideas and opinions.


    New members may be nominated by a variety of sources, including prior NSS attendees, War College students and alumni, staff and faculty, the Army War College Foundation, as well as Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army from around the country. We do not accept self-nominations.

    Individuals may nominate new members electronically using the nomination form, available from the NSS Director via the e-mail link to the left. The form also includes instructions to mail or fax the nomination.

    The College accepts nominations beginning upon graduation of the previous year's class and extending through December 15. Nominations received after December 15 will be placed on a waitlist. After screening all nominations and selecting the most diverse and highly qualified, the resulting list goes to the Commandant for approval by early Feb. Invitations are mailed out by the end of February. As they return their RSVP cards, new members are confirmed for attendance on a first come, first served basis. Once all spaces are filled, any further acceptances will be asked if they wish to go onto an alternate list in case of cancellations.