|The 57th Annual National Security Seminar opened on Monday, June 6 with new members meeting their student seminars for the first time. The morning provided a formal kick-off with a Welcome Address by the Commandant, MG Martin. Our Keynote Address consisted of a video teleconference from the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. MG John W. Nicholson Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations provided a fast-paced overview of current challenges in Afghanistan. At the conclusion of his remarks, he spent another 45 minutes in a question and answer session before participants returned to their student seminars. That evening, each seminar group gathered for dinner at various locations around Carlisle for a time of socializing and reviewing the day's events.
On Tuesday, Prof Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union delivered an address on the state of civil liberties in America. Following the Q&A session, attendees again went to seminar rooms to discuss her remarks. After a luncheon at the Letort View Community Center (LVCC) on post, students and new members had the opportunity to attend one of four optional noontime lectures presented by Army War College faculty and staff. Tuesday's offerings included, "Civil-Military Relations," "Servant Leadership," "Critical Thinking and Judgment" and "The Emerging Fiscal Environment within the Department of Defense" The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to seminar discussion time. The last event of this very full day was the Commandant's Reception at Quarters One, where students, faculty and new members enjoyed an elegant buffet and entertainment by the US Army Chorus.
On Wednesday, Dr Paul Kan of the U.S. Army War College, Department of National Security and Strategy, spoke about the Mexican Drug War and understanding Cartel violence. After the Q&A session, the participants enjoyed short morning and afternoon seminar discussions. Following the afternoon seminar discussion period, the new members and their spouses took advantage of the Gettysburg Staff Ride and spent over five hours on the battlefield with Army War College historians.
Thursday morning began with a seminar discussion of the Gettysburg Staff Ride. The three Noontime Lecture options included "The Effects of Multiple Deployments on Army Adolescents" "Middle East in Turmoil" and "The U.S. and Chinese Economic Relations." At the conclusion of the, the day's formal events closed with a dinner at the LVCC where attendees were entertained by the US Army Band's Swamp Romp jazz ensemble. This fast-paced week was rapidly drawing to a close.
Friday began with time in seminars, as students and new members reviewed the week and bid each other farewell. Attendees then heard the final guest speaker, Mr. Gideon Rose, Editor of Foreign Affairs, share his views on "How Wars End". After an invigorating Q&A session, MG Martin again took the floor to congratulate the new members and students on a very successful week together. The final formal event of the week was a brief celebration of the US Army's 235th birthday, with a cake cutting ceremony and the singing of the Army Song.
Traditionally an engaging and thought-provoking week, this year's Seminar was no different. New member feedback forms overwhelmingly pointed to the opportunity in student seminars to discus and debate issues and to learn the perspective of rising senior leaders as the highlight. Student feedback likewise highlighted the diversity of the new members in their seminars as well as the very high quality of the guest speakers during the week.