Views From the Trenches

Decorated officers from the U.S. Army War College discuss national policy issues at Dickinson.

The U.S. Army War College's Lt. Col. Robert Borcherding, Lt. Col. Paul Brooks, Cmdr. Anthony Conley, Col. Michael Daniels and Col. Kelly Ivanoff offered expert views on foreign policy during a roundtable discussion at Dickinson. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Visiting military leaders share national-security expertise

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall when key policy decisions are made? Students got a unique look at the complex issues underlying high-stakes decision-making  when military leaders came to campus to hash out the pressing national-security issues of our day.

Five decorated officers offered their views on U.S. weapons strategy, energy security, terrorism and civil-military relations during a panel discussion in Dickinson’s Stern Center moderated by Capt. Jim Boswell of the nearby U.S. Army War College. Sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, the event was part of Dickinson's Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty lecture series, which continues through May.

“It was a great opportunity to see how concepts we learned in class apply to real-life scenarios,” said Sydney Cross ’17, who attended the event with fellow students in Assistant Professor of Political Science Kristine Mitchell’s international-relations class.

Molly Brusser ’17, also enrolled in Mitchell's class, was intrigued by the debate about the use of nuclear weapons in peacekeeping, while economics major Rachel Kass ’15, a member of Assistant Professor of Political Science Andrew Wolff’s foreign-policy course, focused on the argument that the United States needs to pivot resources to the Asian Pacific. For political-science major Emily Pryor ’14, the highlight arrived when the discussion turned to Syria and governmental transparency with regard to drone strikes.

The event brought new depth to classroom conversations about complex and ever-evolving issues, said Megan Magruder ’17. “It’s especially helpful to hear from members of the U.S. military when it comes to foreign policy and relations because they have first-hand experience in topics we explore in class and read about in the news,” she added.

International-studies major Timothy “Ted” Dressel ’14 noted that there were further-reaching benefits too, since the discussion was part of the U.S. Army War College's Eisenhower Series College Program, an academic-outreach initiative that brings War College faculty and students together for productive dialogues with faculty and students from colleges throughout the U.S. The idea is to build a national culture of greater understanding and cooperation by engaging tomorrow's civilian and military leaders today. 

"This is a great opportunity to interact with the U.S. Army War College, and it reflects a strong relationship demonstrated by the creation of the security-studies certificate, internships , faculty exchanges and the Mellon-funded civil-military relations project," explained Dressel, a former War College intern. "These programs distinguish Dickinson from our peers."

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Students and faculty members also were invited to attend an interagency crisis simulation hosted at the U.S. Army War College last weekend. A part of the Mellon project on civil-military education, the event offered a framework for undergraduates from 11 educational institutions to participate in a role-playing scenario in which they formed U.S. policy responses to a hypothetical international emergency.

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Published March 27, 2014