Summary of 2023 NSS

Seminar Video and Photo Albums

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The 68th U.S. Army War College (USAWC) annual National Security Seminar (NSS), held on June 5-8, 2023, was the capstone event for this academic year's resident course. The NSS brought 150 guests from across the country to the USAWC, providing them an opportunity to meet and engage with this year's 371 resident course graduates, including 76 international officers from 73 different countries. The U.S. graduates are America's future strategic leaders, thinkers, and advisors. International graduates of the USAWC have reached the highest levels of leadership in their respective countries. The NSS also provided an opportunity for the U.S. students to better understand the society they serve and for the international officers to gain an appreciation for the diverse opinions among the American population.

The NSS kicked off with an icebreaker reception for arriving guests at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center on the evening of Sunday, June 4. The NSS officially opened on Monday, June 5, with a formal welcome address in Bliss Hall Auditorium by the Commandant, Major General David C. Hill, followed by NSS guests meeting with the students in one of 23 seminar groups. In the afternoon, General (Retired) David Perkins, former Commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), served as the first guest speaker of the NSS program and gave a presentation about the military profession and the relationship of the military and the American people. He stressed the central role of trust, both within the military and in civil military relations. General Perkins offered frank comments on the trust challenge in today's charged political environment and the obstacles it creates for the all-volunteer military. After General Perkins' talk and his robust discussion with the audience, NSS participants returned to their seminars to explore its topics in greater detail. That evening, each of the seminar groups gathered for dinner at various locations around Carlisle to socialize and review the day's events.

On Tuesday morning, Dr. Janine Davidson, President of Metropolitan State University of Denver, chairperson of the Defense Policy Board that advises the Secretary of Defense, and former Undersecretary of the U.S. Navy, gave a presentation regarding Americans' perceptions of the military and trends in military recruitment. As a former member of the military, a leading figure in defense and national security policy circles, and an educational leader, Dr. Davidson suggested ways to sustain and improve the ties between the American people and their military in a politically and strategically challenging environment. After the talk, the NSS participants spent the rest of the morning discussing Davidson's ideas in more depth. In the afternoon, NSS guests attended a "Meet Your Army" event at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. The event offered guests the opportunity to meet Army soldiers and noncommissioned officers from Carlisle Barracks and the local area, as well as to learn more about the Army's history and current-day roles and composition. The final event of the day was a reception at the Commandant's residence, where students, faculty, and NSS guests enjoyed a social mixer and had the opportunity to network with their seminar colleagues and guests.

On Wednesday, Mr. Robert Work, Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security at the Center for a New American Security and former Deputy Secretary of Defense, gave a presentation on strategic competition between the U.S. and China--a topic that was the focus of much of his effort while holding the number two position in the Pentagon and on which he remains a leading national thought leader. Secretary Work explained the evolution of the U.S. relationship which China and noted that containing China's drive for regional or global hegemony and the associated technological competition without accidentally stumbling into a catastrophic war is one of the most important challenges that the United States faces. Following the talk and seminar discussion that followed, USAWC historians led the NSS guests and their spouses on a Gettysburg Battlefield tour.

Thursday morning began with a panel chaired by Dr. Carrie Lee, chair of USAWC's Department of National Security and Strategy and co-director of USAWC's newly formed Civil-Military Relations Center. The panel included USAWC faculty members Prof. Charles Allen and Dr. Thomas Galvin from the Department of Command Leadership and Management, and Dr. Marybeth Ulrich from the Department of National Security and Strategy. Each discussed their research on civil-military relations and current challenges to the military profession, then engaged in discussion with the NSS participants. The Commandant then closed the week with his concluding remarks, thanking the NSS participants for the part each played in making the event a noteworthy success.

The 2023 NSS was an engaging and thought-provoking week. NSS guests provided positive feedback, highlighting the opportunity they received in their seminar groups to discuss issues and to understand the perspective of rising military and government leaders. Keys to this year's NSS success were the diversity of the NSS guests and excellent distinguished speakers.

Contact Information

National Security Seminar
U.S. Army War College
651 Wright Avenue
Carlisle, PA 17013
Phone: 717-245-3224