The Russia-Ukraine War, COVID pandemic, China-Taiwan tensions, and other global challenges have forced military and civilian leaders and policymakers to re-evaluate the role the U.S. should play in today's global security environment. Setting the theme and tone for the day, the National Security Seminar keynote speaker did not offer any concrete solutions; rather, he provided guests with a thought map they can use when thinking through complex questions.
This week, 168 NSS guests, a cross section of Americans varied geographic regions and diverse backgrounds are exchanging ideas with USAWC students in candid dialogue about national security, June 6-9.
Ambassador Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, was introduced as an idea shaper and practitioner. He opened his presentation by evaluating the past to find the way forward regarding a rules-based order. The contemporary set of rules and norms that dictate how states interact with each other in the world include security, prosperity, and human rights.
Daalder’s presentation suggested that opportunity lays within the domestic and international challenges the United States faces. They present opportunity for the U.S. to maintain and reshape the rules-based order to preserve American national and international interests. In 1918, following WWII and the Cold War, the U.S. was presented with the same opportunity.
His ideas included reconsideration of long-standing assumptions: American power is unassailable; globalization creates interdependence that fosters cooperation not conflict; the free world will always win. This re-shaping of the rules-based order can only be done if the U.S. sets the example and works together with its allies and partnered nations.
In follow-on seminar discussions, students and guests reached beyond the talking points and first impressions. In one seminar, the dialogue focused on the feasibility of Dr. Daalder's recommendations. Guests and students asked candid questions to one another about how these challenges present themselves in the military and the boardroom and how they can work together to be part of the solution.
“I did not know what to expect coming into this. I was impressed by the caliber of people, speakers, students, and dialogue,” said Jomo Stewart, President/CEO Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation.
“What’s really interesting is how quickly we move to talk about substantive issues, and the ability to immerse with students who have been studying the global situation over the past year,” said Craig Dickman, TitletownTech Managing Director. “It is a remarkable experience.”
“We have spent a year here looking at these world problems and wrestling with certain questions, and it is nice to know we are not the only ones looking at these questions, “said USAWC student Steven Dawson. “Because civilians are paying as good of attention as we are, we can work collectively on finding solutions.”