Co-hosted with the The Alexander Hamilton Society, the Security and Strategy Seminar is a graduate-level seminar in Washington, DC, focused on distinct challenges to the American position in the world with an emphasis on policy and cohort-building. Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, our leaders increasingly realize that our power, position, and principles are under assault from adversaries we had once hoped to transform into friends.
In 2022-2023, SSS will consist of four separate, simultaneous year-long seminars, each focused on a different strategic challenge the United States faces: the People’s Republic of China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Defense Policy and Strategy. Although the nature of the competition and relevant factors differ for each adversary, each Seminar’s framing questions will remain the same:
- What are America’s goals, and how do we achieve them?
- What does the strategic competition look like? What are we competing over?
- What do we need to understand about our adversary in order to achieve our goals?
Taught by leading scholars in the field, each SSS will consist of 15 evening sessions that meet from September-May and will afford participating fellows an opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge on critical subjects, forge relationships with senior scholars and practitioners, sharpen analytical frameworks through written and oral arguments, and build a cohort with their peers. Fellows will be responsible for around 50 pages of reading for each session and will be required to write two short essays over the course of the program. Each seminar will meet on the same designated day of the week from 6:00pm-8:30pm. All four tracks will convene together for the first and last sessions. Over the course of the program, fellows will also have the opportunity to take part in a crisis simulation, to attend the annual Writing Workshop Conference, and to be published in the SSS journal, Security and Strategy.
US-China Strategic Competition: The China Challenge
Over one year into the Biden administration, China has remained at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. Previous administrations have labeled China as a revisionist power intent on changing the U.S.-led world order and committed the U.S. to competing with China across all dimensions of national power. Over the course of the seminar, fellows will assess what a new era of strategic competition with China looks like, the stakes of such a competition, what China’s objectives are, and how its leaders seek to achieve them. They will gain an understanding of how the U.S. can reshape its strategy to avoid, yet be prepared for, conflict. Fellows will study with leading experts on the Chinese economy, political warfare, and the role of regional allies through different theaters of competition.
US Iran Strategic Competition: The Iran Challenge
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been a critical challenge for American policymakers, turning from friend to foe overnight. In the ensuing four decades, nearly every American president has had an Iran-related crisis help define his presidency. Over the course of the seminar, fellows will gain a clear understanding of the history of America’s relationship with Iran and take an in-depth look at the ideological nature of the Iranian regime. They will delve into the challenges the regime presents to the United States, from its nuclear program to its regional ambitions to its oil diplomacy.
US-Russia Strategic Competition: The Russia Challenge
Once thought to have been on the path to becoming a democratic capitalist state, Russia remains a preeminent global challenge to the United States. Every American president in recent decades has entered office committed to resetting relations with Russia only for the relationship to become more acrimonious. Today, relations may be at their lowest point in nearly four decades. Thirty years after the end of the Cold War and two decades into Vladimir Putin’s reign, Washington seems to have finally realized that the Russian challenge is enduring. Over the course of the seminar, fellows will gain an understanding of the Russian challenge to the U.S. and Russia’s objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. Fellows will learn about the history of U.S.-Russian relations, the nature of the Russian political regime, the role of oil, Russian military and nuclear doctrine and developments, and the current status of relations.
Defense Strategy & Policy: The Defense Challenge
The United States currently faces challenges to its military advantage across all domains – air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. Strategic competition is not limited solely to its military element, but understanding the defense angle is necessary to understand and effectively respond to the challenges our adversaries pose. Over the course of the seminar, fellows will gain an understanding of not only military strategy and warfare, but also the formation and implementation of defense policy. They will study the intricacies of the relationships between the government, the private sector, and the military and the ways in which policymakers can improve our national defense.
For the Security and Strategy Seminar, we seek a professionally diverse and first-rate class of highly committed junior to mid-level professionals (25-35 years old) already working in policy-relevant institutions. Fellows will be responsible for around 50 pages of reading for each session and will be required to write two short essays of the course of the program. Each seminar will meet on the same designated day of the week from 6:00pm-8:30pm. If the ongoing public health crisis prevents in-person gatherings, SSS will operate via virtual platforms.
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