NEWPORT, R.I. – The Theater Security Decision Making (TSDM) course at U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) held a practitioner session for students allowing them to interact with professionals to better understand the relationship of human security to national security at a forum held at the Newport, Rhode Island school Friday.
The session, titled “Human Security,” brought in two experts to discuss ideas with students about security in a world where transnational and subnational forces are challenging traditional ideas about power and security.
“The event gave students a unique opportunity to meet with two former undersecretaries of state from two different presidential administrations to discuss ways the U.S. government addresses non-traditional security challenges and works with international institutions to improve human security,” said Derek Reveron, professor in National Security Affairs and organizer of the event.
The panelists were Sarah Sewall, the Speyer Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies who recently served as undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights; and former Amb. Paula Dobriansky, senior fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs.
Practitioner sessions are important for students to look at real-world experts who have worked in the field first hand, according to the presenters.
“Having a practical window on government will only enable the students to have a broader view of what they can expect in their future careers,” said Dobriansky. “It’s not only about theory but about putting various theories into action. They understand there are curveballs, internal bureaucratic fights, external crises and other impacts that can arise.”
This year’s theme of human security is becoming more and more vital.
“In a globalized world human security becomes increasingly important because it is the framework through which national security interests are affected,” said Sewall. “People, the needs of people, the starvation of people, failed states . . . they are all intertwined. This is an opportunity to widen their [the students’] apertures in terms of thinking about what national security entails and how does it relate to the needs of people.”
The practitioner session is an important part of the TSDM course.
"Our courses are grounded in academic rigor, but we also understand the importance of making our curriculum professionally relevant for our students,” said David A. Cooper, the James V. Forrestal Professor and chair of the National Security Affairs department. “Getting candid insights from former senior officials like this in these practitioner sessions helps to ensure that our students are challenged to understand how the theories that they are studying in the classroom apply in the real world."
The diplomats enjoyed the interactions with students.
“This is an outstanding program,” said Dobriansky. “It is a lot of fun having this exchange with students and I hope it will have some value for them.”
NWC is a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 resident students and about 1,000 distance learning students each year. Its primary mission is to educate and develop future leaders. Additional missions include: helping to define the future Navy and its roles and missions, supporting combat readiness, strengthening global maritime partnerships, promoting ethics and leadership throughout the force, contributing knowledge to shape effective decisions through our John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research, providing expertise and advice to the international legal community through the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies or Defense and Strategic Studies. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885 and about 300 of today’s active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.