NATIONAL SECURITY SEMINAR
A special annual “by-invitation-only” event for private citizens to join with U.S. Army War College students to share their perspectives and ultimately expand their knowledge.
The National Security Seminar (NSS) occurs during the first full week of June, immediately preceding graduation of the resident class, and serves as the capstone event of the academic year. This event provides a forum for distinguished speakers to discuss their views on issues of importance to the nation’s security and welfare with the students, International Fellows, and faculty of the U.S. Army War College and invited guests from across the country. It provides an extended opportunity for a free and candid dialogue on these issues among the College students, faculty, and invited guests. And finally, it enables representative American citizens to get to know some of the prospective leaders of the American armed forces and government and, in turn, permits the students to better understand the society they serve.
Approximately 160 guests participate in NSS each year. Guests are nominated by a variety of sources including previous attendees, students, staff and faculty, the Army War College Foundation, and Senior Army Leaders. They come from a cross-section of American life and represent a wide range of occupations, geographic regions, and age groups. In short, they are as diverse a group as possible. The College intentionally invites guests who do not have a background in national security affairs so as to encourage a free and frank exchange of different views among the guests and students.
Approximately seven NSS guests are assigned to each of the seminar groups. The guests are invited to become active participants in the discussions and are encouraged to probe and examine the seminar group’s ideas vigorously and critically so as to give the students the benefits of their experience and perspectives. Guests are not expected to prepare for the NSS week. Their individual backgrounds and experience, day-to-day awareness of key national and international issues, and personal commitment to the Nation more than suffice for seminar discussions.
Generally, NSS opens with an Army General Officer, currently serving or recently retired, to address the topic of defense issues and the future of the U.S. military. On subsequent days, keynote speakers cover topics such as the challenges of civil-military relations, the role of domestic politics in national security, the importance of international development to global security, international security issues, and the future role of the United States. Our keynote speakers are widely recognized and accomplished experts in their respective fields.
Besides the keynote speakers and the seminar discussions, guests also have the opportunity for more informal discussions at several social events. These include the Welcome Reception sponsored by the Army War College Foundation, individual seminar socials, and the Commandant’s Reception. In addition, guests are provided the opportunity to take a “staff ride” to the Gettysburg Battlefield with our experienced historians.
The non-attribution policy of the U.S. Army War College ensures that guest speakers, guests, students, and faculty may enjoy a comfortable, open, free, and frank exchange of thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
To learn more about the National Security Seminar, including the nomination process, visit the College’s NSS website.