Dr. Thomas Mahnken speaks about Technology and the American Way of War

Dr. Thomas Mahnken’s talk last night was based on his book, Technology and the American Way of War, recently released in paperback by Columbia University Press.

Mahnken has taught at AAP for years and was the first director of the National Security Studies Certificate. 

In last night’s talk Mahnken argued that the distinctive cultures of each of the armed services plays a significant role in how they adapt and adopt new technologies.  In the end, Mahknen argued, that the rise of information technology is fundamentally reshaping the armed forces but not always in the most obvious of ways.

Students asked some great questions, including one who wanted to understand more about how the Air Force, traditionally dominated by pilots, was handling the rise of UAV’s… Another student asked {after the event ended} whether the Marine Corps should be disbanded given the possibility that its roles can be filled by other branches.

For the record, both Mahnken and I gave the same answer: Semper Fi!


We are excited about the staff ride!


Last week, Dr. Roth, Dr. Stout and I took a little preparatory field trip to Gettysburg to plan the upcoming staff ride.

We toured the battlefield and picked out the spots where the most important decisions were made.  We climbed very tall towers to survey the terrain and crouched in grass on our stomachs to get a first-hand feel for the cover and the dead space in an area.  And we look forward to making our students do this too :)

Event details are here.  Sign-up for the event is now closed, but if you are interested, there will be more opportunities like this in the future, so keep your ears open.

 Be prepared to climb this!


Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson speaks at AAP

On October 6th, Governmental Studies welcomed speaker Michael P. Jackson, the Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security.  Deputy Secretary Jackson spoke about domestic and international aviation security challenges for 2011.  

His talk was fascinating-- he shared anecdotes about the process of setting up the new workforce of the Transportation Security Administration, and gave the audience an insider's view of topics that we all follow closely in the news:  the use of sophisticated technology to monitor and screen travelers, the hiring of baggage screeners and the implications and challenges of a new government agency of the size and scope of Homeland Security.

Here's the Deputy having a pre-symposium talk with GSS Program Director Ariel Roth and Professor James Norton.  See more pictures here.


Leadership in International Relations

Dr. Roth's new book, Leadership in International Relations: The Balance of Power and the Origins of World War II, went on sale yesterday!

From the book jacket:  After nearly two decades of American hegemony, the balance of power is back as a key force in international politics. This timely book explores the key role that leaders play in the formation of effective balances of power. Using the years before World War II as an example, this book argues that it is not enough to just build weapons in the face a rising danger.  The secret is to build the right weapons. Leaders have to make the call.  British leaders in the 1930s fell short. Will today's leaders do any better?



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