Copyright © 2016 The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

 The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

The Johns Hopkins University

The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20036

202.663.5911

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The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies hosted General David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, on November 6, 2019 for the 15th Annual Alvin H. Bernstein Lecture, entitled, "Making the Case for Change in the United States Marine Corps."

Alvin Bernstein, a distinguished ancient historian and lecturer who served in positions of high responsibility in the Department of Defense, was an exceptional educator in the civilian academic world and in the United States government. In keeping with his example and his interests, the Alvin H. Bernstein Annual Lecture has as its organizing theme the intersection of history and national security policy.

Watch General Berger's remarks here

The Philip Merrill Center hosts General David H. Berger for the 15th Annual Alvin H. Bernstein Lecture

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On Thursday, March 7, 2019, the Philip Merrill Center, the Strategic Studies Program, Foreign Policy Institute's The Big Picture, and the Johns Hopkins Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute hosted Bridging America's Civil-Military Gap, which aimed to start the conversation on military service; lent structure and context to the dialogue on civil-military relations; and helped explore the impact of the last eighteen years of war.

In the first panel, we heard from former civilian and military leaders on decision-making in war. Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post moderated a conversation among Kathleen Hicks of CSIS, Eric Edelman of SAIS, and Carter Ham of AUSA. Watch the conversation here.

In the second panel, SAIS faculty David Barno and Paula Thornhill, and SAIS students Nicholas Grady, Kevin Root, and Max Rossignol reflected on their time in the military, discussing a day in the life of a servicemember, the transition to civilian life, and what it means to be a veteran.

After viewing a display of works by photojournalist Svetlana Bachevanova, I Wanted to be Rambo, I Wanted to be Lakota, the stories of veterans of the Lakota Nation, conference goers watched a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles' Ajax, performed by Theater of War Productions. The performance was followed by a town hall discussion on the impact of war on individuals, families, and communities, which sought to generate compassion and understanding among diverse audiences. 

 

Philip Merrill Center Hosts Groundbreaking Conference on Civil-Military Relations

The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies is pleased to announce its membership in U.S. Strategic Command's Academic Alliance. The Academic Alliance is a community of interest focused on research and analysis of deterrence, assurance, and associated strategic level national security themes in a rapidly changing, multi-domain global threat environment

The Philip Merrill Center joins USSTRATCOM Academic Alliance

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The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies hosted Dr. Kori Schake, Deputy Director-General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on November 8, 2018 for its 14th Annual Alvin H. Bernstein Lecture, entitled, "Was the United States Ever Good at National Security Policy?"

Alvin Bernstein, a distinguished ancient historian and lecturer who served in positions of high responsibility in the Department of Defense, was an exceptional educator in the civilian academic world and in the United States government. In keeping with his example and his interests, the Alvin H. Bernstein Annual Lecture has as its organizing theme the intersection of history and national security policy.

Watch a video of Dr. Schake's remarks here

The Philip Merrill Center hosts Dr. Kori Schake for the 14th Annual Alvin H. Bernstein Lecture

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The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments hosts an annual “Strategy in the Asia-Pacific Region” training workshop at the Johns Hopkins SAIS campus.

“Strategy in the Asia-Pacific Region” is a one-week course for mid-career professionals in the national security community; it is a graduate-level training opportunity for those who seek an immersive education in Asia and strategy.
 

Strategy in the Asia-Pacific Region

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) welcomes Paula G. Thornhill as Associate Director of the Strategic Studies program.
 
“It is a great privilege to join the legendary strategic studies program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. What Eliot Cohen, Mara Karlin, the strategic studies faculty, alumni, and students have built and sustained is truly remarkable,” said Thornhill. They’ve brought academic rigor and policy relevance together in a way no other university program in America can match. It’s such an honor to join their ranks in this full-time capacity.”
 
Thornhill previously served as a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE. A former U.S. Air Force brigadier general, Thornhill was the first female commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology. Prior to her time as commandant, Thornhill served as the principal director for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She also taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and was assigned to the Air Staff, the Joint Staff, U.S. Strategic Command, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

 

Johns Hopkins SAIS Welcomes Paula G. Thornhill as Associate Director of the Strategic Studies Program

Building on nearly twenty years of teaching-focused workshops, the Philip Merrill Center has launched a new program focused on individuals in the first half of their careers with a view to developing the next cadre of strategic scholars and practitioners.

 

The National Security Scholars and Practitioners Program (NSSPP) convenes a diverse group of professionals in the mid-phase of their careers. to explore the future of war.

 

Participants consider the state of strategic thought, the U.S. assessment of the big questions in the changing nature of conflict, U.S. competitive advantages, and implications for the United States, including its policy and force structure. In exploring these issues, participants are complemented by senior scholar-teachers and distinguished guests who join both the formal program and informal discussions.

Strategic Development

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The SAIS Summer Study explores strategies for the United States to compete with China. This year’s workshop will build upon the success of previous years by developing a new generation of scholars and practitioners proficient in both regional and strategic studies.

 

The Summer Study will take place in a small seminar environment of approximately twenty attendees. The cohort will be composed of early-to-mid-career scholars and practitioners as well as established scholars and current and former government and industry leaders. 

SAIS Summer Study

The Philip Merrill Center offers two programs that address changing security dynamics in the Asia-Pacific and the U.S. competition with China. 

The Advanced Strategy Program brings military and civilian national security professionals together for a two-week course on Strategy in the Asia-Pacific. Through lectures, discussions, and a simulations, participants address the regional setting, regional actors, the strategic landscape, and instruments of statecraft. 

The SAIS Summer Study gathers young and established scholars, practitioners, and current and former government leaders  for a week-long workshop to explore strategies for the United States to compete with China over the next several decades. It employs an approach used successfully by the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment for decades, but adapts it to the purpose of educating the nation’s next generation of strategic thinkers.

Advanced Studies

The Philip Merrill Center organizes two lecture series for the SAIS community, the Alvin H. Bernstein Annual Lecture and the You Were There speaker series, and regularly welcomes distinguished speakers for other roundtable discussions and lectures throughout the academic year.

 

Additionally, the Philip Merrill Center organizes staff rides for military officers or civilian groups. Staff rides are not battlefield tours, so much as a kind of military case study. They involve visits to battlefields with a view to understanding perennial problems of war, such as the nature of command, the impact of changing technologies, and the adaptation of military organizations to new environments. An active form of learning, they rely on role play and participation.

Outreach and Events