Strategic Thought and Education

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies operates as a center for strategic thought and education. It explores the relationship between politics and the many kinds of military power — from the use of terror by small, non-state groups, to the threatened use of nuclear weapons — aiming to promote dialogue and innovative research on pressing national security issues.

As a center for strategic thought, it focuses on the relationship between history and policy, bringing together practitioners, scholars, journalists, and other experts to explore issues of intellectual substance and practical consequence. The Merrill Center sponsors conferences and small seminars discussing contemporary security issues and leads workshops and trainings that foster strategic thinking on the broad challenges the United States faces today and in the future.

As a center for education, it brings outside speakers to the Johns Hopkins SAIS community and supports Strategic Studies graduate students’ extracurricular activities, such as staff rides, speaker series, internships, trainings, and other sources of experiential learning.

Since its founding in 2004, following a generous gift from the Merrill Family Foundation, the Philip Merrill Center has been a primary resource to the Johns Hopkins SAIS community and beyond, promoting dialogue on major issues of national security and defense.

Dr. Mara Karlin
Executive Director, Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

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Senior Fellow Laura Blumenfeld speaks with New York Times columnist Kara Swisher.


Theater of War Productions performs Sophocles' Ajax at the 2019 Conference on Civil-Military Relations.