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


Reflections on Civil-Military Relations:

Crises, Comparisons, and Paradoxes

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

11:00am - 8:30pm

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Kenney-Herter Auditorium

1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Merrill Center’s inaugural conference on civil-military relations in March 2019 sought to bridge the civil-military gap. Building on the 2019 conference, the 2020 conference, hosted by the Merrill Center and Duke University’s Program in American Grand Strategy, will:


  • Educate the audience on the history of civil-military relations, particularly the legacies of leadership, cultural change, and policy shifts during wartime;

  • Present various dimensions of current civil-military relations debates;

  • Engage the audience on questions of who serves, who is expected to serve, and who should serve in U.S. defense and national security, to include debates on the concepts of national service and the ethos of service; and

  • Continue to raise questions of leadership, ethics, and morals within military and civilian command, and national service more broadly.


Arrivals & Lunch

11:00am - 12:00pm

Conference attendees are welcome to check in one hour prior to the first event.

Boxed lunches will be available.

Opening Remarks
What We've Inherited: Crises in Civil-Military Relations

12:00pm - 12:20pm

Mara Karlin, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Panel 1
What We've Inherited: Crises in Civil-Military Relations

12:20pm - 1:30pm

Peter Feaver, Duke University

Alice Hunt Friend, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Mara Karlin, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Caitlin Talmadge, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Paula Thornhill, Moderator, Johns Hopkins SAIS


1:30pm - 1:40pm

Panel 2
Civil-Military Relations Beyond the United States

1:40pm - 2:50pm

Risa Brooks, Marquette University

Eric Heginbotham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sameer Lalwani, Stimson Center

Daniel Marston, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Nick Schifrin, Moderator, PBS NewsHour


2:50pm - 3:00pm

Panel 3
The Future of National Service

3:00pm - 4:10pm

Jud Crane, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Jason Dempsey, Center for a New American Security

Heidi Urben, U.S. Army

Aaron Mehta, Moderator, Defense News

Closing Remarks
Managing the Paradoxes of American Civil-Military Relations

4:10pm - 4:30pm

Peter Feaver, Duke University


4:30pm - 5:00pm

Performance by Theater of War Productions
Scenes from Sophocles' Philoctetes

5:00pm - 5:45pm

David StrathairnGood Night and Good Luck, A League of Their Own, Lincoln

Marjolaine GoldsmithCompromise, If, After Words

Bryan Doerries, Artistic Director and Moderator

Reflections on the Performance
Community Panelist Remarks & Town Hall Discussion

5:45pm - 6:30pm


6:30pm - 7:30pm

Live Podcast Recording with War on the Rocks

7:30pm - 8:30pm