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At Fletcher, we refer to International Security Studies in two ways. First, as the Field of Study that is among the most commonly pursued by students. Second, for the International Security Studies Program, which offers extremely robust programming throughout the year. Despite the important place that Security Studies (in both its meanings) occupies at Fletcher, I have not always done my part in spreading the word. Making up for that lapse is going to be a focus of my blog work for 2015-16, and there’s no time like the present to start. To do so, I reached out to my old friends, Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff to ask for information. It happened they had just completed a report for one of the organizations that funds their work (and that of many master’s-level and PhD students). Today, I’m going to share excerpts of that report. This is a long post, but the extra length is needed to capture the broad scope of ISSP activites.
International Security Studies at The Fletcher School
With the beginning of 2015-16, the International Security Studies Program (ISSP) will enter its 45th year at The Fletcher School, and International Security Studies remains at the cutting edge of The Fletcher School’s multidisciplinary curriculum. Through its many graduates and other efforts, ISSP has a major impact in shaping strategic thought and analysis in and beyond the political-military affairs community. Many ISSP graduates have gone on to important positions of responsibility in the United States and abroad, including General Joseph Dunford, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Course Offerings & Curriculum Development
ISSP offers a range of courses that examine conflict and war; strategy and statecraft; crisis management; regional security; intelligence; homeland security; proliferation; national security decision making; and terrorism. Our courses are theoretical and policy-oriented, as well as historical and contemporary, and reflect and anticipate a rapidly changing security environment, while providing instruction on the basic and timeless issues of strategy, statecraft, conflict, and war. During the 2014-2015 academic year, seventeen courses were offered in International Security Studies or closely related areas including: The Role of Force in International Politics, International Humanitarian Law; Internal Conflicts and War; Proliferation-Counterproliferation and Homeland Security Issues; The Evolution of Grand Strategy; Foundations of International Cybersecurity; The Strategic Dimensions of China’s Rise; Modern Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism; Peace Operations; Foreign Relations and National Security Law. In support of our curriculum, ISSP sponsors a high-level guest lecture series, an annual conference, a colloquium series, a crisis simulation exercise, and occasional field trips.
ISSP Student Research Supervision
During the 2014-2015 academic year the Security Studies faculty supervised a large number of student research papers, including seven MA theses and 15 MALD Capstone Projects. Currently 18 students are working on PhD dissertations under supervision of Security Studies faculty. Between 1971 and 2015 a total of 201 dissertations in the ISSP were completed and the PhD awarded. International Security Studies remains among the most popular fields as well as the largest Field of Study at Fletcher.
During the 2014-2015 academic year nine mid-level officers were assigned to the ISSP in lieu of spending a year at one of the various service War Colleges. This year’s group included two Air Force, one Navy, four Army, and one National Guard officer, and one senior official from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The mid-career military fellows, who pursue special research projects at Fletcher, bring an unusual set of experiences, expertise, and knowledge that adds greatly to our curriculum.
“Outside the Classroom” Educational Programs
Beyond its course offerings, the ISSP sponsors various “outside-the-classroom” activities designed to enrich the education of our students by addressing the emerging issues of 21st century international security.
IFPA-Fletcher Conference Series
Central to our programmatic activities are high-level conferences. These conferences help to publicize the Security Studies field in the broader national security/foreign policy communities. This year the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and ISSP joined together to organize and facilitate “Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy,” a one-day symposium at Fletcher to promote an informed exchange of views on the new dynamics of Japan’s security policy and their implications for U.S.-Japanese strategic cooperation going forward.
The symposium provided a unique opportunity for a select group of Japanese and American policy experts, academics, business leaders, and officials to review and explain in some depth key aspects of the Abe administration’s defense and foreign policy reforms aimed at facilitating Japan’s emergence as a “proactive contributor to peace” at both the regional and global levels. The Honorable Hideshi Tokuchi, F86, Vice Minister for International Affairs at Japan’s Ministry of Defense, was the keynote speaker for the luncheon.
Crisis Simulation Exercise (SIMULEX)
Each year, as part of the seminar on Crisis Management and Complex Emergencies, ISSP includes a weekend crisis simulation exercise. The 40th anniversary of SIMULEX event was held on November 7-8, 2014 and had more than 160 participants from The Fletcher School and the outside community. The scenario was entitled “Baltic Crisis and a Chaotic Middle East.”
Lectures by outside experts on topics related to international security remain an important dimension of ISSP. These presentations, usually in a luncheon/lecture setting, take place throughout the academic year. Our objective is to draw speakers from a broad cross-section of the professional civilian and military communities, and to design the lecture format in such a way as to give our students maximum opportunity to meet with such experts. Among the speakers sponsored by the ISSP during the 2014-2015 academic year were:
Major General Yaakov Amidror, former Israeli National Security Advisor: Israel’s Security Challenge.
Dr. Daniel Fine, Research Associate at the Mining and Minerals Resources Institute, MIT: Geopolitics of Russian Oil and Gas: Limits of Sanctions and Counter-Sanctions.
Sigrid Kaag, former Special Coordinator of the joint Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and United Nations mission to eliminate the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic: Effective Multilateralism, The Experience of Chemical Weapons Elimination in Syria.
VADM Frank C. Pandolfe, Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), Joint Staff: Global Trends and International Security.
ADM Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations: The Future of Naval Operations.
Dr. David McKean, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State: Foreign Policy Challenges in a Changing World.
Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, president of Krull Corp., USA: Rebalancing the Global Security Disequilibrium: Dealing with the Challenges to the Post-Cold War Order in the Universally-Securitized World.
Dr. Hassan Abbas, F02, F08, professor and chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs: Taliban and ISIS: A Comparative Analysis and Future Prospects.
Rebecca Ulam Weiner, Director of Intelligence Analysis for the NYPD Intelligence Bureau: Al Qa’eda and ISIS Messaging to the West.
Slobodan Djinovic and Srdja Popovic, Chairman and Executive Director respectively of CANVAS (the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies): Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in the 21st Century: Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring, Ukraine, and Hong Kong.
General Joseph Votel, Commanding General of the U.S. Special Operations Command: USSOCOM and the Challenges Associated with Russian Aggression.
General Knud Bartels, current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee: Security Challenges facing NATO.
General Frank Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau: The Modern Day Minuteman — The National Guard in the 21st Century.
Major General and Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, former Director of Defence R&D in the Israeli Ministry of Defence, and currently professor at the University of Tel-Aviv and Deputy Director of the Hartog School of Government and Policy: The Israeli Cyber Ecosystem: Combining Industry, Government, and Academia.
Lt. General John Nicholson, Commander of Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), NATO: An overview of NATO’s Land Command, its mission and priorities, and Russia’s Impact on NATO.
NATO Parliamentarians Conference, featuring:
Dr. Robert Legvold, Visiting Professor, The Fletcher School, and Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Columbia University: Perspectives on U.S.–Russian Relations.
Dr. Kostas A. Lavdas is Professor of Hellenic and European Studies, The Fletcher School, and Professor of European Politics and Director of the Centre for Political Research and Documentation (KEPET) at the University of Crete: A Transatlantic Relationship for the 21st Century: Advancing Collective Security through Complementarity and Effective Burden Sharing.
Dr. Sung-yoon Lee, F94, F98, is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies, and Assistant Professor, The Fletcher School: Five Myths about North Korea.
Fellowships to ISSP Students
With support from several external foundations and fellowships, during the 2014-2015 academic year, ISSP granted tuition assistance and research support to a total of 39 master’s-level and PhD students, along with support for two student-organized academic activities.
Planned Activities (as of June 2015)
On November 13-14, 2015, ISSP will hold our annual weekend simulation, Simulex 2015.
In 2015-2016, ISSP will host one Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Lieutenant Colonel, and one Army Colonel as senior research fellows, in lieu of their studies at the Army War College, along with one Navy Federal Executive Fellow.
The core ISSP faculty is comprised of three professors: Richard Shultz, Director of the ISSP and Professor of International Politics; Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies; and Antonia Chayes, Professor of Practice in International Politics and Law. In addition, ISSP faculty includes two adjunct professors: Toshi Yoshihara, F04, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and professor of strategy in the Strategy and Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College; and James Forest, Director and Professor of Security Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell.
ISSP has also added to its core faculty a new Professor of Practice, Michelle Malvesti, F00. Professor Malvesti worked for several years in the U.S. Intelligence Community as a Middle East terrorism analyst at the Joint Special Operations Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency. More recently her government service included Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Strategy for the Directorate for Combating Terrorism in the National Security Council, where she advised President Bush and his administration on US counterterrorism policy and strategy. During the Obama Administration she co-chaired the Presidential study review that reformed the White House organization for homeland security and counter terrorism.
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The final collection of books that professors suggest incoming students MIGHT want to look at this summer comes from Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff, the core members of the International Security Studies faculty. Together, they have selected:
The Revenge of Geography, by Robert D. Kaplan
World Order, by Henry Kissinger
Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice: The need for an Effective American Foreign Policy, by William C. Martel
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement in a Complex World, Stanley McChrystal
“International Security Studies: Looking Back and Looking Ahead,” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff and Richard H. Shultz, Jr. (This article in Fletcher’s student-run journal shares the history of the Security Studies program at Fletcher, dating back to 1971. Good background for incoming students.)
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman
The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO, James Stavridis (the dean of The Fletcher School)
And that wraps up the reading list for Summer 2015! No matter whether you’re an incoming student or someone who stumbled accidentally on the Admissions Blog, I hope you found a book, article, or video that is worth exploring this summer. And if you want to review all the posts, you can find them here.
I’m coming to the end of the oh-so-optional summer reading list. Here’s this week’s installment.
Prof. Papa, F03, F10 (a graduate of Fletcher’s PhD program) wrote, “This is a super-exciting time for sustainable development and global governance because of major geopolitical and environmental challenges, which we will cover in my course Sustainable Development Diplomacy. Two brand new books can put students on the frontiers of the current debates: Want, Waste or War? The Global Resource Nexus and the Struggle for Land, Energy, Food, Water and Minerals, by Philip Andrews-Speed, Raimund Bleischwitz, Tim Boersma, Corey Johnson, Geoffrey Kemp, and Stacy D. VanDeveer Routledge; and The BRICS and the Future of Global Order, by Oliver Stuenkel.”
Prof. Trachtman, accepting my invitation to make us aware of professors’ own writing, points us to his The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue and Win, which he wrote based on his teaching experience and believes will be “excellent preparation for law courses.”
Prof. Lavdas also pointed us toward a book that he co-authored, the timely Stateness and Sovereign Debt: Greece in the European-Conundrum.
Finally, Prof. Mankad recommends Resonate by Nancy Duarte, as well as This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.
It’s Monday, so it must be time for another set of book suggestions from Fletcher faculty members.
From Prof. Conley-Zilkic at the World Peace Foundation: Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag; The Garden of Evening Mists: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Tan Twan Eng; and The Blood Telegram, by Gary Bass. With her focus on mass atrocities, Prof. Conley-Zilkic’s suggestions will always be meaningful, but also unsettling.
Prof. Everett wrote, “I would like to suggest The Prize by Daniel Yergin, which is a great read and will introduce students to the long historical connection between the oil industry and geopolitics.”
Prof. Hannum, one of the law professors who provided their picks, suggested The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day, by David J. Hand.
Continuing to aim for suggestions in a mix of fields, here’s the latest installment of the (utterly optional) summer reading list, provided by Fletcher professors.
The first suggestion comes from an unexpected place. After last week’s posts ran, I received a note from Erin Coutts, the Outreach Coordinator for the Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute. She had bumped into a tweet of one of the book lists and wanted to add a suggestion. She wrote:
Jeffrey Ashe, a Research Fellow at Tufts’ Global Development And Environment Institute, has recently published In Their Own Hands: How Savings Groups are Revolutionizing Development, a history of community finance and financial empowerment. Kim Wilson, a Fletcher Lecturer in International Business and Human Security and co-editor of Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings, called the book “essential for any practitioner interested in helping the poor transform small amounts of money into meaningful ways of changing their lives.” In the book’s forward, Frances Moore Lappee proclaims that the stories in this book bury the myth that poor people have too little to save and that financial independence begins with a loan.
I’m happy to spread the word about a book by a Tufts professor, and I appreciate that Erin reached out to tell me about it.
Prof. Schaffner recommends The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Community on the Brink of Change, by Roger Thurow, noting that it “follows four real farm families in western Kenya through a year of hunger and hope. It’s a great introduction to the difficult choices faced by poor rural households (something development economists think about a lot), which engages the heart as well as the mind.”
And, our last suggestion for today comes from Prof. Henrikson, who writes, “I would recommend: Robert M. Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. The book is a remarkably candid reflection on American leadership, government and politics, written from a personal perspective and from deep knowledge of the affairs of the world. It shows realism at its best, with humanism (and not simply power) at its center.”
I’m going to end my week the same way as I started it — with summer reading suggestions from the faculty. In response to my request, the law faculty provided the most, and most varied, choices. Here is Prof. Glennon’s list — so interesting! — ranging from weighty to light:
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari (Prof. Glennon’s top pick.)
The Law of Nations: An Introduction to the International Law of Peace, edited by Sir Claud Humphrey Waldock and James Leslie Brierly
Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, by Rebecca Goldstein
The Essential Holmes, edited by Richard A. Posner
“Melian Dialogue,” in Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, (translated by Rex Warner)
A Man for All Seasons, by Robert Bolt
West with the Night, by Beryl Markham
Imperium, by Robert Harris
The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America, by Thomas Healy
The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America, by Louis Menand
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Perhaps you’ll want to dive into Thucydides on the beach, or read Catch-22 on your way to work. But it’s summer, and you might enjoy Prof. Knudsen’s suggestion: John Oliver on social responsibility in fashion (April 26, 2015). She notes, “This is maybe on the light end — but definitely interesting as a bit of preparation for my Corporate Social Responsibility in the Age of Globalization seminar.”
Incoming students often ask us for a pre-Fletcher reading list, but, frankly, we don’t have one. In fact, there is no reason at all why incoming students should worry about completing preparatory reading. (Brushing up language and quant skills is a different matter.) Nonetheless, it’s not like you shouldn’t or couldn’t do a little prep. Or maybe you’d simply like to let experts in various fields point you toward their favorites, saving you the time and trouble of reading everything out there and making your own choices.
Whatever your reasons for wanting a reading list, and whether you are an incoming student or considering applying in the future, I am happy to help. As in past years, I asked our professors for suggestions, but I made the request very broad, so that I wouldn’t be supplying a tedious list of text books. Here are the ideas that I offered in my request for suggestions:
- A book that you assign for your class and that incoming students might benefit from reading at a leisurely pace in the summer;
- A book that provides good contextual explanation of your field;
- Fiction or popular non-fiction that provides context for your field;
- Articles or blogs that incoming students may not already know about;
- A newly published book of your own that provides general context.
Today I’ll share the first batch of suggestions, covering much of the territory (from politics to business) of the Fletcher curriculum.
From Prof. Ladwig, the 2014-15 European Union Fellow in Residence: The Foreign Policy of the European Union, by Stephan Keukeleire and Tom Delreux. Prof. Ladwig notes, “I would recommend one particular book — not because it is about a subject I could be perceived to be selfishly promoting, but because it simply is the authoritative and well written book on foreign policy and one of its key players.”
From Prof. Salacuse:, a lawyer by training who has done a great deal of work on negotiations: Thirteen Days in September — Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David, by Lawrence Wright. Prof. Salacuse notes, “For students interested in international conflict resolution, the Middle East, or just international relations generally, I would strongly recommend this book, for a readable, day-by-day account of what transpired at the Camp David negotiations in 1978, leading to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. It nicely captures all the frustrations and successes of those talks and the impact of the three protagonists’ personalities on the process.”
And from Prof. Jacque, who guides students to an understanding of international finance, several selections from diverse genres: Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty; Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis; The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; and his own Global Derivative Debacles: From Theory to Malpractice.
I’ll be back with more suggestions throughout this month.
When I arrived at Fletcher this morning, I was greeted by a crowd of students eating breakfast before one of the few official events of this week leading up to graduation. Now they’re receiving instructions outside, with further details on Sunday’s sequence of events.
Last week and this, I’ve tried to catch up with students to say goodbye. On Sunday, I’ll see a few more, and I hope I’ll meet some family members. It is a little sad that students with whom I had frequent contact, or who may just have been out there adding to the buzz, will no longer be part of my daily life. But that’s how it’s supposed to happen, and they’re going on to great things.
Meanwhile, there’s another very significant goodbye in front of us. John Curtis Perry, Henry Willard Denison Professor of Japanese Diplomacy, who has taught at Fletcher since 1980, will be delivering a farewell lecture to mark his formal retirement. Early in my Fletcher career, my office was right near Prof. Perry’s, giving me a chance to get to know him and chat often. I don’t see him as much these days, but we did exchange emails after students labeled him “legendarily awesome” last fall.
In anticipation of Prof. Perry’s lecture this afternoon, a first-year student, Jack, wrote a letter to honor him. Jack wrote:
The Fletcher School stands unique among graduate programs because of its maritime studies program. Prof. John Curtis Perry is largely responsible for this program’s success and its mission to reawaken our awareness of oceanic nations’ connection — social, economic, and cultural — to the sea. On the eve of Prof. Perry’s retirement, I wanted to offer a short reflection and thank you.
As a member of the Fletcher faculty, Prof. Perry united students in his maritime courses for thirty five years. Recognizing Prof. Perry’s scholarship and contributions to Japanese-American relations, the Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure. His insistence on quality made all of his lectures shine like his eyes, with brilliant intensity.
In addition to his exceptional kindness, Prof. Perry has long personified the pursuit of wisdom. By bringing our class out of the classroom, he reminded us of the wider world beyond Fletcher. We took excursions to the granite piers of New Gloucester, the Boston MFA’s maritime collection, and even to the private library in his own home. One thing I’ve learned from Prof. Perry is that the mind must be exposed to the elements.
Such learning is an active thing, requiring the energy that Prof. Perry embodies, bounding down Fletcher’s staircases, wearing blazing red Nikes with academic regalia, and occasionally injecting profanity to keep lectures interesting!
It has been an honor to have joined the ranks of Prof. Perry’s maritime students. From one pupil amidst a sea of students, friends, and colleagues, thank you Prof. Perry for your ideas, wit, and example. Fair winds and following seas!
Catching up with an event from earlier this month, I’m happy to be able to share links to results and findings from Lean Lab, co-hosted by Fletcher, the Feinstein International Center, and MIT’s D-Lab. The Lean Lab was a gathering that grew out of Lean Research to discuss a rigorous, relevant, ethical approach to research in vulnerable settings. Key players in Lean Lab include Prof. Kim Wilson, as well as our old blog friend, Roxanne Krystalli. Roxanne shared these links with the community:
- Key insights from the day can be browsed here.
- A draft of the Lean Research working paper, as well as a framework of questions to ask ourselves when designing and implementing field research, are available halfway down the page here.
- Follow @Lean_Research on Twitter for more.
Besides Prof. Wilson and Roxanne, another Fletcher graduate Rachel Gordon F12, worked on the implementation of the event, as did several current Fletcher students.
Continuing this spring’s installment of the Faculty Spotlight series, today we hear from Prof. Ayesha Jalal, who holds a dual appointment between Fletcher and the Tufts University History Department, and is the Mary Richardson Professor of History. Prof. Jalal is spending the year teaching in Lahore, Pakistan, but when on campus she teaches Contemporary South Asia, and Islam and the West.
Misconceptions about history abound and one result has been a growing dissonance between the historian’s perspective and the more presentist views generally favored by policy makers. Teaching “Contemporary South Asia” and “Islam and the West” at the Fletcher School enables me to interact with a diverse group of students with varied interests, ranging from development, security studies, conflict resolution, international business, and South West Asia.
Several of the Fletcher students I have taught have gone on to assume positions in the policy-making hierarchy as well the non-governmental sector. A better understanding of history, and appreciation of the value of the historical method in particular, can help navigate the often confused and confusing nature of politics in our troubled world.
Fletcher’s vibrant international community of students, scholars, and practitioners is a perfect setting to discuss the complex issues that are bedeviling the contemporary world, whether the presence of Al-Qaeda in the tribal badlands of north western Pakistan; the specter of chaos symbolized by the rise of ISIS; or the persistence of poverty, discrimination and abject deprivation in a nuclearized South Asia.
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