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The Spring 2014 issue of the Fletcher Security Review can now be found online.  This is the first full issue for the publication, which was launched only last fall and has been building content ever since.  Here’s the introduction that the editor, Haider Mullick, a Fletcher PhD candidate, shared with the community:

FSWWe are delighted to introduce our Spring 2014 issue!

Managed and edited by students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Fletcher Security Review builds on the School’s strong traditions of combining scholarship with practice, fostering close interdisciplinary collaboration, and acting as a vehicle for groundbreaking discussion of international security.  We believe that by leveraging these strengths – seeking input from established and up-and-coming scholars, practitioners, and analysts from around the world on topics deserving greater attention – we can promote genuinely unique ways of looking at the future of security.

Each issue of FSR is centered around a broad theme.  In this issue, we chose to revisit the rich topic of “Proxy War.”  This volume explores the wide variety of ways in which international relations scholars and practitioners define, and understand the role of, proxies.  Our contributors consider “traditional” great power conflicts as well as examine the murky and misunderstood impact of sub-national actors such as Mexico’s cartels, Africa’s failing state watchmen and/or predators, and transnational jihadist groups.  They encourage us to learn from the proxy conflicts of the past, and they explore the future in their examination of the laws of war and their relevance to cyber clashes.

Also looking to the future of security are two renowned leaders in the field of security praxis.  David H. Petraeus discusses the importance of North American cooperation to minimize the impact of global insecurity, and Frances Townsend highlights, in her eyes, the reasons for America’s decline.

To learn more about Fletcher Security Review, you can contact the editors, or see what they and others are saying via FSR’s Twitter feed.

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Just before classes ended, Liam and I discussed possible topics for his next blog post.  He mentioned how much he has enjoyed the talks he has attended throughout the semester.  Since I never manage to join these special events during the busy fall, this seemed like the perfect subject for him.  Here are Liam’s observations.

As my first semester came to a close and I feverishly studied for finals and finish term papers, I took some time to think about my Fletcher experience to date and about the aspects that stood out for me.  What has really impressed me is the access I’ve been privileged to have to senior-level leaders from throughout the world and the remarkably candid remarks they’ve made in guest lectures at Fletcher.

Early in the year, I was privileged to sit in ASEAN auditorium and listen to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia give a remarkable talk about cyber security and his country’s experience when faced with a massive cyber attack in 2007.  President Ilves was incredibly engaging and straightforward, discussing what he sees as future security challenges for Europe, and I couldn’t help but be amazed that I was listening to a standing head of state give his incredibly honest opinions.  You can get a sense of his perspective from his interview with Dean Stavridis.

As someone focusing on security at Fletcher, another incredible opportunity has been the International Security Studies Program’s luncheon series.  I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, discuss the challenges facing the Army over the next several decades and how he sees the Army adapting to that uncertain future.  I heard Dr. David Chu, President of the Institute for Defense Analyses and former Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, discuss his ideas for a responsible drawdown within the Department of Defense, based on history.  I’ve listened to General John Kelly, Commander of Southern Command, discuss the sphere and scope of his organization’s responsibility in Central and South America.  And I’ve been able to hear Major General Bennet Sacolick, Director of Force Management and Development for the Special Operations Command, discuss the Global Special Operations Forces Network and the role Special Operations units can play in the ambiguous security environment we face.  I might add that all of these events include an excellent free lunch (a must for busy graduate students) and truly invigorating discussions.

In addition to Fletcher events, I’ve attended some outstanding guest lectures within the greater Tufts community.  From former Congressman Robert Wexler discussing his vision for a two-state solution in the Middle East, to Colonel Steve Banach explaining the use of design methodology to manage complexity and change, to Colonel Bill Ostlund calling in on videoteleconference from Afghanistan to discuss his brigade’s actions in Zabul Province, I’ve been exposed to an amazing breadth and depth of speakers.

Last, due to the reputation and variety of the amazing faculty here at Fletcher, my classes have included some incredible guest lectures.  In one of the last weeks of the semester, we had a marvelous impromptu Skype session in my International Organizations class with Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu, permanent representative of Romania to the UN.  And I would be remiss if I left out the multiple opportunities that Dean Stavridis provides Fletcher students to hear him speak on a wide range of subjects, ranging from security threats to the strategic plan for the future of Fletcher and Tufts.

Simply put, it’s been an incredible experience to date, both in and out of the classroom, and I consider myself truly fortunate to have had this exposure to policy makers in all walks of life.

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Tomorrow and Saturday, many students will be participating in the International Security Studies Program’s Simulex event.  Not only students, in fact, but also experts from U.S. War Colleges, National Defense University, Military Service Academies, and several other local universities.  The flyer announcing Simulex invites students to, “Develop and put your negotiation and crisis management skills to practice and save the (simulated) world!  Test your wits against your fellow students, senior political-military officials, and U.S. Government war gaming experts.”

What to know what the simulation will involve?  You can check out the program details or read the background scenario.

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For 24 hours starting tonight, dozens of students will direct their attention to an imagined future through Simulex, described by its organizer (the International Security Studies Program) as “a major crisis management exercise in which participants assume the roles of national policy makers in an international scenario.”  Simulex has taken place on an autumn weekend for years and years, and it’s a major focus for students in Security Studies.  This year’s theme is “Chaos in the Middle East:  The 2014 Crisis.”  Teams exploring the scenario of a succession struggle in Saudi Arabia will represent Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Yemen, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Terrorists, and the United States.  It will be an intense but productive weekend.

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I was in the elevator on Tuesday with Prof. Shultz and other members of the International Security Studies Program staff as they returned from a luncheon/lecture.  Since classes ended last Friday, it seemed logical to ask whether anyone turned up to eat/listen.  It was packed, they told me.  People standing outside to hear the comments by the panel of three marine generals, General John Kelly, General Richard Zilmer and General Lawrence Nicholson.

Also on Tuesday, an alternate source of food/knowledge.  The International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program sponsored a lunch/talk entitled “Battle for NREGA: An Indian NonViolent Movement for Strategic Social Change,” by Reetika Khera an advocate for India’s rural workers and an economist by training.

And if the topics of the lunch talks didn’t draw certain students, they still didn’t need to go hungry:  the Ambassachords provided mid-afternoon “finger food” and music for hungry stomachs and weary brains.

With exams having formally begun yesterday, surely the extra-curricular events will have ended.  But no!  More events, and more food.  Hungry students tomorrow can take in the “Soul Food Study Break” co-sponsored by the Ralph Bunche Society and the Africana Club.

By the weekend, first-year students will start to peel off, heading to their summer internships, but the events roll on.  Tuesday evening, those still in town will celebrate the accomplishments of Ushahidi Haiti.  Naturally, food will be served.

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Tomorrow and Saturday, teams from Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, NATO/Europe, the U.S., and Russia, will debate and strategize about the challenges and opportunities tied to a resurgent Russia.  Or more accurately, dozens of Fletcher students will play those roles (projecting themselves into 2011) as part of the School’s annual SIMULEX program.  As you might guess from the fact that more than 70 students are giving up part of their weekend to pursue an academic exercise, SIMULEX is one of the highlights of the fall semester.  Check out the web site — there are photos from last year’s SIMULEX, a demonstration of the software participants will use, and the background paper that forms the basis of the exercise.

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