NWC, Hosts Comparative Grand Strategy Workshop

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) — Comparing, analyzing, and mapping objectives and grand strategies for the most likely challengers to U.S. power, was the focus of an international workshop hosted by the U.S. Naval War College’s Strategic and Operational Research Department, Oct. 25 – 27.

Academics with linguistic and regional level expertise presented detailed, country-level research on the grand strategies of key great powers, major emerging national economies, and pivotal states. Peer panels with specific expertise in diplomacy, information, military, and economic matters shared ideas and provided feedback in an interactive collegial exchange to help refine the research.

Peter Dombrowski, professor of strategy in the Strategic and Operational Research Department of the Naval War College’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies conducted the workshop as part of the Global Initiative on Comparative Grand Strategy (GICGS) in collaboration with professor Simon Reich, Rutgers University, and professor Thierry Balzacq, University of Namur.

“Ultimately the papers will be collected into chapters for an edited volume published through Oxford University Press,” Dombrowski said.

Reich said it is important for academics to engage those who conduct strategy day to day and the Comparative Grand Strategies Workshop responds to key problems common to both academia and policymaking.

“Typically, grand strategy discussions are overly focused on the United States. They have a tendency to ignore the existential threats behind why differing countries respond in contrasting ways to similar pressures,” he said.

Reich added that it is important to consider that nations with different political cultures, strategic traditions, geographic conditions, and historical legacies will pursue distinct objectives using different strategic frameworks and tools of national power.

“The workshop aligns with Alfred Thayer Mahan’s legacy at the U.S. Naval War College,” Dombrowski said. “Mahan was a distinguished Naval War College lecturer and is widely regarded as one of the most important American strategist of the nineteenth century.”

Mahan, the second president of the Naval War College, is one the founding fathers of the discipline of grand strategy and championed its integration of seapower.

“At this time, when the US Navy is engaged in pivotal regions, and faces modernizing challengers and potentially resurgent adversaries, it is especially important for students and faculty to understand the contemporary grand strategies of other states,” Dombrowski said.

The workshop’s chapter contributions included grand strategies of the United States, China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, European Union, Brazil, India, Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia submitted by established and emerging scholars from Bar Ilan University, Brandeis University, European Union Institute of Security Studies, the Institute for Strategic Research, Rutgers University, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Texas AM University, University of Namur, University of Oxford, Vrije Universiteit, and U.S. Naval War College.

The U.S. Naval War College is a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 resident students and about 1,000 distance learning students each year. Its primary mission is to educate and develop future leaders. Additional missions include: helping to define the future Navy and its roles and missions, supporting combat readiness, strengthening global maritime partnerships, promoting ethics and leadership throughout the force, contributing knowledge to shape effective decisions through our John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research, providing expertise and advice to the international legal community through the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies or Defense and Strategic Studies. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885 and about 300 of today’s active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.

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