Students get rare opportunity to experience Grand Strategy scenarios, exercises

UW-Madison Senior Jennifer Kalidis explains to the National Security Advisor (played by Provost Paul DeLuca) the importance of involving Afghanistan's neighbors in measures to stabilize the country and defeat the Taliban. Kalidis' presentation was part of a two day workshop on Grand Strategy.

UW-Madison Senior Jennifer Kalidis explains to the National Security Advisor (played by Provost Paul DeLuca) the importance of involving Afghanistan's neighbors in measures to stabilize the country and defeat the Taliban. Kalidis' presentation was part of a two day workshop on Grand Strategy.

On November 6-7, a group of UW-Madison faculty, students and distinguished visitors gathered for a singular event: the UW-Madison Grand Strategy Workshop.

Organized by the UW-Madison JASONs/Grand Strategy Project, the workshop centered on a series of scenario-based exercises designed to give students and participants an opportunity to put their studies into action, gaining a realistic feel for the challenges of contemporary policy-making.

Workshop participants posed as National Security Council staff members, tasked with analyzing sets of international problems and developing relevant strategy and policy recommendations.

Each five-person undergraduate team was personally briefed the “National Security Advisor” played by Professor of Naval Science Kenneth Auten on Friday and UW Provost Paul DeLuca on Saturday.

UW professors John Hall, Jeremi Suri and Paul Wilson acted as presidential Cabinet members, and 17 graduate students, veterans and business professionals served as advisors to the student teams.

Six officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force also lent their experience and knowledge.  These officers were graduates of the online History of Grand Strategy course taught by Suri in Summer 2009.

The workshop scenario for Day One focused on the period immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks.   The teams were asked to look at the problems and issues raised by the 9/11 attacks from different perspectives.

On Day Two the participants took on roles in the Obama transition team, formulating strategy options for the new president.  The scenario provided students with the opportunity to develop a truly grand strategy for the Obama administration.

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