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Future Strategy Forum

May 18, 2018

The Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) co-sponsored the inaugural Future Strategy Forum at the CSIS headquarters in Washington, DC. The forum is designed to empower female scholars who research national security and connect them with its leading practitioners. More than 100 participants came from around the country to hear leading women scholars and policymakers discuss “The Future of Force.”

Kathleen Hicks, senior vice president of CSIS and the Donald Marron Scholar at the Kissinger Center, and Francis Gavin, Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and director of the Kissinger Center, offered welcome remarks. The first panel tackled the future of U.S. security regarding emerging states, chiefly Russia and China. Panelists, including Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumna Amanda Dory, Faculty, National War College, argued that while direct conflict between the United States and China or Russia is unlikely in the near-term, both powers wish to establish dominance within their respective regions, upholding the liberal international order when it suits their interests but violating its rules when they do not.

The second panel addressed the influence of non-state actors on international security. Panelists agreed that the state remains the dominant force in international affairs, but highlighted the success of non-violent movements in promoting sustainable political change and the bureaucratic and political challenges of combating violent non-state actors who cross international borders.

The third panel examined the influence of new technologies. Panelists, including Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumna Katherine Charlet, Director, Technology and International Affairs Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, emphasized the need to secure an offense-defense balance, and to recruit a talented workforce in order to maximize the potential of new technology.

Mara Karlin, associate professor of the practice and director of the Strategic Studies program, led the fourth panel, which included Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumna Kelly Magsamen, Vice President for National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress. The panel assessed the United States’ success integrating all the tools of foreign policy – from diplomacy, intelligence, and development to economic statecraft, education policy, and humanitarian assistance.

The forum concluded with a keynote discussion in which a distinguished panel of scholars and practitioners, including Shamila Chaundhary, senior advisor to Dean Vali Nasr, discussed ways to bridge the persistent gap between academia and policymaking, as well as the many ways in which the two complement and enrich each other.  

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