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Building a Firm Understanding of American and International Policy

Barrett LeHardy

Barrett LeHardy
MIPP '22
1. What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS? 
After researching the various master’s programs and world-class faculty that SAIS offers, I realized the programs here aligned remarkably well with my professional career. Regarding international relations and policy, SAIS is a very reputable institution filled with an extremely diverse student body consisting of representatives from around the world.

2. What program are you in and what do you hope to gain from it?
As a current student in the one-year MIPP program, I intend to build a firm understanding of American and international policy by understanding how U.S. decision-making and domestic interests impact our foreign relations. I hope to understand better the picture from a completely holistic perspective that covers the psychological, economic, political, military, and historical dimensions of U.S. power and relations and what makes them the way they are.

3. What were you doing before attending the school? 
As part of my career track as a military Foreign Area Officer, before attending SAIS, I was a student at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) learning the Thai language.

4. How has your military background contributed to your learning experiences?
With more than nine years of active-duty service, the military has contributed significantly to my learning experiences. The military has taught me the importance of time management and attention to detail when it comes to completing assignments. I’ve also learned how to keep an open mind and invite different perspectives when encountering challenges and complex situations.

5. What has been one of your favorite experiences or classes at the school so far? 
It’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite experience so far, but one class that stands out is the Adaptation Under Fire: How Militaries Change in Wartime course taught by Visiting Professors of Strategic Studies David Barno and Nora Bensahel. This course has been incredibly enlightening and possibly the most applicable to my career as a military officer. I would recommend this course to any student seeking to shape their understanding of military leadership, adaptable decision-making, and the complexities of the 21st-century battlefield.

6. What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?
After graduation, I intend to use the academic insight from the MIPP program in my follow-on assignment in the military, working abroad in Southeast Asia.

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