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Johns Hopkins SAIS to host debate on “Cult of the Irrelevant,” with Michael Desch and Sir Lawrence Freedman,” on March 9 in Washington, DC

Johns Hopkins SAIS will host a debate between Dr. Michael Desch and Sir Lawrence Freedman on Desch’s book, “Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security,” which examines strained relations between scholars and policy-makers in the U.S. The school is co-presenting the debate with the Journal of Strategic Studies.
Thomas G. Mahnken, Director of External Programs for the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and senior research professor, will moderate the debate focused on the question of how much political and social sciences influence policymakers.
Michael Desch
Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations, University of Notre Dame
Brian and Jeannelle Brady Family Director, Notre Dame International Security Center
Sir Lawrence Freedman
Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London
Daniel Marston
Director, Strategic Thinkers Program, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Thomas G. Mahnken
Director of External Programs for the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Time and Date
4:30-6:00 p.m.
Monday, March 9, 2020
Johns Hopkins SAIS
Rome Auditorium
1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
The event is open to the public and media, with registration. Members of the working press can request to cover the event by selecting "Media" on the online registration form. Final media access will be confirmed on Friday, March 6, 2020. Pre-authorized camera setup will only be permitted from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Media Contacts
Jason Lucas
Communications Manager
Johns Hopkins SAIS
office: +1 (202) 663-5620
mobile: +1 (202) 422-2652
[email protected]
About the Speakers
Michael Desch is Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame and Brian and Jeannelle Brady Family Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. He served two terms as chair of the Department of Political Science. He was also the founding director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and the first holder of the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University from 2004 through 2008. Desch has written several books and published numerous scholarly and broader interest articles. He has worked on the staff of a U.S. Senator, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State, and in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service.
Sir Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College London since 1982, and Vice-Principal since 2003. Before joining King's College London, Freedman held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, IISS, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Freedman was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995, awarded Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1996, and appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) in 2003. He was appointed in June 2009 to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War.

About Journal of Strategic Studies
The Journal of Strategic Studies is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering military and diplomatic strategic studies. The defining feature of The Journal of Strategic Studies is its commitment to multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of war. The editors welcome articles that challenge our historical understanding of humanity’s efforts to achieve political ends through the application of military and diplomatic means; articles on contemporary security and theoretical controversies of enduring value; and of course articles that explicitly combine the historical and theoretical approaches to the study of modern warfare, defence policy, and modern strategy.

About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school's interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or on Twitter @SAISHopkins

Tuesday, March 3, 2020