Security Assistance at the National Defense University: Winning Hearts and Influencing Minds

Article excerpt

[The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]


The National Defense University, located at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., is composed of four colleges, an institute and three centers:

* Industrial College of the Armed Forces;

* National War College;

* Joint Forces Staff College;

* Information Resources Management College;.

* Institute for National Strategic Studies;

* Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies;

* Near East South Asia Center and;

* Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The National Defense University has been the venue for the formation of countless lasting relationships, among members of foreign militaries and their U.S. counterparts. National Defense University has supported security assistance training programs since 1981. National Defense University educates through teaching, research and outreach, while building human relationships, promoting understanding and building rapport between individuals in the military and civil services and individuals from the U.S. and from nations around the globe. Thus making it an ideal setting for security assistance activities.


The National Defense University, situated on historic Fort Leslie J. McNair in Washington D.C., was established in 1976 under the direction of Joint Chiefs of Staff as the highest level of joint military education in the United States. The principal components of the University at that time were the National War College (NWC) and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Since 1976 The National Defense University has grown to include:

* A dozen accredited graduate programs;

* Research institutes in national security strategy;

* National military strategy;

* National resource strategy;

* Joint multinational operations;

* Information strategies and operations;

* Resource management;

* Acquisition and regional defense, and;

* Security studies.

History of the International Programs at National Defense University

Given current events around the world a contingent of International Fellows provides an immense laboratory for the U.S. policy makers.

In 1980 the NDU Research Directorate welcomed their first international student, a Diamond Jubilee Fellow from the United Kingdom. The following year they sponsored the first NDU International Research Fellow, a Brazilian Navy Captain who also held a faculty position at the Inter-American Defense College. His experience at NDU was used to verify the feasibility of the International Research Fellows Program. The inclusion of International Research Fellows at the Research Directorate continued until 1984 when the program evolved into something more formal. The NDU Annual Report of the 1983-1984 Academic Year discussed this evolution stating that:

      This will involve a change in emphasis from a focus on research
   to a one-year academic fellowship program. The report stated that
   this approach would provide the Fellows an opportunity to
   participate in selected phases of the core curriculum of both the
   National War College and the Industrial College of Armed Forces and
   in selected elective courses. The report also emphasized that the
   new International Fellows Program would involve participation in
   extensive travel within the U.S. to visit military, cultural and
   industrial locations.

On June 8, 1984, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the establishment of an International Fellows Program at NDU. The initial course was held as a pilot program with six countries participating. The reaction among students and faculty was positive with over 85 per cent of those surveyed supporting attendance by international officers. …