By “CDR Salamander”, US Navy
Let’s take a look around the planet with a maritime national security lens, shall we?
- The largest land war in Europe since WWII is raging on the north shore of the Black Sea.
- The People’s Republic of China surpassed the United States of America as the world’s largest navy.
- The Iranians are hijacking oil tankers willy-nilly.
- The Western economy relies on undersea cables & pipelines we have allowed to go undefended and are not the subject of attention by mal-actors on the world stage.
- The Navy is experiencing readiness and recruiting problems not seen since the 1970s.
There’s my top-5 off the top of my head this AM, yours may differ.
It sure seems to differ in Newport.
So, in the last week of April there was a 2-day symposium at the U.S. Naval War College, an opportune time to examine the most critically important challenges in 2023 – hopefully from a maritime perspective – wouldn’t you think?
Any conference, especially a 2-day affair with both on and off campus event locations, sure cost a lot of money and even more stacked manhours to plan, attend, participate, and manage.
We sure want to make sure the juice is worth the squeeze, right?
If you’re a regular here, you know where this is going. I warned everyone about this back in 2017. If you’re a new reader not fully up to speed on the broader portfolio we manage here at CDRSalamander, well, take a red pill and a seat.
Our war colleges are not what you think they are.
With each passing year there is less focus on war, and more on college. At the Naval War College, just getting additional time, money, faculty, and leadership focus on the “naval” portion has become a challenge with all the other ancillary agendas trying to keep pace with the cool kids cross-town at Salve Regina University.
Here’s a perfect example.
The Naval War College (NWC) hosted its 9th annual Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Symposium, 26-28 April 2023, in Newport, Rhode Island. This year’s theme is “Women, Peace, and Security in a Fragile World: Perspectives on Warfighting, Crisis Management, and Post-Conflict Transitions.”
Well, let’s go in with an open mind. Perhaps there’s something here. Hope isn’t a plan, but when the Party demands things of you, hope is often all you have.
If you voluntarily attended (I am reliably told that Party cadre informed the proles that attendance was required for staff, at least online), what kind of panel discussions would you be able to listen to? Let’s browse over the agenda.
Some of our options on Day-1 are:
- Women Insurgents in India’s Northeast.
- Women on the Frontlines of Revolution in Myanmar.
- Military Masculinities, Tactical Femininities, and the ‘Third Gender’ in Ashley’s War.
- The Frailty Myth: The Case for Gender-Neutral Physical Fitness assessment practices among the United States Airmen.
At lunch, feel free to call a friend to confirm what year it is. If needed, step outside just to confirm you are at – the U.S. Naval War College.
Perhaps things are better after lunch.
- Teaching Strategies in the National Security Affairs Program: Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.
- Mainstreaming WPS and Gender-based Analysis Plus at the Canadian Defence Academy.
OK. Just check you’re not at Barnard College, get a good night’s rest, and then see what Day-2 might bring.
Hey! There’s something about the Russo-Ukrainian War!
- Russo-Ukraine War and Gendered Approaches to Strategic Competition.
Oh … well … hold on. There’s something about the Navy!
- Bringing Women to the Helm of Strategic Plans and Operations in the U.S. Navy.
… wait … perhaps … is that kinetic?!?
- Tackling Gender in Kinetic Operations.
Sigh. Well, that is what you get for picking the “Gender Perspectives in Strategic Plans and Military Operations“ track in the AM. Maybe if you picked the other track…what was it called? “Advancing Women’s Meaningful Participation in Peace and Security.“
Well, that might be enlightening, if not even an admirable goal. What jewels are to be found there?
- Feminist Foreign Policies in Latin America.
- Politics of Belonging: Men as Allies in the Meaningful Inclusion of Women in the Security Sector.
Well, after viewing a debasement like that, time for a coffee break and see if things get better.
- Post-Conflict Development of Feminist Leadership: Peace Insights from Rwanda and Serbia.
I don’t think additional commentary is required on my part.
I really wanted to share some video so you too can enjoy the fruits of your tax dollars, but sadly, none are available. You would think this would be something NWC would want to be fully available, but, well, I guess not.
To finish with a serious side note, the loss of focus in Newport is not something new in the last couple of years. This is a long standing drift of a few decades.
For this specific panel, these are all serious people and the argument could be made that they address serious issues, but is the Naval War College – and the finite money, people, and time that it has to serve the world’s second largest navy (still getting used to saying that) the correct venue?
Some assumedly well meaning people made decisions, purchased additional positions and departments, and headed certain directions that may have been more suitable at a different institution. I don’t know, Oberlin College? Maybe Bryn Mawr College … Brown University if you squint a bit … but again, I think it is very fair to ask if this area of study is really the highest and best use of the time, money, and faculty at the Naval. War. College.
The Naval War College, incidentally, of a nation whose military has not done a very good job of seeing threats, fighting threats, and winning wars in the last few decades – not to mention needs to think real hard about what it will mean to be the world’s second largest navy.
Winners have the luxury of vanity. Those on the struggle bus need to master the fundamentals and work harder.
What is “WPS”?: “Women, Peace and Security” (Identity politics)
FACT SHEET: U.S. Government Women Peace and Security Report to Congress (White House, 18 JUL 22)
The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-68) (WPS Act) codified the United States Government’s decades-long, sustained commitment to the principles of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. This Agenda stemmed from the historic 2000 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which has since been further supported by a growing body of policies to affirm gender equity and equality in security, peace-making, and peacekeeping, here in the United States and globally. . . . .
DoD Announces Women, Peace, and Security 2022 Report (DOD, 19 JUL 22)
. . . . Over the past year, the Department spent $5.5 million to establish policies and programs to advance implementation of WPS, hire and train qualified personnel, and integrate WPS into relevant training curriculum and professional military education for the Armed Forces. The Department also notified $3 million from the International Security Cooperation Programs to conduct security cooperation programs that incorporate gender analysis and advance women’s participation in defense institutions and national security forces. . . . (read more)
DOD Unveils Women, Peace, Security Strategy (DOD, 11 JUN 20)
. . . .The department will work toward fully incorporating the perspectives of women in military activities, operations and investments across the continuum of conflict and crisis, Hammond said. “This is the first departmentwide strategy that outlines how the department will support the intent of the [Women, Peace, Security] strategy through attention to the composition of our personnel and the development of our policies, plans, doctrine, training, operations, and exercises,” she added.. . . . .
Women, Peace and Security (USNORTHCOM)
U.S. Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Program is part of an international effort to promote the meaningful contributions of women in the defense and security sectors at home and around the world. USNORTHCOM seeks to institutionalize WPS across USNORTHCOM missions and functions to improve operational effectiveness, promote opportunities for the meaningful participation of women in decision-making across the command, and ensure safety, security and human rights for all.
SOUTHCOM Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Program (USSOUTHCOM)
The U.S. Southern Command Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Program is part of a national effort to promote the meaningful contributions of women in the defense and security sectors around the world. . . . Inclusiveness increases mission effectiveness and drives positive outcomes.
Women, Peace and Security (Army War College)
. . . . We work to synchronize the integration of a gender perspective within the DoD implementation policies and our landpower continues the transition of applying WPS/gender-related considerations into military operations. . . . . .
Naval War College Symposium
As day one comes to a close, hear @USNavy & NWC student, Cmdr. Jason Burrough’s take from our 9th annual Women, Peace, & Security Symposium and the value of #WPS in the Fleet. #GenderPerspective@SECNAV @USNavyCNO pic.twitter.com/aHScNYIe8y
— U.S. Naval War College (@NavalWarCollege) April 27, 2023
Our 9th annual #Women, #Peace, & #Security Symposium is in full swing! Today guests participated in discussions on topics from Women Waging War to Fostering Cultures of Inclusion. Stay tuned for more from this year’s symposium!@DeptofDefense @USNavy @USNavyCNO @Marshall_Center pic.twitter.com/TN6rbx1grK
— U.S. Naval War College (@NavalWarCollege) April 27, 2023
Although NWC’s 9th annual Women, Peace, & Security Symposium has concluded, the important discussions it inspired will continue! Thanks to all those involved in making the symposium a success! @USNavy @SECNAV @defenceforces @OfficialDGISPR @tudm_rasmi @Marshall_Center @pilgrimk pic.twitter.com/eGLriLQOwR
— U.S. Naval War College (@NavalWarCollege) April 28, 2023
U.S. Naval War College Hosts 9th Women, Peace, and Security Symposium (Naval War College, 2 MAY 23)
2023 WPS Symposium Keynote Speaker: Ms. Michelle Strucke
Our WPS Symposium brought together experts from around the globe – even virtually. Hear from Ms. Michelle Strucke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy), in her keynote address ‘WPS as a Critical Tool for Advancing National Security’. U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosts its 9th annual Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Symposium, 26 – 28 April 2023. This year’s theme “WPS in a Fragile World: Perspectives on Warfighting, Crisis Management, and Post-Conflict Transitions” brought together U.S. and international scholars, researchers, civilian and military practitioners, and leaders to share their knowledge centered around the gender perspective. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College (NWC) informs today’s decision-makers and educates tomorrow’s leaders by providing educational experiences and learning opportunities that develop their ability to anticipate and prepare strategically for the future, strengthen the foundations of peace, and create a decisive warfighting advantage.