Panel to discuss changing military tactics
Lecture series to offer insight on US 'light footprint' performance
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 00:10
To add to the discourse on the current changes faced by the U.S. Armed Forces, the MSC Wiley Lecture Series will bring experts to campus to discuss the context and future of the U.S. Military.
Boots Off the Ground, the main program for the 2013 MSC Wiley Lecture Series, will feature a former ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, a former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and a Washington correspondent from the New York Times.
Reid Geissen, sophomore philosophy major and main program director for the MSC Wiley Lecture Series, said the lecture will discuss the military’s focus as it shifts away from building a large ground force to more technologically driven strategies.
“During the Cold War and sometime thereafter, our military was structured to have a large ground force that was capable of meeting an opposing army on land,” Geissen said. “And even in this century, we’ve sent large forces of people into foreign countries to accomplish objectives and it didn’t go the way we hoped or expected it would. In response, partially due to strategic concerns and partially due to American people not wanting to put so many lives at risk in foreign countries, we’ve started to shift toward precision warfare and more technologically driven strategies.”
Taylor Arnold, junior mathematics major and chairman of MSC Wiley, said the goal of the program is to bring in perspectives from acting observers that can offer insight on how a national military change will affect U.S. citizens, including students at A&M.
“The speakers will bring different perspectives on where the military was and where it’s possibly going,” Arnold said. “No one can really answer that without firsthand experience, which these speakers have.”
David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and foreign policy specialist, will be one of the speakers on the panel. He plans to talk about factors that have forced the military to adjust its overall strategy and the move from large conflicts of occupation and nation-building to the “light footprint’’ strategy that relies heavily on drones, cyber and special forces.
“I will explore how these are a reflection of political realities in Washington and the very changed thinking of a president who came to office calling Afghanistan a ‘war of necessity,’ and now doubts whether it still is,” Sanger said.
Geissen said the event is relevant to the Aggie community because of the role the University has played in military research. The development of new technologies for warfare will create a higher demand for people who understand the military world, some of whom may come from A&M.
“We’ve seen the use of chemical weapons in Syria and A&M is now going to be one of the places in the next 10 years where we’ll be doing the research to combat things like that,” Geissen said.
Sanger will be joined by Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, and Gen. Stan McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“Texas A&M has always been at the crossroads of military service and evolving strategy,” Sanger said. “This chance to hear from Gen. McChrystal and others and to probe the future of military and intelligence is critical to understanding how the mission of those who serve will be evolving in coming years.”
Boots Off the Ground will take place Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Rudder Auditorium. Tickets are available at the MSC box office.