Military leaders, students benefit from Duke Counterterrorism Fellowship

Military leaders, students benefit from Duke Counterterrorism Fellowship

(Tim Nichols addressing class)
“What do you think the state department spends a lot of time on? They have analysts right?” (Tim Nichols, Counterterrorism and Public
Policy Fellowship Program Director) “About five or six years ago, David Schanzer
and I came up with the idea of hosting senior military officers to talk about some of the
problems that the military and the country were facing. We decided that the program would be called
the Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program. So we called military leaders at the highest
levels and asked them to send us their very best officers, instead of sending them to
the war colleges, so that we could challenge them, we could mentor their research and perhaps
we could strip away some of their predispositions that they get while serving in the military
for an extended period of time”. (Military officer and student talking)
“So the first day of class, I walked into school and I sat down there, and I swore half
the students thought I was the teacher! (Laughter from student and military officer) (COL Wes MacMullen, U.S. Army Civil Affairs
Officer) “So it’s actually really humbling to be
in this academic environment, to see different points of view. The way we discuss things like risk and balance. It’s refreshing to hear in contrast to the
typical military way we do things. (Kayla Schulz, Junior)
“What’s it like going from that military mindset back to a college setting, back to
writing papers, reading research papers?” (COL Wes MacMullen)
“I think it’s a lot about slowing down and getting all the way back to basics. Over time, I’ve build up some biases based
on my experiences. And getting back to the academia, we have
to really, really let that go.” (COL Chris Black, U.S. Army Aviator)
“Bringing the officer to a university like Duke enables us to make sure that we have
a wider view of the potential questions and even answers to some of the situations that
we may have that kind of go outside of the military spectrum and can go to any other
type of field or answer.” (LTC Matthew Weinshel, U.S. Army Aviator)
“Obviously there are myths on both sides. Military folks have some expectations and
perceptions about the way in which a civilian advisor or policymaker would act or react. And I think the same is true on the other
side. And this, I think, helps bridge that gap and
it is one of the main reasons the Army sends us here.” (Tim Nichols)
“By virtue of this program, the students get to sit next to very seasoned practitioners,
people who’ve been to Syria, who’ve dealt with the Kurds, who’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan. And what the fellows get is seeing these incredibly
bright, articulate students who have a passion for learning, who have great energy and who
want to contribute to the world, which is very reassuring them.” (COL Chris Black talking with Kayla) “This is just another aspect of being able
to interact with future leaders of America and those people who are going to go on and
hopefully do great and wonderful things for our country. And they do bring a unique insight and a unique
perspective and a unique way of looking at problems that some of us old timers probably
haven’t thought of. So that’s kind of what I enjoy.” (Kayla Schulz)
“The practicality aspect. We’ll be talking about something in class
and they’ll bring up an example of what they’ve experienced, whether that be in
a foreign country or working with other military leaders around there.” (COL Wes MacMullen and Kayla talking)
(COL Wes MacMullen)”What was the first thing that you found out about the fellows that
defied your expectations before you would have met any of us?” (Kayla)That’s a good question. Y’all are living a real life day to day. You have a family and there’s a lot of different
things. As where, a lot of us are just college students
and that’s kind of our “occupation.” So I think it’s a unique dynamic to have people
who are living that real life, have gone and had those experiences, and then also people
who don’t necessarily have those practical experiences yet and have just been doing the
theory side of things.”

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