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Security is about influence not control

Captain Wayne Porter joined Senior Fellow Steve Kelley for a discussion on the security of the nation that focuses more broadly then defense. In partnership with Colonel Mark Mykleby they wrote a paper to be the basis of a national security strategy which was published by the Woodrow Wilson Center. The officers are special strategic assistants to Admiral Mike Mullen, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During his talk at the Humphrey School Porter explained the systems approach they took to analyze the nation's security situation. Which is great news to policy students to hear the techniques that they (we) are learning in school are values and used in the "real" world. The center also specializes in design thinking and system dynamics modeling and it great to see other using similar approaches to create sound policy. In fact it is the depth of their analysis which considered political history, scientific changes and geo situations that makes their student truly valuable.

Porter also explained why his recommendations for investments in education, renewable energy and diplomacy policies were critical for positioning the United States as a nation of influence. He hopes that a bi-partisan bill will be introduced that heeds their recommendations. While Porter admits to being a conservative, he has found it strange that thus far his message has spread more center-left than right. He believes that for our nation to be fully secure the focus cannot be on force but on the strength of social and economic leadership. The basis of such philosophy is that it is easier to influence than control and that the United States has been successful when it is in a position of leadership. But if we do not have enough educated people or are too dependent on fossil fuels we cannot take that position.

When I was allowed to ask a question, I inquired about he thought the role of the military really is in their recommendations. He was happy to point out that he is not advocating stripping the defense department of funding as they do R&D and educational outreach but policy actions have to be considered as a whole with intersecting loops and influences.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
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