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Naval War College partnership grows

Cybersecurity lectures, national security fellowship developed through partnership

The University and the U.S. Naval War College have continued to strengthen their partnership established last June, focusing on greater collaboration in research and teaching as well as the creation of a new fellows program.

Since the partnership formed, both institutions have hosted panels and lectures concerning contemporary issues of national security. A working group composed of members from both institutions is also exploring possible other expansions to the relationship, said Sue Eckert, senior fellow in international and public affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Located in Newport, R.I. — just a 40-minute drive from the University — the Naval War College aims to educate and develop future leaders of the Navy.

“Through this partnership, we now have a depth of expertise,” Eckert said.

The Watson Institute and the Naval War College invited experts on cybersecurity to speak at a three-day workshop last month entitled “Cybered Future and Conflict/Governance Implications.” The experts addressed the relationships between cyber development and world governments.

“From our perspective, Watson has the three core programs of development, governance and security. We are now rebuilding our security program since we have lost some faculty,” Eckert said.

Visiting scholars from the Naval War College are currently in residence and doing research on international relations issues at the Watson Institute. Though there are currently no Brown professors in residence at the Naval War College, the working group tasked with expanding the partnership is exploring this option, Eckert said.

Michael O’Hara, a permanent military professor in the department of strategy and policy at the War College, currently serves as a national security fellow at the Watson Institute. O’Hara’s position as the University’s first national security fellow marks a rare accomplishment, said John Garofano, a civilian visiting professor from the Naval War College.

“We are trying to improve knowledge about each other’s expertise so that we can increasingly teach sessions or give lectures or perhaps teach an entire course,” Garofano said. “But we still need to get to know each other’s faculty a little more.”

One of the biggest goals of the partnership is to bridge what Garofano and Eckert call the “civil-military gap.” Both Garofano and Eckert said they believe there needs to be a greater understanding between civilian and military cultures.

“The best part of Brown, to me, is the students,” Eckert said, adding that it is important for this generation of students to have “a great awareness and understanding” of military culture and “people who have been out there in front lines.”

The issue of cybersecurity is a growing concern that affects members of the military and civilians alike, said John Savage P’88 P’95 P’03 P’05 GP’17, professor of computer science.

“The world is now integrated with high speed communications used in the Internet, and computer security is minimal,”  Savage said. “There are two types of big corporations — those that know they’ve been penetrated and those that don’t.”

The University’s partnership with Naval War College does not focus exclusively on issues of cybersecurity, Eckert said. Research and collaboration between these two institutions also center on topics including the political economy of war, she said.

Looking ahead, the Watson Institute will host a book discussion Oct. 13 on “Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry,” a book by Lyle Goldstein, associate professor in the department of strategic research at the Naval War College.



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