Senior Conference is run annually by the Department of Social Sciences of the United States Military Academy on behalf of the Superintendent. This event allows distinguished representatives—from the private sector, government, academia, the think-tank community, and the joint military services—to discuss important national security topics. Senior Conference 2014, the 50th iteration of this event, will explore emerging trends and their implications for the Army’s strategic contribution to national security.
As policymakers strive to rebalance U.S. national security investments in a fiscally constrained environment, debates about the future roles and missions of the armed services have intensified. Though many questions related to the future role of military power remain unsettled, the Army will undoubtedly have an important role to play.
To date, the Army has developed a “Prevent, Shape, and Win” strategic framework and has regionally aligned its forces to provide necessary capabilities and enablers to the joint force. Yet, it is not clear that all the implications of this approach have been clearly specified or addressed. Participants will assess ongoing discussions about necessary changes within the Army, as well as broader debates in the national security community about the future employment of ground forces. Some of the questions the conference will explore include:
1. What are the most significant threats and opportunities in the emerging
security environment that the Army should be prepared to address?
2. What do transnational national security challenges, such as terrorism or
conflict in cyberspace, imply about the Army’s needed capabilities?
3. What are the strategic capabilities and joint force enablers provided by the
Army? How should the Army balance investments among these capabilities
and other elements of Army force structure?
4. What capabilities should the Army develop to enhance the benefits of
5. How can the Army improve its integration with other instruments of national
power, as well as other military services, host nations, allies, and
6. How should education and training, to include such opportunities as
graduate school, interagency fellowships, and other broadening
experiences, prepare officers and soldiers to effectively operate in this
Given that these questions touch on the interests of many stakeholders, the list of participants will be wide and diverse, to include: members of Congress; senior government officials from across the interagency, scholars from relevant disciplines, members of the think-tank community, and representatives of the media. Keynote speakers and panelists will be chosen based on their scholarship, professional practice, or current responsibilities. This conference will provide a perfect forum—sequestered and informal settings at West Point—for candid discussions among all conference participants. Comments are “not for attribution” throughout all conference sessions, further facilitating a free exchange of ideas. Senior Conference 2014 is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Charles Johnson and the West Point Association of Graduates.