The Irregular Warfare Center and Defense Security Cooperation University Host University Days Event

The Irregular Warfare Center and Defense Security Cooperation University Host University Days Event

By David Wyscaver (CTR), IWC Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Manager, Morgan 6 LLC. & Mallory Thornton, Public Affairs Specialist, Defense Security Cooperation University

The newly established Irregular Warfare Center (IWC) hosted its fourth IW-themed event, University Days, April 25-26, 2023, at the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) in Arlington, Va.

The purpose of the University Days event was to provide an opportunity for civilian academic institutions to learn more about the Center’s programs and initiatives and meet IWC leadership to directly discuss future partnerships, research, publishing and grant opportunities.

“University Days provided a tremendous opportunity to leverage the IWC’s unique authorities to harness the broad and creative intellectual abilities already resident in universities across the United States, and use these abilities to improve our whole-of-government responses to irregular challenges,” said Dr. Dennis Walters, IWC Acting Director. “The amount of IW knowledge and expertise was prevalent throughout University Days, and the Center is excited to build upon future partnerships created through this extraordinary event.”

The 2-day event included a variety of briefs led by IWC and DSCU leadership and irregular warfare SME’s, breakout sessions, panel discussions with question and answer sessions, as well as networking opportunities throughout the day.

Attending educational institutions included: University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Texas A&M, University of Central Florida, Institute of World Politics, Georgetown University, American University, Penn State University, Arizona State University, Regent University, Michigan State University, University of Virginia, The Citadel, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Seton Hall University, Purdue University, West Virginia University, Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute, Air University, Naval War College, John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, Joint Special Operations University, Marine Corps University, Army War College, Naval Post Graduate School, SAMS, Command and General Staff College, U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space, National Defense University and Army-IMCOM.

In conjunction with the University Days event, the Center hosted an accredited Professional Military Education (PME) Day for military educational institutions and a number of key stakeholders on April 27. PME Day offered participants the chance to express their educational needs of the IWC. These included the Center facilitating the sharing of curricula among the different institutions, providing a central repository for educational content and enabling future collaboration among the institutions. This is the first event in what is intended to be an ongoing dialogue to address the irregular warfare education tasks directed by Congress.

The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Secretary of Defense to establish the IWC with the authorities to reach out and create partnerships and collaborations with civilian institutions of higher learning to ensure the Center fully addressed strategic competition below the threshold of armed conflict.

University Days directly contributes to the successful execution of the IWC`s task prescribed in the FY23 NDAA as engage and coordinate with Federal departments and agencies and with academia, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and international partners to discuss and coordinate efforts on irregular warfare education.

“We educate for IW as much as we educate about IW,” said Carolyne Davidson, Assistant Professor/IW Forum, Academic Coordinator at the National Defense University, College of International Security Affairs, Ft. Bragg. “Our goal is to be the catalyst that sparks a life-long intellectual curiosity that results in a military better prepared to take on the challenges that aren’t yet on our radar. Education cannot just be about students; it has to be about faculty as well. It’s important to consider who is teaching IW. The IWC can play an important role in faculty professional development to facilitate sharing best practices, pedagogical innovation, and ensuring connections between research and application are sustained.”

The IWC recently hosted several informative and educational irregular warfare-themed events including its inaugural event, The IW Medical Resiliency Workgroup (Feb. 2022), IWC International IW Week (March 2023), IWC IW Seminar at Georgetown University (March 2023).

The IWC serves as the central mechanism for developing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) irregular warfare knowledge and advancing the Department’s understanding of irregular warfare concepts and doctrine in collaboration with key allies and partners.

The Center’s foundation is built upon three Lines of Effort:

  • AMPLIFY and collaborate to build an innovative and adaptable global networked IW community of interest.
  • Strategically ILLUMINATE current and future irregular threats, crises, and obstacles.
  • ADDRESS current and future irregular threats to the US, allies, and partners by providing optionality to leaders.

Through these LOEs, the Irregular Warfare Center addresses current and emerging security concerns and challenges with world-class research, rigorous analysis, top-tier strategic education and training for U.S. and international partners.