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By Ensign Theron Verdon, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
June 14, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The 63nd annual Current Strategy Forum (CSF) at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) explored the theme of "Global Trends: Implications for National Policy and the Maritime Forces" during a two-day event, June 12-13.

Keynote speakers and panelists, including sea service leaders, discussed the decisions regarding national policy, defense strategy and resource allocation, in respect to global trends shaping today's global system. 

CSF is the final academic event of the school year preceding graduation ceremonies June 15. 

This year's host of CSF, Under Secretary of the Navy Robert O. Work, described energy as the main vulnerability to U.S. national security in his keynote address. 

"Our strategic concept and our organizational construct are precisely aligned with the strategic requirements for the 21st century," he said. "It is hard to imagine a more maritime friendly strategic environment."

In keeping with the theme of this year's CSF, "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," Work emphasized the Navy-Marine Corps team's importance to a national strategy focused on securing the economic interests of the U.S.

"Oceans are central to the economy, which means they are central to our national strategy," said Work. "Ready reliable information, secure finances, stable economies, and free global trade depend upon the free navigation of the oceans."

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps spoke directly to the importance of Navy-Marine Corps teams to the nation's strategy.

"The new strategy emphasizes that we must maintain a stabilizing presence abroad and be prepared to respond to unexpected crises and contingencies," said Dunford.

This year's forum also featured a speaker not connected to the military or academia. Motion picture executive producer Dr. Abigail Disney, spoke about her five-part documentary, "Women, War & Peace" and the perspective civilian women have on conflict. 

"Popular depictions of war in film do not prepare one for reality. While the camera is focused on Rambo or John Wayne, women are relegated to the landscape," said Disney. "Women bring voices to peace processes that aren't otherwise heard. If women aren't heard, the brokered peace process will not last."

In her television documentary, Disney showcased the role women played in the peace processes in Libya, Bosnia, Colombia, and are playing in Afghanistan. 

Other panels featured speakers from the military, academia and industry, and global trends effects on national policy, defense strategy, and resource allocation. 

"We consider this forum to be the capstone academic event for our graduating students," said NWC President, Rear Adm. John N. Christenson, who thanked students and the more than 300 invited guests. CSF is hosted annually by NWC for the secretary of the Navy. 

The U.S. Naval War College started more than 125 years ago as a small institution with mostly summer courses. It has evolved into a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 students a year, and a vibrant distance program that graduates about 1,000 students a year. The College also has a robust international engagement mission with approximately 100 international officers graduating yearly. 

In addition to the college's education mission, it is heavily involved in war gaming and research in an effort to aid the chief of naval operations in defining the path of the future Navy. More recently, the College has developed operational level courses to satisfy fleet requirements, preparing leaders for the challenges of operational and/or strategic level leadership over the remainder of their careers as decision makers and problem solvers.

Posted by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy