How can the United States best integrate its diplomatic, military, and economic power to advance its national security interests?
In December, the Tobin Project brought together academics, policymakers, and think-tank researchers from various disciplines for a three-day conference focused on pressing, unanswered questions arising out of current policy debates and ongoing research at the Tobin Project.
Participants in the conference debated the decisions that practitioners must make to balance the use of military force with non-military tools – such as traditional and public diplomacy, negotiation, alliance-building, and economic incentives. Discussions aimed to advance scholarship that will contribute to our understanding of these issues and have the potential to inform national security policy.
The conference pursued four lines of inquiry:
Throughout the conference, practitioners from Congress and the Administration offered on-the-ground perspectives and posed strategic questions about the practicality and policy relevance of the research discussed. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James Schear (Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations) and Representative Robert Simmons (Member of Congress, 2001-2007 (R-CT); Colonel, USAR, Retired) shared their expertise during a panel session on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Other distinguished policymakers – including staff from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, State Department Policy Planning Staff, and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – enriched conversation by serving as panelists and respondents to scholars’ papers. These policymakers provided valuable insight to Tobin scholars, engaged in productive conversations regarding the challenges they face, and suggested policy-relevant directions for research.