This is a logo for a research center housed within the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. The logo should be simple and authoritative. It should also mesh well with other UVA branding. Options might include red, white, and blue to capture the national security element of the mission. It might also draw on blue and orange to mesh with the UVA colors.
Customers will include US government officials, potential students, and academic institutions.
The mission of the NSPC is to increase knowledge and capability, develop relationships, and improve communication, both within US Government, between US Government and academic researchers, and between the United States and foreign powers. Knowledge, relationships, and frank communication allow for foreign policy interactions that are fully informed and strategically sound.
The center will take a “whole of government” approach by engaging partners from across the spectrum of entities involved in security and foreign policy. In the United States this will mean relationships with defense and intelligence (e.g. DOD, NSA, CIA, etc.) but also with the diplomatic corps at the State Department and the many law enforcement agencies that are deeply engaged in security oriented missions such as cyber defense and counterterrorism (e.g. Homeland Security, Secret Service, FBI, DEA, etc.) Foreign counterparts will match this “whole of government” profile and will also be drawn from across the defense, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement spectrum.
This approach will contribute to cross-fertilization that is much needed but presently rare. It will also lead to more meaningful linkages between research and national security policy. The intelligence community, for example, is chronically short on research and analysts capable of assessing military forces and operations. The result is that those tasked with analyzing a particular conflict have to learn on the job. When the next war comes along, the whole cycle repeats with a new set of analysts. This neither efficient nor effective, and is an area in which the University of Virginia could, over time, make a substantial contribution through properly focused research and training.
In its research, training, and international engagement, the NSPC will seek to build “constructive counterparts” for the United States rather than friends. This mission stands in contrast to prevailing trends in academic involvement with US foreign policy. Many efforts at foreign engagement—ranging from the Peace Corps to Fulbright scholarships—are based on the expectation that simply bringing people together leads to a convergence of preferences and understanding. The idea is that people who interact come to want the same thing.
We disagree with that premise. The NSPC is built on the notion that, when it comes to the hardest and most dangerous issues in international security, it is naïve and even dangerous to fail to take differences in preferences seriously. The biggest problems come not from disagreement but from miscalculation. Peace and prosperity are therefore better assured by facilitating informed communication that can convey preferences and capabilities accurately and credibly. The NSPC’s focus on building “constructive counterparts” trained in rigorous analytical methodology and informed by the best policy-relevant research will facilitate the informed communication and strategic clarity that can contribute to both international peace and successful US foreign policy.
The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy’s mission is “to educate leaders from the social sciences and other fields who understand the responsibilities and opportunities of service to the public and can help bring about transformational change.” The NSPC will extend this mission to the realm of national security. The Batten School, through its instructional, research, and outreach programs, contributes in important ways to public deliberation on the great issues of our time. In an increasingly complex world, many of these issues come in the form of national security challenges. The Batten School trains students in critical leadership skills, and in the analytics and substance of policy. Its programs inspire students to act vigorously, effectively, and ethically on behalf of the common good. This perspective and these skills are vitally needed in the international security community.
This extension fulfills one of the key objectives of the late Frank Batten Sr. (1927-2009), who was a proponent of providing students a global vision. He stated: “Never has there been a greater need for the University of Virginia to educate enlightened and ethical leaders who will leave the Grounds prepared for public life in their communities and their professions-whether it be in our state, our nation or across the globe.”
The NSPC will reflect these principles by taking the Batten School and its unique approach to policy through leadership into a domain in which it has been absent—national security. This is a long-overdue expansion given that of all the institutions of American government, the military and intelligence communities most explicitly embrace this joint emphasis on leadership and analysis.
At present, the national security community in US government is underserved by the academy. Mutual distrust and an inability to communicate in a common vocabulary characterize the relationship. Prior attempts at meaningful, institutionalized national security policy cooperation between the leading American universities and government have, for the most part, either withered over time or failed to take flight in the first place. As a consequence, most scholars of international relations write about increasingly esoteric security issues and fail to engage with practitioners on pressing problems, while government does without the insights that rigorous academic analysis and training could provide. The Batten School has a unique opportunity to bridge this divide.