Thinking about War and Peace: Intellectuals, Soldiers, and American Security Policy

Michael P. Noonan

Director - Program on National Security
Director of Research, FPRI -

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Myriad challenges confront American foreign and security policy today: the rise and spread of ISIS from Iraq and Syria to the Maghreb and Nigeria, the drawdown of a large-scale military presence in Afghanistan, new tensions in Yemen, Russian irredentism and revaunchism in their “near abroad,” and Chinese saber rattling in East Asia. A cacophony of voices have voiced positions ranging from deep engagement to strategic restraint. Such debates about American foreign policy have always been heavily influenced by partisan political considerations, but most partisans attempt to justify their positions with reference to the work of security policy experts. The role of such experts, whether they reside in government agencies, universities, think tanks, or simply ride the circuit between them, has always been a subject of controversy. Are they outsiders or insiders? What difference should that make in evaluating the advice they provide? Join Ron Granieri as he discusses the role of policy intellectuals in the development of American security policy, and the current state of debate on key policy questions with Dr. Michael Noonan, the Director of FPRI’s Program on National Security.

Michael NoonanDr. Michael P. Noonan is the Director of Research, and is the Director of the Program on National Security, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. His current research focuses on indirect approaches and strategy (particularly as they relate to political and irregular warfare), the roles and missions of the U.S. military, and transnational foreign fighters. A former Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, in 2006- 2007 he served on a Military Transition Team (MiTT) with an Iraqi light infantry battalion in and around the northern city of Tal`Afar. Among other professional affiliations, he is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He holds a PhD in political science from Loyola University Chicago and is also a graduate of the University of Scranton and Creighton University. Dr. Noonan has taught at Haverford College and Loyola University Chicago. His writings have appeared in The American Interest, Orbis, Parameters, National Security Studies Quarterly, and FPRI E-Notes. He is the editor of, and contributor to, Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog and also blogs at the U.S. News and World Report’s World Report and at War on the Rocks.

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Thinking about War and Peace: Intellectuals, Soldiers, and American Security Policy