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Security Studies Program - IAP: Contemporary Military Topics: "Navy/USMC Overview: The Surface Navy-path and roles of Surface Warfare and USMC Force Design 2030 and Concept for Stand-in Forces"
Jan/20 Thu 01:30PM–03:00PM

 The USMC focus will be on "Force Design 2030 and the USMC Concept for Stand-in Forces."  This will highlight our (USMC) force structure/force design changes inline with the Joint Warfighting Concept and how the USMC will facilitate the role of Stand-in Forces in the Pacific theater of operation.

Security Studies Program - IAP: Contemporary Military Topics: Strategic Reality & Tactical Mirages: Special Operations & The Iranian Hostage Rescue, 1979-1980
Jan/18 Tue 12:00PM–01:30PM

The Iranian hostage rescue attempt––dubbed Operation Eagle Claw––is an often-cited but less understood mission that contributed to the creation of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in 1987. Using Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow’s Models of decision making from their work Essence of Decision, the thesis explores alternative explanations on why the rescue mission failed using the Organizational Behavior and Government Politics Models of decision making. After further scrutiny, the Government Politics Model reveals an asymmetric need for OPSEC by President Carter’s National Security Advisor. The desire for secrecy resulted in organizational imperatives by the military that ultimately limited preparation for the audacious mission. As SOF continues to provide presidential administrations options in opaque political environments, like Eagle Claw, senior leaders––both soldier and statesman––must recognize the tension between the growth of SOF quantity to meet increasing strategic demand and the attrition of SOF quality by organizational imperatives. The management of this dilemma will characterize the future of SOF.  During this talk, I will share several critical elements of my career that led to my interest in the thesis and some operational vignettes from my time in Command of SOF aviation Combat Units

Security Studies Program - IAP: Contemporary Military Topics: “The Future of Army Space "
Jan/12 Wed 12:00PM–01:30PM

“The Future of Army Space "

With the Space Force establishment in 2019, what are the impacts on the Army Space Program and its future?

Starr Forum: The Russian-Ukrainian Conflict: A prologue to WWIII or another frozen conflict?
Jan/28 Fri 10:30AM–11:30AM

Please register for this Zoom event at


Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist at CNA, where he has worked since 2000. Dr. Gorenburg is an associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. His research interests include security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, and ethnic politics and identity.

Olga Oliker is the program director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group. Her research interests include foreign and security policies of Russia, Ukraine, and the Central Asian and Caucasian successor states to the Soviet Union, domestic politics in these countries, US policy towards the region, and nuclear weapon strategy and arms control. She received her PhD from the MIT Department of Political Science.

Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History and director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University.  His research interests include the intellectual, cultural, and international history of Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on Ukraine.

Carol Saivetz is a senior advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program. She is a research associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. Dr Saivetz is the author and contributing co-editor of books and articles on Soviet and now Russian foreign policy issues, including an assessment of the “reset,” Russian policies toward the other Soviet successor states, and current US-Russian relations.

Elizabeth Wood is professor of history at MIT. She is the author most recently of Roots of Russia’s War in Ukraine (Woodrow Wilson Center and Columbia University Press, 2016). She is co-director of the MIT Russia Program, coordinator of Russian studies, and adviser to the Russian Language Program. 


A session of the Focus on Russia Lecture Series.

Co-sponsors:  MIT Center for International Studies (CIS), MIT Security Studies Program (SSP), MISTI MIT-Russia


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