The Stennis Center regularly conducts Civil-Military Leadership Dialogue and Discussion Programs, which bring together top leaders from the military and Congress. During the 114th Congress, the Stennis Center held a series led by Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to bring together leaders of the military and first-term U.S. Senators as part of the Stennis Center’s ongoing Civil-Military Leadership Program.
Military participants have included the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Secretary of the Navy and many Flag Officers. Forty U.S. Senators and Representatives, cabinet secretaries, and distinguished writers have been program participants throughout the years, along with more than 100 senior level congressional staff members including a number of chiefs of staff and committee staff directors.
First term Senators and House Members have participated in Stennis Center programs that connect them to military leaders and enable them to learn more about military life, values, institutions, and culture. These programs have provided meaningful opportunities for military and civilian leaders to engage in dialogue and build relationships that increase awareness and understanding between the military and civilian spheres of responsibility. At a point when relatively few of our civilian leaders have had military experience, it is important to create opportunities for interaction that will aid civilian leaders in their policy making duties. Likewise, it is important for military leaders to develop better understanding of the policy making process. Feedback from participants confirms that these programs have strengthened the leadership capacity of both civilian and military leaders, benefiting national security leadership overall.
Response to the programs continues to be strong from both military and civilian leaders. The Stennis Center will continue to place emphasis on leadership development opportunities for military and civilian decision-makers.