IWP alumnus Brian Platt joined the Army in the mid-1990s, and spent several years in the reserves after completing his active duty. He rejoined the active Army in 2007 as an Army Strategist partly because he looked forward to working with a small group of military officers with similar interests, and partly because of the educational opportunities he would have in this branch.
After serving a tour in Iraq, Brian decided to pursue these opportunities. One of his fellow officers advised that he attend a civilian school - where Brian would challenge the professors with his military experiences, and where they would challenge him.
During lunch at The Happy Teriyaki in Washington's Dupont Circle with a friend from the Pentagon, he heard about IWP's programs, and found that "the philosophy of the school really embraced those values in which I believe, and in which the Army believes - including morality, strength of character, respect, and honor."
Brian enrolled in the fall of 2010, and graduated this past May.
"My experience at IWP was phenomenal. As a strategist, I always look for how this course or this educational opportunity will improve or enhance my capabilities for the type of work that I do. The classes opened up my strategic understanding to the use of other elements of national power than hard power. At IWP, I was exposed to the numerous advantages of the employment of soft power."
For instance, "In Dr. Gorka's class, it was eye opening to learn about the strategic shocks to the Islamic world in the 20th century that largely contributed to the formation of Al Qaeda... Prof. Tsagronis' classes challenged my writing ability and were extremely relevant to me as an Army strategist." Brian also particularly enjoyed classes like American Founding Principles with Prof. Smith and Genocide and Genocide Prevention with Dr. Chodakiewicz.
As for all students at IWP, the courses and workload were challenging. "I would like to thank my wife Leigh Ann for her unwavering support through the past two years of arduous education," Brian says. His wife and son Jack live with him in the DC area.
During his two years at IWP, and as a new alumnus, Brian has found that, "This institution doesn't just hand you a diploma and send you on your way. The people at the school care about us graduates, and what we do beyond IWP."
After earning his Masters in Statecraft and National Security Affairs with a Specialization in National Security and Defense Studies, Brian has been charged by the 59 proponent - the Army's strategists - with the special responsibility of supervising the first cohort of FA-59s who are participating in a special certificate program in strategic studies at the Institute. He will be at IWP for the summer and fall semesters. When he leaves, he will serve as a strategist overseas, armed with his IWP education.