On December 1, 2011, IWP held its 16th Annual Pearl Harbor Day Dinner, an event that was attended by supporters, faculty members, students, and alumni of the Institute.
IWP president John Lenczowski reflected on the work of IWP in educating future generations of leaders, and Rear Admiral Dave Rogers, who chaired the dinner, shared his memories of December 7, 1941.
The keynote speaker, Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau, president of the National Defense University, reflected on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. Pearl Harbor was a single day which marked a turning point in American history, she said, and similarly, 9/11/2001 is another date that will live in infamy. Both days have had a profound effect on the American psyche, and they have a special place in our collective national memory. Even though these events happened “all in one day,” Admiral Rondeau said that it is important to be able to place them in the context of history. Admiral Rondeau also observed that, following the Pearl Harbor attacks, President Roosevelt declared war on a nation, not a war on air power. Admiral Rondeau used this example to stress the importance of strategic clarity; current terms like the war on terror or the struggle against extremism provide no such distinct purpose.
Today, she said, the United States needs similar strategic clarity about the nation’s intent. The nature of the attack on 9/11 was very different from that launched against Pearl Harbor: unlike the latter, it was an attack on civilians, not a strike against military forces. In contrast, the United States strives to minimize the losses to civilian life. Admiral Rondeau asserted that the concept of jus in bello is central to the American way of war. Noting that the nation cannot be said to have a coherent strategy if its goal is to destroy tactics and procedures, she stated that the United States must have a holistic approach to intelligence. Admiral Rondeau presented several examples of intelligence not being used properly and argued these errors would have been mitigated by greater interdisciplinary and interagency dialogue. She additionally argued that the United States is not just in a war to end the use of terror tactics, but in a protracted engagement.
Admiral Rondeau explained that at the National Defense University, she is working to increase “strategic mindfulness” in the armed forces, and credited IWP with leading the way in raising awareness about the necessity of thinking strategically. She encouraged the IWP students in attendance to learn to think in this manner, because the consequences of not thinking strategically can be disastrous. Admiral Rondeau challenged IWP students and faculty members to continue to think about these important issues, and thereby contribute to the security of the nation.
In his brief closing remarks, Dr. Lenczowski said that he accepted the challenge and was confident that the IWP community is rising to meet it.