“IWP offers one of the best educational experiences available if you are (or aspire to be) a national security professional in either a civil or military capacity. What I got from IWP continues to pay dividends in my career.”
-MAJ Andrew Harris (’17)
Please note that the views presented here are Andrew’s personal views and do not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense or U.S. Army.
Andrew Harris (’17) attended IWP as part of the U.S. Army’s Additional Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) Program to pursue his Master of Arts in Strategic Intelligence Studies. He has been using his education in his work as a Military Intelligence Officer in the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Originally from Tennessee, Andrew has been interested in international affairs and national security since childhood. He has especially been fascinated by North Korea, which seemed so strange to him. He remembers reading North Korean propaganda when he was a kid and finding it ludicrous. “I began to understand much later that it was only funny to me because I was not their target audience,” said Andrew.
His interests led him to attend The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and join the U.S. Army. He deployed twice to Afghanistan as an Infantry platoon leader and as an Intelligence Officer.
Andrew heard about IWP through a colleague during the Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. “When I read the course catalog, I realized that is where I wanted to go,” said Andrew.
Studying intelligence and teleology at IWP
As a full-time IWP student, Andrew took full advantage of what the school had to offer. He attended extracurricular lectures about once a week before evening classes. He also gave some lectures himself, one on the Israeli intelligence organization Mossad when he was a student, and one on “Reconnaissance on the Eastern Front in WWI” soon after he graduated.
He enjoyed the courses and had this to say about his experience:
“The courses are grounded in history and theory because these are the foundations of why and how the federal agencies and military services operate as they do, and why the world is the way it is today. A military audience will see connections to military doctrine and constitutional law in the curricula. It is also a first-rate education in international affairs, regardless of which concentration you choose.”
Andrew particularly enjoyed studying Cold War history, and these studies sparked a new interest for him in the Soviet Union/Russia. He was intrigued by IWP’s course on comparative intelligence systems and found it interesting that the course could be taught with such expertise in an open-source setting.
Andrew felt that the most important course he took at IWP was on the Western moral tradition: “That was probably one of the most influential things that I still carry with me.” In addition to studying how foreign policy and national security are conducted, Andrew explored why they are conducted, as well as questions of teleology, the highest Good for which we perform or participate in the transitive goods which to many seem absolute.
He felt that IWP corrected deficiencies in his education, and he “developed a renewed appreciation for the ideas that have guided the United States since the nation’s founding.”
Of IWP’s approach to education in general, Andrew said: “IWP’s approach to teaching draws heavily on the traditions of classical humanities education, which is something you simply cannot find in the vast majority of educational institutions of 2023. Their educational approach is old-fashioned, but I think that is a good thing. Mindful tradition is a brazen and innovative approach when the academic herd is obsessed with novelty. For me, this was the kind of education that refined habits of thought and influenced behavior, which is probably the best that any educator can accomplish.”
He also appreciated the network that surrounded IWP: “The school placed me in a professional network the likes of which I could never have found on my own. I think the community is as valuable as the education.”
Serving with the U.S. Army in the Republic of Korea
After graduating as Valedictorian of the IWP Class of 2017, Andrew was promoted to the rank of Major in February 2019 and graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on 14 June 2019. He was selected to attend the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), an advanced course on operational art, military problem solving, military theory and history, campaign planning, and the military aspects of statecraft.
Andrew is now stationed in Camp Casey, Republic of Korea with the 210th Field Artillery Brigade within the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division. This division “deters aggression and maintains peace on the Korean Peninsula; and if deterrence fails, ‘Fight Tonight’ in support of the U.S-Republic of Korea Alliance.”
Andrew’s brigade is equipped with the M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System, a fire-guided missile system similar to what has been used in the defense of Ukraine during the 2022-23 Russian War. Andrew is currently serving as the brigade intelligence officer.
“If you have a good relationship with your commander, the intelligence officer has an ability to influence operations and minimize the risk to U.S. forces, while maximizing what an operation is going to achieve,” said Andrew. “Having this sort of impact is a uniquely fulfilling aspect of the job.”
It has been an interesting time to work in Korea. After a series of years either marked by the Covid pandemic or by international agreement to avoid significant escalation, Andrew has found that “this past year probably has been one of the most significant periods of provocation and political warfare that North Korea has conducted since the end of the Cold War.”
As a result, the 210th Field Artillery Brigade has been involved in responding to the North Korean provocations with demonstrations of the U.S.-ROK alliance’s capabilities and resolve.
In the future, Andrew plans to continue to serve with the Army and recommend IWP to his colleagues. He said, “I already very strongly recommended IWP to young captains who work for me, especially if they are intelligence officers and know they want to do this work for the long haul.”