News from the Bush School

Gifts Establish New Center for Grand Strategy at Texas A&M’s Bush School

October 08, 2018

Written by the Texas A&M Foundation

Multimillion-dollar gifts from the Charles Koch Foundation and Texas A&M University System Regent Robert Albritton have established the new Center for Grand Strategy at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.

The Foundation and Albritton, a 1971 graduate of Texas A&M, are providing $3.5 million and $2.75 million, respectively, in multi-year support toward the center. Their contributions are being made through the Texas A&M Foundation.

The new center will serve as an intellectual hub for the critical examination of U.S. grand strategy. Specifically, it will support research that takes a fresh look at America’s grand strategic choices; foster dialogue between scholars and practitioners; and help engage a new generation of public servants who will be grand strategic innovators. Grand strategy can be broadly understood as the organizing principles that orient a country’s foreign policy.

“It’s time for a conversation about the strategic future of our country, and Texas A&M and the Bush School look forward to being an integral part of that conversation,” said Mark Welsh, dean of the Bush School, executive professor and holder of the Edward & Howard Kruse Chair. “We promise an honest and energetic discussion about the grand strategic options available to our nation. The new center will be a place for scholars and policy practitioners to come together, share their ideas and learn from each other. It will allow us to play a role in shaping America’s future role on the global stage, and I look forward to seeing the great work it will accomplish. We are grateful for the contributions that have made this possible.”

The support will enable the university to hire a professor of practice and new tenure-track faculty. The center will also host pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows; sponsor research by affiliated faculty; and host conferences, workshops and speakers to disseminate cutting-edge research that contributes to a robust debate about U.S. grand strategy. 

“If successful, the center will serve as the hub for a community of scholars and practitioners engaged in an active debate over the direction of American grand strategy, which is sorely needed at a time of flux in international politics,” said John Schuessler, associate professor of international affairs at the Bush School and the center’s academic director. Schuessler will share the academic director role with Jasen Castillo, also an associate professor of international affairs. “Our hope and expectation are that the intellectual community surrounding the center will reach well beyond the Bush School and include scholars from history and political science as well as any others grappling with questions of relevance to American grand strategy.”

The Charles Koch Foundation supports students and scholars exploring criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, free expression, foreign policy and other pressing issues at more than 300 universities and colleges.

“As leaders debate what role the U.S. should play in a changing world, the center stands to inform the conversation through scholarly research on relevant questions,” said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Vice President of Higher Education Ryan Stowers. “We’re excited to support Texas A&M scholars as they bring new perspectives and innovative research to pressing issues.”

“We are living in a very fragmented and changing world. A new crisis seems to appear daily requiring a well thought out response. How we respond to these events is more critical today than ever before,” said Regent Albritton. “I believe decision makers in government and beyond are in search of a fresh perspective concerning our nation’s grand strategy. There is no better place in the country than Texas A&M’s Bush School to host these discussions. For that reason, Mary Louise and I are so pleased to support this exciting endeavor and look forward to seeing the direct impact this center will have on the grand strategy discussion.”

The Center for Grand Strategy will also give Bush School graduate students with a special interest in grand strategy many opportunities to interact with notable speakers and the cross-section of university scholars affiliated with the center. “The Department of International Affairs is looking forward to welcoming new faculty as part of the center and to the intellectual energy that the center will bring to an already vibrant and active scholarly community,” said F. Gregory Gause, head of the Bush School’s international affairs department and holder of the John H. Lindsey ’44 Chair.

To bridge the academic and policy worlds, the center will host a range of events featuring notable scholars and practitioners. Details will be forthcoming shortly on the slate of speakers for the coming year.