ADM (Ret.) James Stavridis, NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and 15th Commander of the U.S. European Command, warned students, faculty, and members of the community about a range of challenges facing the United States while advising that American grand strategy not neglect “soft” factors like gender or humanitarian aid to countries suffering from war or natural disasters. Stavridis was speaking at Texas A&M University to help launch the new Albritton Center for Grand Strategy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Texas A&M Board of Regents member Robert L. Albritton, for whom the Albritton Center is named, kicked off the evening by stressing the importance of giving back and how his funding of the CGS will help “make sure America stays great.” Albritton’s family members have been donors to the Bush School for a long time, and he noted “this is a family accomplishment.”
On 9/11, Stavridis was just a short distance away from where one of the hijacked planes hit the Pentagon. He used this as an example of how “walls will not keep us safe.” Stavridis covered modern challenges like global narcotics, the so-called Islamic State, Putin’s hybrid warfare, climate change, and pandemics in a sweeping discussion of where the United States can improve its grand strategy. Despite these challenges, Stavridis ended on an optimistic note, telling the audience that Americans need to listen to each other better in order to bridge the gaps among them and solve important problems.
The new Albritton Center for Grand Strategy will support research that takes a fresh look at America’s grand strategic choices, foster dialogue between scholars and practitioners, and help train a new generation of public servants who will be grand strategic innovators. Dr. John Schuessler and Dr. Jasen Castillo are the Academic Directors of the Center.