On March 5th, 2020, SSP hosted this year's General James Doolittle Award Dinner at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Celebrating the legacy of US Air Force General James “Jimmy” Doolittle, the Dinner features a guest speaker for a discussion of US military policy and international security issues. This year’s guest was Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., who served as the 9th Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among many other roles in the US military, as well as nonprofit and private sectors. Following dinner in the Sonesta’s Riverfront Room and an introduction by SSP Director and Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, Taylor Fravel, Admiral Winnefeld delivered remarks on a range of issues related to US military doctrine, grand strategy, and defense policy. A vibrant Q&A session followed, in which members of the MIT community had the opportunity to ask the Admiral questions touching on several themes, including the challenges faced by the US Navy and Air Force in the 21st century, as well as the material and institutional costs associated with meeting such challenges.



The Independent Activities Period (IAP) is a short term at MIT in January when members of the MIT community have the chance between Fall and Spring Semesters to pursue small independent projects. Students and educators have greater freedom to pursue their own educational interests and are encouraged to innovate in their approaches to learning and teaching. SSP hosted several events for IAP 2020, including a series of talks organized by the SSP Military Fellows. These included “The Maritime Fight: Redefining the Navy and Marine Corps Fighting Partnership”, delivered on January 28th by US Navy Commander Evan Wright and US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Riggs, as well as “The Age of the F-35 and Autonomy on the Modern Battlefield”, presented by US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tucker Hamilton on January 29th. Both presentations were enlightening in the detailed, expert’s view they gave attendees, and in a shift from typical SSP seminars during the semester, allowed the audience to learn about US military policy directly from its practitioners.



In response to the ongoing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of MIT’s physical campus, SSP has now moved its regular Wednesday Seminar online. Hosting the Seminar as a Zoom meeting accessible to the public will allow SSP to continue with its tradition of engaging the community with relevant, weekly discussions of international security issues with renowned experts. The first online seminar speakers were Dr. Annette Idler on April 1st, and Prof. Charles Glaser on the 15th. SSP has also hosted roundtables with SSP Faculty, including a discussion on April 22nd of the effects of the pandemic on international affairs. Since moving online, the audience for the seminars has grown to nearly 150 attendees.


For more updates about SSP's Alumni and their recent activities, please see our Alumni Profile page on the SSP website. Our featured alumna for this issue is Marika Landau-Wells, Assistant Professor in the Travers Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley.