RSG Newsletter – May 2017
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
Greetings from Regent University, once again ranked among the most military-friendly universities in the country! As you will see later in this newsletter, both Military Times and Military Friendly have recently honored the university for its commitment to assisting current military personnel and veterans transition to college life, whether full-time or part-time and whether in a traditional, on-campus format or online.
Regent works hard to reach out to military personnel, including the establishment of our outstanding Military Resource Center on campus led by Mr. Bob Habib and a new Master of Security Studies launching this Fall. In this edition of our newsletter you will see RSG’s co-sponsored event about moral injury and “Hacksaw Ridge,” a war-game simulating conditions in Afghanistan, and recent training for chaplains at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
We are proud of our military personnel. Our outstanding MPA student of the year for 2017, Joanna Knight, is a Navy veteran and military spouse. Several of our faculty members have military experience, including Practitioner in Residence Ed Daley (USMC), adjunct professors RADM Larry Baucom and RADM Bill McCarthy (USN, ret.), Distinguished Professor Bob McDonnell (USA, ret.), and Dean Eric Patterson (Texas Air National Guard). If you know someone considering the next phase of their military career, please direct them to us!
Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
“Hacksaw Ridge” Screening and Panel Discussion
Robertson School of Government Dean Eric Patterson and three experts provided comments following a screening of the film “Hacksaw Ridge” at Regent University on May 9, 2017. They participated in a similar forum at Ft. Belvoir, VA earlier this year and some of the comments, in the form of journal articles, were published in Providence: A Journal of US Foreign Policy. The event was led by RSG and included Lionsgate representative, Steve Warnecke, an RSG alumnus.
“Hacksaw Ridge” tells multiple stories, including that of Desmond Doss, an Army volunteer who does not want to kill but rather serve as an Army medic due to his religious objections. But, it is the wider themes of moral injury, PTSD, and spiritual resilience that the panelists focused on. For instance, Dean Patterson spoke about the forgotten social and religious rituals involved in preparing troops for battle, such as confession and absolution, as well as the role that local communities play in providing a healthy post-combat environment. Marc LeVicche, of Providence, talked about two different Christian views of military service: the Niebuhrian and the Augustinian. LeVicche argued that the latter provided resources for moving beyond a “dirty hands” approach to understanding the role of law enforcement and the military as honorable vocations, despite the destructive nature of war. Chaplain (COL) Mallard spoke about spiritual resilience and the intersection of moral injury and PTSD.
RSG, along with support from Regent University’s Military Resource Center and other Regent graduate schools, co-hosted this event as Hampton Roads is home to the largest Navy base in the world and a major hub for all of the armed forces. The event aligns with Regent’s interest in the law of armed conflict (RSG, LAW), trauma (SPC), cinematography (SCA), and Regent’s identity as a military-friendly institution.
The Q&A following the screening was wide ranging, yet personal. It covered topics of PTSD, “shell shock,” the responsibility of the nation and leaders to care for ailing veterans, the role of community in caring for wounded warriors, and the intersection of faith and war.
The attendees included uniformed military personnel (e.g. chaplains, mental health professionals), veterans, active duty and reservist personnel, graduate students, and faculty. Each individual benefited in different ways, but one outcome was direction on the role of faith and community in bringing wounded veterans to healing and wholeness.
RSG Students Participate in Interactive Afghan War Game Simulation
The Afghan War Simulation with Dean Patterson and a retired faculty from National Defense University provided a rare insight into the complications and limitations of bringing order and security to Afghanistan after decades of war. The Robertson School of Government (RSG) student body was able to interact in a real world scenario without leaving the safety and security of the Regent University campus. RSG student Bruce Carson commented, “As a soldier who deployed to Afghanistan from 2009-2010, I can attest that the scenario provided, while a game, was more true to life than any other pre-deployment training I have engaged in. As a student I was able to see the second and third order effects of decision makers two years out in a matter of minutes.”
The simulation, developed by LEC Management with support from Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs in 2010, focuses on the religious and cultural factors in late- and post-conflict environments, such as how local hierarchies impact the military’s goals of stabilization and reconstruction. The simulation has been featured in a peer-reviewed journal article, at the PAXSIMS website, and at the annual Connections war-gaming conference, in addition to being used for military training at the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, National Defense University, U.S. Institute of Peace, U.S. State Department, and elsewhere. Dean Patterson observed, “This simulation is unusual in showing the intersection of religion, culture, and security such as how fatwas can restrict access to necessary vaccinations or how NATO personnel must slowly develop trust with local leaders who are legitimate and representative but did not gain their position through democratic means. This is a real set of challenges U.S. and allied forces face in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Dr. Patterson speaks at Fort Jackson’s Chaplain Center
Fort Jackson, South Carolina is home to many U.S. Army “schoolhouses,” from basic training of new recruits (“boot camp”) to Army drill instructor school to the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School. RSG Dean Eric Patterson, editor of Military Chaplains in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond, spoke to a group of Army chaplains for their annual two-week, colonel-level course on May 11. The group represented active duty and National Guard chaplains.
Patterson’s talk focused on religious trends in U.S. foreign and national security policy for the next decade. One of those trends, the “outbidding” of violent Islamists such as ISIS, is the process by which individuals or groups try to prove the depth of their commitment by outdoing (“outbidding”) other groups, such as by launching larger attacks or being willing to sacrifice more than others. The fact that ISIS has been willing to torture people in such grotesque ways, according to Patterson, not only severed their ties to al Qaeda and its affiliates, but were an attempt to demonstrate just how far they were willing to go to build a caliphate. The concern is what techniques the next group will utilize in order to prove how tough, how ruthless, and how committed they are.
Patterson remarked, “It is an honor to do anything that I can for military chaplains. I have had the privilege of visiting their chapels in multiple countries in the greater Middle East and see how they have served our deployed personnel. They are great champions of religious liberty and they are great servants.”
Military Friendly® Ranks Regent University a Top 10 Large Private School
Military Friendly® (a division of Victory Media) recently released its annual rankings of United States schools and employers. Regent University was named a Top 10 Large Private School, recognized for outstanding commitment and programs for veterans and their families.
This distinction comes shortly after Military Times included Regent on its 2017 “Best for Vets” in the Online & Nontraditional Schools category for the second year running in November 2016.
“We’ve always been the university that’s been military focused, but now it’s getting its due,” said assistant director of Regent’s Office of Military & Veteran’s Affairs, José Roman. “It’s being recognized amongst other schools as the place to go, the first-choice for our military population here in Hampton Roads.”
In 2016, Regent launched several new initiatives to continue the growing trend of “military friendliness” on campus, including the Military Resource Center (MRC).
The MRC gives military service people, veterans and their families an on-campus resource to learn about their benefits and support opportunities available from Regent faculty and staff members.
“We’re able to do what we do here and go above and beyond because of the great people that we have,” said Roman. “It’s all a part of our mission; and the values of being excellent, innovative, and developing leaders matches up with those military values. This is just another way that we serve our community and that’s why it’s important to us.”
Learn more about Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.
Pi Alpha Alpha MPA Honor Society Induction Ceremony
The Robertson School of Government (RSG) proudly recognized students at the first annual Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA) Honor Society Induction Ceremony. Thirteen students became members of PAA, six of whom were on hand for the ceremony along with family, friends, faculty, and staff to commemorate the occasion. In addition, our two Practitioners-in-Residence, Dr. Ed Daley and Professor Sam Gaston were recognized as honorary inductees for their extensive work in Public Administration. RSG thanks our faculty for their work and looks forward to many more students joining Pi Alpha Alpha for their scholastic achievements.
Executive Leadership Series Annual Town Hall with Local Mayors Dives into Innovation, Future and Cooperation Among Hampton Roads Area Leaders
Improved transportation, internet access for Hampton Roads citizens and cooperation among city leaders were top of mind at the annual Town Hall with South Hampton Roads Mayors. The event was presented by Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series (ELS) at the Founders Inn and Spa on Wednesday, April 12.
WTKR/WGNT television news anchor, Les Smith, moderated the panel and asked questions of each mayor submitted by ELS attendees prior to the event.
First up: innovation. Smith asked panelists what was new for each city, and what unique barriers stood in the way for their progress.
Sessoms spoke of a recent broadband initiative, which is bringing a broadband undersea fiber cable from Spain to a landing point in Virginia Beach that will significantly increase bandwidth capacity between Europe and the U.S. His biggest hindrance stems from environmental issues surrounding the initiative.
Krasnoff and Johnson both addressed providing under-served areas with internet access, and cited transportation issues as the area’s biggest hindrances.
Rowe, the area’s newest mayor who was sworn into office December 2016, named the city’s current zoning orders as its biggest hindrance to growth. He boasted, however, of a brand-new city council, and with it, a refreshed vision for his city and its residents.
“It’s a new day for the city of Portsmouth,” said Rowe. “And I have a team that’s working together really hard.”
As Portsmouth looks ahead with new leadership and a fresh perspective, Smith asked each panelist about their city’s future spanning over the next decade.
“The bottom line is that our city, our region, sell ourselves too short too often, because I believe this region can do just about anything it wanted,” said Sessoms.
In addition to broadband, Sessoms believes potential growth lies in “gainful employment opportunities” due to the area’s “huge assets.” He also pointed to bioscience as a primary focus area for Virginia Beach.
“The foundation has been set,” agreed Krasnoff. “If we’re deliberate and if we’re truly prudent in the way we make decisions…and use it correctly, we’re looking at wonderful opportunities for all of our citizens.”
Those opportunities come from working together in the name of the area’s 1.8 million residents. Smith asked about the inter-cooperation among the Hampton Roads leaders and what they were doing to foster the greatest good for the area.
“The region has a lot to be proud of,” said Sessoms. “And I do believe that the cooperation between our neighboring cities today is better than it’s ever been before.”
This comes by way of the area’s $5 billion of current and pending road projects; from expansions along the I-64 corridor, an expanded and redesigned interchange for I-64 and I-264, and an expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.
Rowe said the area’s “self-inflicted low self-esteem” plays into a perceived lack of cooperation.
“Sometimes cities do what they do in their own best interest, but we’ve come a long way in working together,” said Rowe, who expressed great improvements in the areas of homelessness, care for military veterans, job creation and public safety.
“We sell ourselves short,” agreed Johnson, who stated that for her, it’s all about “connectivity.”
“As a mayor, I look at all of the mayors in the region and I consider them my friends, my partners in what we do, because we’re all working to make Hampton Roads connect,” said Johnson. “Whether it’s about roads, transportation, broadband or public safety, it’s about working together for a better Hampton Roads.”
Regent University’s Dr. Eric Patterson on Russian Probe
- U.S. Army TRADOC Band Concert – May 25, 2017
- MPA Advisory Board Meeting – June 1–2, 2017