Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
Happy Veterans Week! The theme of this month’s newsletter is our military and veterans personnel as well as RSG’s teaching and scholarship in the area of national security and foreign policy. Regent University is proud to be among the most military friendly universities in the country! We welcome this semester Rear Admiral Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) as “Professional in Residence” at the Robertson School of Government (RSG): you’ll meet him in this newsletter. Admiral Baucom spoke off-the-record to students on professional ethics this month as a part of our “Defense Against the Dark Arts” series, focusing his remarks on accountability and moral decision-making during times of crisis.
Our faculty have also been busy, speaking on just war theory at Georgetown University, on religion and security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and on national security issues at the annual meeting of the International Security Section of the International Studies Association in Washington, DC. Our students were able to take a short course on national security and civil liberties with former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who also welcomed them to his home for a time of food and fellowship.
Finally, our students and alumni serve as military personnel around the world. In addition to Admiral Baucom, you’ll meet an Air Force JAG, the runner-up for Ms. Veteran America, and a new student who is transitioning out of the U.S. Navy. We are also proud to feature our campus’ Military Resource Center and Student Veterans Association as well as a military band concert.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Alumni Story: JAG Officer Practices Law in Service to His Country
Jeremy Gehman (MA ’06) has been a JAG Officer in the United States Air Force for the past ten years, a career that has taken him and his family all over the world and has given him the opportunity to practice law in the service of his country.
Jeremy grew up as the child of missionaries and spent most of his young life in Thailand until his family eventually settled in Florida. It wasn’t until he was a teenager looking for a summer job which didn’t involve scrubbing dishes at a restaurant that he discovered his interest in law and government.
At the age of sixteen, Jeremy accepted a job with a local Florida attorney named Tommy Ratchford. He remembered, “My first week on the job, Mr. Ratchford pulled me into his office and told me ‘Jeremy, in two weeks you will know if being attorney is the last thing you want to do with your life, or if it is what you want to do for the rest of your life.’ I guess he was right, as I worked for his firm until I graduated from college and moved to Virginia to attend Regent!”
“I applied and attended the Robertson School of Government, and later, Regent School of Law. My education at Regent opened my eyes to the complexity and innumerable considerations involved in political and legal decision-making, and to the fact that these decisions are all driven by a belief system. I am continually amazed at the impact we can have on decisions/matters much larger than ourselves. With this in mind, it is important that we be bold in our influence toward the truth and Godly governance. Whether advising clients, my boss, or military commanders, it is not only important to explain the legal parameters but also what the right decision is.”
After finishing law school, Jeremy applied for the Air Force JAG Corps where he has now served for over ten years. By his third year in the service, he was assigned as the sole Defense Counsel for an entire Air Force Base in North Carolina. Following this, he served as one of two Senior Prosecutors in the European Region, prosecuting felony level crimes throughout the European theatre.
Now, Jeremy is serving in the government appellate division in DC, where he briefs and argues the Air Force’s legal positions before the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Most recently, he served as an International Agreements Attorney where he advised US and NATO commanders in interpreting US and NATO agreements that govern the presence of their forces in foreign countries.
When asked what makes him passionate about his work, Jeremy said, “I love serving my county. During my internship for the Army JAG in Colorado, I recognized that I could combine my desire to serve with my love for government/law. I realized that the missions minded household that I had grown up with exemplified a very similar motto as the military’s: ‘Service before self.’ I see the military as similar to a mission field. It’s about service, dedication and giving one’s life wholeheartedly to a cause or country you believe in.”
When talking about life outside of his career in the Air Force, Jeremy said, “I am married to a beautiful woman and we have three wonderful kids, who are currently in elementary middle school. With a young family, we are—and have been—focused on family friendly activities and teaching our kids to be adventurous.” In every place they go, Jeremy and his family love to travel and be outdoors. Camping, biking, skiing, hunting, and visiting national landmarks are all part of the adventure.
As a word of advice to other Regent Government and Law alumni, Jeremy said, “”It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out” (Prov. 25:2). When facing an undertaking, be intentional to ask questions, to seek advice, and to socialize your plan/idea. In the end, do not be afraid of the advice or conclusions you reach and put forward. “For, God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the mighty” (1 Cor. 1:27).
Student Story: Successfully Transitioning from Military Life to Graduate Student
Kokarea Barnes (MPA ’19) recently left the Navy after serving as an Operations Specialist for eleven years. During that time, she worked on data and radar systems. As her time in the military was coming to an end, she knew she needed to further her education. She began researching various schools in the area and came across Regent University. Kokarea fell in love with the school’s values and decided to pursue a Master of Public Administration with the Robertson School of Government (RSG).
Barnes is driven by a passion for service. Through her RSG education, which includes a concentration in Healthcare Policy and Ethics, she will be better equipped to fulfill her long-term goal of improving medical care coverage for those who are addicted to drugs. She believes “the drug epidemic is huge in our country and to fix the root of the problem we must provide the proper medical care.”
One of the biggest challenges Barnes has faced has been the transition from the military to being a full-time graduate student. It was difficult for her to transition from an environment that was extremely regimented and completely scheduled. She states, “it may sound great to be free from that type of micromanagement, but once conditioned, it is hard to break free and do things on your own.”
Barnes has been amazed at the love and support that she has received from the faculty of RSG. She says, “The professors have encouraged and directed me on how to plan, organize, and lead people in the right direction. The professors clearly care about the success of their students and strive to push them to become better individuals.” Kokarea has felt an overwhelming sense of peace while being a student, which has made it evident that joining the Regent family was the right decision.
Religion and Foreign Policy: Exploring the Legacy of “Mixed Blessings”
Ten years ago the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) published the groundbreaking report, “Mixed Blessings: U.S. Government Engagement with Religion in Conflict-Prone Settings.” This report analyzed how religion affects international affairs, including through the faith and religious beliefs of politicians and elites; the belief structures that underlie national and international views; and the impact of religious organizations. The report also took a critical view of the lack of infrastructure, resources, and capacity in the U.S. government for dealing with religion and culture in its foreign policy. Looking back on the past ten years, RSG Dean Eric Patterson joined other experts at a panel discussion in evaluating the legacy of “Mixed Blessings.”
Dean Patterson referenced his book, Politics in a Religious World: Toward a Religiously Literate U.S. Foreign Policy. He suggested that a positive change in the past decade is that some government agencies have recognized the positive contributions of religious actors, especially in fighting poverty, disease, and corruption. There is less reluctance to work with such organizations abroad when it comes to development and humanitarian assistance. Patterson also spoke about the continued limitations on U.S. government expertise in this arena, calling for changes in how we train military officers and diplomats as well as investment in new career paths for religion/culture experts.
Shaun Casey, former director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs and now director of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs provided substantive comments on his time at the State Department. Casey talked about some of the positive activities his office dealt with in the final two years of the Obama Administration, such as convening religious experts and faith leaders for private meetings, briefings of key officials, and conferences. Liora Danan, lead author of Mixed Blessings and former chief of staff for the Office of Religion and Global Affairs, reflected back on the report’s goals and the evidence upon which the report was originally based: over two hundred interviews with foreign policy practitioners from in and out of government. Rebecca Linder Blachly, former civilian expert at U.S. Africa Command, talked about how AFRICOM thoughtfully approached issues of religion and culture in the diverse Africa region, citing specific instances of how religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic status blended as key factors in political challenges and opportunities. The panel was chaired by Shannon N. Green, director and senior fellow of CSIS’ Human Rights Initiative.
Welcome RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.)
RSG welcomes RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) as Professional-in-Residence. Admiral Baucom teaches in the areas of national security, homeland security, and emergency management. Baucom was born in Columbia, South Carolina, graduated from the US Naval Academy, and holds Masters Degrees from the University of Southern California in Systems Management and from the Naval War College in National Security and Strategic Studies. His 31 year career in Naval Aviation included achieving over 4000 hours and 900 carrier landings in Navy fighter aircraft including the F-4 Phantom II and the F-14 Tomcat. He commanded Fighter Squadron 143, the amphibious assault ship USS TRENTON (LPD 14), and the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70). In CARL VINSON, deployment to the Arabian Gulf included combat operations in support of Operation Desert Strike and he was awarded the 1996 US Navy League John Paul Jones Award for inspirational leadership. He was voted San Franciscan of the Year in 1996 for his community outreach and service. As a flag officer he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy at NATO’s Supreme Allied Command Atlantic and as Director of the Navy’s Current Readiness and Environmental Protection, Energy and Safety Programs.
Following retirement from active duty he became a consultant for the Navy, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security in the development and employment of a nationwide geospatial information sharing capability. He subsequently served as a senior advisor for the Navy’s aircraft carrier readiness program and teaches Crisis/ Disaster Consequence Management and National Security Affairs as a Professional-in-Residence at Regent University. He is Past President and current Board Member of the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads.
Regent University’s Military Resource Center celebrates Veteran’s Week
Regent University is committed to serving the military with the same integrity they have demonstrated as faithful defenders of our nation. Regent stands ready to equip members of the military and their dependents with the skills they need to accomplish their goals. Through the Military Resource Center, students participated in various events to celebrate Veterans Week. The events were free and open to regional military and students. Events included a “Flapjacks with Joe” breakfast, “Grill Sergeants” lunch, and a Veteran’s Day Prayer Breakfast. The Military Resource Center also hosted the Student Veterans of Virginia 5th Annual Conference and screening of the movie “Almost Sunrise,” Marine Corps Birthday Celebration, and Tidewater Veteran’s Day Parade and Ceremony. Regent University is proud of the relationship they have with the military and look forward to providing more opportunities to thank them for their service.
Regent Alumna Champions Veterans with the Power of Story, Wins 1st Runner Up in Ms. Veteran America Competition
Regent University is known as a military friendly school, and few people embody that better than College of Arts and Sciences graduate and Regent employee, Rebekah Lloyd ’16.
She’s not only dedicated to serving her country, but to veterans who served as well. Having served in the Army from 2006–2013, she has a firm grasp on the unique struggles other veterans, particularly women, undergo.
She’s lobbied for reform, been a part of fellowships and as of earlier this year, started her own non-profit for female veterans.
On Sunday, October 8, she was acknowledged and honored for this dedication at the Ms. Veteran America competition, finishing as first runner up. The competition is a chance for women like Lloyd to serve as the “ambassador” for female veterans.
Ms. Veteran America is an organization that not only celebrates female veterans as, “mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives,” but steps in to help those most in need.
They’ve raised $330,000, supported more than 3,600 homeless veteran women and their children, and funded more than 12,000 days of transitional housing.
According to Lloyd, this is the practical love of Christ on display, a living embodiment of “love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Something that we’re taught in the military is ‘never leave a fallen comrade,’” she said. “Even when you’re out [of the military], you still have to fulfill that value.”
“There are so many women veterans that not only are homeless, but their children are homeless. Seventy percent of them are single mothers,” said Lloyd. “I think through the act of service — selfless sacrifice like this — we’re showing the love of Jesus.”
“Jesus will be found in the middle of this, I believe,” she added.
But bringing awareness to the cause can be quite difficult. One of the main problems, Lloyd said, is that most people don’t recognize women who have served simply because there’s little-to-no stereotypical image associated with female veterans.
“Often times, once we take off the uniform, we’re no longer thanked for our service,” she said. “That’s something that I’ve experienced personally, and it’s painful to have that experience.”
“The [Ms. Veteran America] competition is showing our society, it’s showing our culture, that you can’t always tell that a woman has served, but that doesn’t mean that her service is any less valuable,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd said she’s driven to help on the communal and legislative level, using both stories and political activism to help those who, like herself, have gone above and beyond in their service to America.
In April 2017, she founded HER Story Inc., an organization raising awareness and aiding “women veterans by empowering them to openly share their stories so that their sacrifices are remembered.”
She started the group after spending time in Washington D.C. working with federal officials and advocating for veterans aid via legislation. While there, she saw there was a need for “local, community, grassroots advocacy,” something she already had on her heart.
Lloyd realized aid and healing could be provided through the “therapeutic power in narrative exploration” when she started sharing her own story while serving on the Military Family Research Institute’s Focus Forward Fellowship.
“That’s where [it was] confirmed that [HER Story] needed to be story-based narrative exploration,” she said.
Lloyd, who currently works in Regent’s Military Resource Center as a veteran certifying official, serves as the group’s president and CEO. She’s attending Regent’s Robertson School of Government and studying for a Master of Arts in Law and a Master of Public Administration.
She hopes that HER Story can open a shelter for homeless veteran women someday and have an impact that affects future veterans on a wider scope as well.
“I really just want to see HER Story grow in so many ways,” she said. “Reaching women veterans on the personal level, and then to have an impact federally as well in terms of legislation.”
General John Ashcroft Hosts Dinner with RSG Students
John Ashcroft, Distinguished Professor of Law and Government, hosted students from RSG at his residence for an evening of dinner and conversation. Ashcroft, former U.S. Attorney General as well as past U.S. senator and governor of Missouri, has served for over a decade as a distinguished professor at Regent University and the hospitality of his family is legendary at Regent.
General Ashcroft teaches a graduate seminar each fall entitled, Case Studies in the Development and Implementation of National Legal Policy as well as another in the spring entitled, Human Rights, Civil Liberties & National Security, both of which are open to law and government students. Ashcroft’s tenure as Attorney General came at the time of one of America’s greatest crises: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and its aftermath. One student remarked, “I was amazed to have access to such an important American patriot during my first semester on campus. The class was eye-opening to me about the various legal and political principles that seem to come into conflict when dealing with the rights of citizens and non-citizens (i.e. unlawful enemy combatants) in wartime.”
In a more personal setting, at the dinner General and Mrs. Ashcroft host each semester, General Ashcroft, Dean Patterson, and the faculty mingle with students and their spouses. The evening is a chance for students to relax a bit but also connect to Regent history and tradition. General Ashcroft wrote the lyrics to the official Regent University song: “Regent, Host of Faith and Learning”. As a part of these evenings, students and faculty invariably sing the school song. The lyrics remind Regent students that they are called to a lifetime of service as Christian leaders.
One of the evening’s memorable features is the opportunity for students to ask General Ashcroft questions, both about his career and about contemporary trends in U.S. politics. One first-year MA student, observing the give and take between General Ashcroft and her fellow classmates, noted, “I really did not expect General Ashcroft to be so welcoming of our questions and views. He responded in witty yet wise ways; I learned a lot.”
Study Abroad in Europe: Third Informational Meeting
RSG students are headed back to Europe in 2018. Earlier this month, Dr. Agyapong and Dr. Manjikian organized the third Informational Meeting for RSG’s study abroad tour to Europe. Students were introduced to the study abroad program, which is part of a one-credit special topics course on “Government and Politics in Europe” to be offered in summer 2018. The course can be applied toward the MA, MPA, and JD degrees, and includes a two-week study abroad tour in late May 2018 to Europe (London, The Hague, Brussels, and Paris). The tour component is open to all students, faculty, and staff of Regent University. For more information about the program, visit the tour organizer’s website (click here). All other inquiries about the program may be directed to Dr. Agyapong at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Manjikian at email@example.com.