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Defense and Strategic Studies
Missouri State University
9302 Lee Hwy Suite 760
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Phone: 703 -218-3565
Fax: 703- 218-3568
Current and Former Faculty (as of 2011)
Mark T. Esper
Colin S. Gray
William Van Cleave
The Department of Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) at Missouri State University is a stronghold of rightist foreign policy scholars. Its faculty has included a number of high-profile security experts and Republican Party elites. William Van Cleave, a former Pentagon official and long-standing hawkish policy advocate, founded the program in 1971 as part of the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations. The program moved to Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University) in 1987. While MSU’s main campus is located in Springfield, Missouri, DSS has been based in Fairfax, Virginia, since 2005.
Although devoted to academic training, the department's website makes it clear that the core goal is to influence policymaking, stating: “The objective of the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) is to provide professional, graduate-level education in national security policy; issues related to defense analysis; defense planning, programs, and industry; intelligence analysis; and associated areas. The Department welcomes both traditional and mid-career professionals. It offers a Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies, but accepts non-degree-seeking students. Educational emphasis is placed on the practical analysis of U.S. policies, programs, and options as well as on theoretical comprehension. In theoretical comprehension the focus is on a critical examination of defense and arms control concepts and policies. Some graduates go into college teaching and academic work, but the majority pursue professional careers in government and the defense industry.”
The DSS website claims that graduates “have joined corporations in the defense industry, companies engaged in defense research and analysis, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations with a focus on defense issues and national security policy. … Our graduates are among the finest and best qualified professionals in their fields; many occupy senior positions in government, industry, the research sector, and academia. We believe they have and will continue to have a direct and major positive impact on U.S. national security policies and defense programs for years to come.”
DSS faculty members as of March 2011 included: Keith Payne, former chair of the George W. Bush administration's Deterrence Concepts Advisory Panel and founder of the National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP), a hawkish strategic affairs think tank; Robert Joseph, senior scholar at NIPP and former undersecretary of state for arms control; J.D. Crouch, a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration; and Ilan Berman, president of the hawkish American Foreign Policy Council and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
Former DDS faculty include: William Van Cleave, founder of the DSS and a leading Cold Warrior whose record includes membership on the Team B Strategic Objectives Panel; Henry Cooper, former head of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative and founder of the pro-missile defense group High Frontier; William Graham, a former Reagan administration adviser whose record includes membership on Donald Rumsfeld's Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States and executive positions at various defense contractors; and Charles Kupperman, a NIPP and Center for Security Policy board member and former Boeing executive. Guest speakers at DSS have included Stephen Cambone and Michelle Van Cleave.