State Department diplomats enrich AWC experience



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


11/10/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al -- New perspectives enhanced the education of Air War College students as 15 State Department diplomats participated in seminars during the National Security Decision Making course last week.

"Having the State Department representatives join us in lecture and seminar discussion was beneficial to us all, and I believe that our guests would say the same thing," said Col. David Lowthian, an international officer from Canada. "Not only were we free to candidly discuss our roles and responsibilities, we were able to see ourselves through the civilian lens and better understand how we can interrelate in the future."

The guests attended the seminars for three days and participated in discussions with students. They also learned about Montgomery's history through a tour of civil rights and Civil War sites.

At the Air War College, students and guests discussed diplomatic instruments of power and information as an instrument of power, "two of the most relevant classes to military and civilian operations," said Robert Blau, AWC's senior State Department adviser.

Since many of the visitors served with military units in Iraq and Afghanistan, "they've had a lot of in-the-field interaction with their military counterparts," Blau said, and were able to share their experiences with the students.

Their visit was an opportunity for State Department diplomats and students to learn from each other about public diplomacy and global issues.

"Our guests provided keen insight to the diplomatic challenges the U.S. faces as the world becomes more multipolar and multilateral," said student Col. Frank Allara.
Lowthian said the guests were eager to share their views and enhanced the students' appreciation for national instruments of power outside the military field.
"Discussions with the State Department guests confirmed what we have learned regarding the personnel and budget limitations within the State Department," he said. "I look forward to bringing this knowledge and experience back to Canada with me."