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How a two-day simulation is preparing the next generation of national security professionals

Sitting around a large Mahogany block “O” shaped table, a handful of people type furiously away at their computers. Some are conversing in small groups, others flip quickly between a series of windows on their laptops before uploading a breaking news announcement that appears behind them on a large screen.

At the front of this ad hoc control room, Dakota Rudesill, professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, stands at a small podium with his laptop in front of him. After a quick glance down at his notes, he turns his gaze to the rest of the room and casually asks the group, “Who wants to play the president of Russia?”

While the question may seem slightly odd, it fits neatly within the role playing capacity of The Ohio State University National Security Simulation, a two-day intensive exercise that gives students and faculty from Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, and School of Communication, along with other graduate, military, and international studies students, the opportunity to experience what working in the national security field is like in the real world.

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Peter Mansoor

The U.S. military has had a checkered record of success in wars waged since 1945. Part of the explanation behind the failures (Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan) lies in the failure of military organizations to adapt to the type of wars in which they found themselves engaged.

Cultural predilection towards major combat operations has shaped the mindset of the officer corps and stifled creativity, resulting in failed approaches to conflicts that refused to conform to established norms. The armed forces of other nations have experienced similar issues, sometimes resulting in catastrophic or near-catastrophic defeats (e.g., Soviet Union in Afghanistan from 1979-1988).

Organized by Peter R. Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History, the Culture of Military Organizations conference will explore the impact of the culture on the development of effective military organizations and therefore its impact on security from 1861 to the present. It will take place Friday, September 29, through Saturday, September 30, at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 1501 Neil Ave.

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NisbetE hires

Study suggests Putin has developed a ‘psychological firewall’

The Russian government has persuaded many of its citizens to avoid websites and social media platforms that are critical of the government, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzing a survey of Russian citizens found that those who relied more on Russian national television news perceived the internet as a greater threat to their country than did others. This in turn led to increased support for online political censorship.

Approval of the government of President Vladimir Putin amplified the impact of those threat perceptions on support for censorship, according to the study.

The success of the Russian regime in persuading citizens to self-censor their internet use has troubling implications, said Erik Nisbet, co-author of the study an associate professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“This is actually more insidious. The government doesn’t have to rely as much on legal or technical firewalls against content they don’t like. They have created a psychological firewall in which people censor themselves,” Nisbet said.

“People report they don’t go to certain websites because the government says it is bad for me.”

Nisbet conducted the study with Olga Kamenchuk, a visiting assistant professor, and doctoral student Aysenur Dal, both from Ohio State. Their results appear in the September 2017 issue of the journal Social Science Quarterly.

Olga Kamenchuk

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hahn

MansoorP hires

The 2018 WWII Tour will run June 23 to July 1, traveling to London, Normandy and Amsterdam, following in the footsteps of the men and women who fought for democracy and were called “The Greatest Generation.” The tour will be led by Ohio State’s experts in diplomatic and military history — Mershon affiliates Peter Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Chair in Military History, and Peter Hahn, chair of the Department of History, along with David Steigerwald. For full details, itinerary and registration information, visit the Alumni Tours page.