Call for Proposals: Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment (SMA) Conference


Graduate students are invited to submit proposals for posters to be presented during the 9th Annual Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment (SMA) Conference, to be held October 28-29, 2015 at Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs, Maryland (approximately 10 miles from Washington, DC).

The annual SMA conference is organized by the Strategic Multilayer Assessment Office within the Department of Defense and brings together policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and academics to explore critical topics related to national security. The theme of the 2015 conference is “No War/No Peace…A New Paradigm in International Relations and a New Normal?” This year, the SMA conference is adding a graduate student poster session to the conference agenda in order to introduce up-and-coming scholars to the SMA community and vice-versa.

To Submit: Graduate students interested in participating in the graduate student poster session are encouraged to forward attached form to Meg Egan, Strategic Project Manager, SMA, by email to by June 30, 2015.

Poster submission form: Graduate-Student-Poster-Submission-Form.pdf

SMA Conference Panels: 2015-SMA-Conference-Panels-02-Jun.pdf

Current SMA activities: SMA-5X8May2015Final.pdf

Last year’s Conference Proceedings: U_8th-Annual-SMA-Conference-2014-FinalR.pdf

About the Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment (SMA) Program: 

The Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment (SMA) provides planning support to Commands with complex operational imperatives requiring multi-agency, multi-disciplinary solutions that are NOT within core Service/Agency competency. Solutions and participants are sought across USG and beyond. SMA efforts are prioritized by the Joint Staff and executed by OSD.

About the Conference: Since the end of the cold war and with the advent of the new century, new geopolitical realities have emerged that have made classical wars with national military forces pitted against each other far less likely. What we witness are new categories of conflicts that cannot be considered full scale wars in the classical sense but cannot be described as “peace” either. Small scale conflicts are complemented with intense engagement in the information and other spheres. These will almost certainly have great implications in the legal domains as well new forms of alliances. Multiple factors have come into play for these trends to emerge.

Such blurring of war and peace we are witnessing is directly related to the softening of previously-considered-“solid” categorical binary distinctions (state/non-state, criminal/noncriminal, licit/illicit, etc.). Much of our diplomatic, legal, and military affairs have been predicated on being to draw clear distinctions between these categories, and many actors are realizing that blurring them provides “strategic ambiguity.” Many of the issues associated with the blurring of these categories come to most obvious crystallization in the cyber realm. Many of our adversaries are much better than we are at dealing with and indeed exploiting these fluid situations.

The intent of the conference is to examine the root causes of these new types of conflicts and their implications and provide a contextual understanding. Emphasis is predominantly on the diagnosing of the underlying causes, about orientation and getting to a meaningful articulation of the problem. In so-doing, the conference will emphasize and highlight the need for a “Whole-of-Government” approach to facing and coming to grips with these challenges.

Logistics: No financial support is available to subsidize conference attendance. Successful applicants will be asked to supply a short bio. Prior to the conference, presenters will be required to provide information to conference organizers to facilitate their entry to Joint Base Andrews.

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