November 1, 2007

HARRISONBURG—Dr. Michael Vlahos, a member of the senior staff at the National Security Analysis Department of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, will speak at James Madison University on “Fighting Identity” on Wednesday, November 14, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. in ISAT 159. The presentation, part of the 2007-2008 Guardian Lecture Series sponsored by the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs, is free and open to the public.

A graduate of Yale College, Dr. Vlahos joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies ( SAIS) after receiving his doctorate from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1981. As director of the Security Studies Program at SAIS from 1981 to 1988, Dr. Vlahos developed and taught eight new courses designed to break away from narrow approaches to defense policy, including “War and Culture” and “National Ethos and Strategic Planning,” both of which aimed to introduce anthropology and sociology to defense thinking.

From 1988 to 1991, he served as director of the Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs at the United States Department of State. The position was a non-political appointment with the rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary and the mandate to lead a group to think broadly about world change for the whole Department.

Dr. Vlahos is the author of hundreds of books and essays, including Terror’s Mask: Insurgency Within Islam (2001), which has been used as a textbook at the U.S. Naval War College’s Strategy Department, the University of Chicago, and elsewhere; Culture’s Mask: War and Change After Iraq (2004), which explores the impact of the war in Iraq on both military and world change; and Two Enemies: Non-State Actors and Change in the Muslim World (2005), which pursues the evolution of new Islamist societies and their significance for U.S. strategy. Dr. Vlahos has received numerous citations for his work, including prizes from the Naval War College Review, Marine Corps Gazette, and Naval Institute Proceedings. He has also appeared in numerous media and served as a foreign affairs and national security commentator on contract with CNN, appearing three to five times weekly, including regular stints on programs like Crossfire and Larry King Live. Currently, he is working on a new book, Fighting Identity, to be published in 2008, on non-state actors and today’s transformation of war.

Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute, said: “At a time when the rapidly changing character and, unfortunately, increasing levels of armed conflict around the globe defy conventional thinking, we are very fortunate to have a wide-ranging strategic thinker like Dr. Vlahos share his reflections with us, previewing his forthcoming book. I expect that, true to his form, it will be a very thought-provoking presentation.”