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Fridays at Newcomb: Mara Karlin

Uptown Campus
Anna Many Lounge

Title: “Why Isn't the US Better at Building Militaries?”

Bio: Mara Karlin, PhD, is Associate Professor of the Practice of Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she is also acting director of the school’s Strategic Studies Program and a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. Karlin has served in national security roles for five U.S. secretaries of defense, advising on policies spanning strategic planning, defense budgeting, future wars and the evolving security environment, and regional affairs involving the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, she served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development. In that role, her office crafted strategies for navigating the future of international security—including through the analysis of future wars—as a means to guiding the development of a prepared, capable, and effective U.S. military. She oversaw and implemented the overarching policy and strategy guidance that shapes the Pentagon's more than $650 billion budget. Karlin was a key architect of several mission-critical strategies, including the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the president’s 2015 National Security Strategy, the counter-ISIL strategy, two classified Secretary of Defense-signed strategies on long-term global challenges, and three Defense Planning Guidance. Karlin has been awarded Department of Defense Medals for Meritorious and Outstanding Public Service, among others. She is the author of Building Militaries in Fragile States: Challenges for the United States.




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