Welcome to Norwich University and the first International Symposium of Military Academies (ISOMA) Symposium in the United States. It is fitting that Norwich University host this inaugural event as Norwich founder Captain Alden Partridge is credited with advancing the initial concept of citizen soldiery educated in a collegiate setting. As the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Norwich University was founded in 1819 and Partridge taught the necessary officership and military tactics appropriate in the day for defending the fledgling Republic in times of crisis. Your presence at this academic symposium honors Captain Partridge and Norwich University’s legacy of preparing military leaders in service to our nation for over two centuries.
In a world defined by uncertainty and complexity, and a security capacity increasingly dependent upon the ability to integrate multiple capabilities, cultural competencies, and adaptability to change, the focus of the five-day symposium is to explore what the future holds for military leaders and how the world’s senior military academies’ academic and leadership programs and experiential learning opportunities can support the critical thinking and disciplined actions required of our officers. We need to clarify and comprehend the changing nature of conflict and the new global threats that involve hybrids of state and non-state adversaries, cyberspace, unmanned and autonomous weapons systems, and climate change. Insights and actionable intelligence, trained to the highest standards and connected by a shared ethos is how we must inform and develop all of our young officers so they possess the academic fortitude, strength of character, and principled leadership required to thwart our enemies.
This symposium is an ideal place to discuss these issues with Norwich University Corps of cadets and civilian students, and to network with one another. Let us think boldly about the future, which is far more complex than ever imagined by Captain Partridge, with confidence that our future leaders have been well-prepared to think critically and creatively and to act honorably and morally as they face the challenges of the unknown.
Col. Mark Anarumo, USAF (Ret.)
President, Norwich University