The Adams Center organizes conferences, symposia, and invited lectures to heighten awareness of the enduring importance of Cold War military history and strategic analysis. Events are designed to promote interaction among VMI cadets, Cold War scholars, and national security professional.

All events are open to the public (*unless otherwise noted)


Discussion with RADM Takaaki HayamizuJapan’s New National Security Strategy

October 19, 2023 - - Hall of Valor, Marshall Hall 

The alliance with Japan has been a cornerstone of U.S. security policy in East Asia for decades. Recently, Japan released a new national security strategy, national defense strategy, and defense buildup program. The John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History and Strategic Analysis cordially invites VMI cadets, faculty, and staff to a discussion of these recent developments with Rear Admiral Takaaki Hayamizu, the Defense and Naval Attaché at the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C.  [VMI-only audience]

Past Events

The Adams Center team celebrated the publication of Reagan and the World: Leadership and National Security, 1981–1989 (University Press of Kentucky, 2017) at the U.S. Department of State on Wednesday, June 21. Co-edited by Adams Center director Bradley Lynn Coleman and Arizona State University professor Kyle Longley, the book is a collection of essays by scholars and foreign policy professionals on U.S. foreign relations and national security affairs during the Reagan presidency. 

The event in Washington, D.C., featured book contributors and State Department, historians. Panelists devoted special attention to Reagan’s engagement with the Soviet Union, a partnership with Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and approach to Central America. They also talked about how the Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary history of American foreign relations, will fuel future research on the topic.

Reagan and the World is available at the VMI Bookstore and online.  Royalties support cadet development at the Virginia Military Institute. The Adams Center will organize additional Reagan-related activities on Post during the fall of 2017.

The John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History & Strategic Analysis and Phi Alpha Theta National History Honors Society cosponsored an outing for VMI cadets to Washington, D.C., October 11-13, 2017. In the national capital region, cadets met historians from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Naval History and Heritage Command, and Department of State. The VMI cadets learned how historians contribute to the design and implementation of foreign and national security policy. They also explored career opportunities for historians in the federal government.

Michael S. Neiberg, Ph.D., U.S. Army War College

Time: 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Location: Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall

After Germany's defeat in World War II, Europe lay in tatters. Millions of refugees were dispersed across the continent. Food and fuel were scarce. Britain was bankrupt, while Germany had been reduced to rubble. In July of 1945, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin gathered in a quiet suburb of Berlin to negotiate a lasting peace that might finally put an end to the conflagration that had started in 1914. The delegates arrived at Potsdam determined to learn from the mistakes their predecessors had made in the Treaty of Versailles. The final resolutions of the Potsdam Conference, notably the division of Germany and the Soviet annexation of Poland, reflected the uneasy geopolitical equilibrium between East and West that would come to dominate the rest of the twentieth century.

Michael S. Neiberg is the Henry L. Stimson Chair and Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. He has also taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Southern Mississippi. With backgrounds in social history, military history, French history, and American history, Neiberg has published widely on the theme of war in the world, especially in the era of the two world wars. His most recent books are Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (2011), The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944 (2012), and Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe (2015).

The event is sponsored by John Biggs ’30 Cincinnati Chair in Military History and John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History & Strategic Analysis

Spring Speaker Series: Dr. Gordon Ball 

March 26, 2015
Location: George C. Marshall Research Library

Lecture was available to audiences around the world via livestream. Watch recorded lecture here

A revolutionary literary movement, the Beat Generation transformed American life and letters during the early cold war period. Complex historical, cultural, and religious developments shaped Beat Generation writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Bob Dylan. Those authors, in turn, challenged the predominant American cold war culture. Professor Gordon Ball will explore the organizing themes, notions of style, and lasting impact of the Beat Generation, as he considers its response to the nuclear arms race, the Red Scare, and other cultural and political realities of the era.

Colonel Gordon Ball is a professor of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies at the Virginia Military Institute. A graduate of Davidson College (A.B.) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.A., Ph.D.), Ball is an internationally recognized authority on the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and the literature of the Beat Generation, an award-winning filmmaker, and a widely exhibited and published photographer. He is the author of East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg (Counterpoint, 2011); Dark Music (Cityful Press, 2006), and ’66 Frames: A Memoir (Coffee House Press, 1999). He has also edited three books with poet Allen Ginsberg, including Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness (McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The event is sponsored by the John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History & Strategic Analysis and John Biggs ’30 Cincinnati Chair in Military History

November 3-4, 2014

“The Enduring Legacy: Leadership and National Security Affairs during the Ronald Reagan Era” Conference will bring together scholars and national security professionals to discuss strategy, policy, and leadership during the Reagan administration. It will feature a keynote address by former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis, USN (ret.), and a dinner presentation by former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack F. Matlock, Jr. In addition, five panels of historians and former Reagan administration officials will be present to examine aspects of the Reagan presidency and make connections between the Cold War and contemporary national security affairs.
For more on the event, see the conference website.

Nathaniel Weber, PhD Candidate, Texas A&M University

July 16, 2014

Nathaniel Weber is a doctoral candidate in history at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. He won the 2014 Adams-Collins dissertation grant, annually awarded by the John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History & Strategic Analysis at the Virginia Military Institute to encourage innovative scholarship on Cold War topics. His talk examines the strategic role of the U.S. Military's advisory groups as they worked with partner nation military forces around the world. In doing so, Nathaniel Weber will also discuss important related archival materials available at the George C. Marshall Research Library.

Sean McKnight, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

April 24, 2014

Sean McKnight is the Director of Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst with responsibility for the Academic Faculty, the Sandhurst Collection, and the Library. Sean McKnight’s talk provided an introduction to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where all officers in the British Army are trained to take on the responsibilities of leading the soldiers under their command.

Spring Lecture Series: Dr. David Crist, The Joint Staff 

March 26, 2014

Dr. David Crist currently serves as senior historian for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dr. Crist is also a Middle East Scholar and recognized expert on Iran and defense issues. The relationship between the United States and Iran has been full of tension for the past thirty-five years, although it has not always been this way; Iran was once the most important U.S. ally in the Middle East. Dr. David Crist explored the past, present, and future of this complex international situation in his lecture.

Dr. Rod Andrew, Clemson University

January 20, 2014

Dr. Rod Andrew Jr. is a Professor of History at Clemson University and a former active duty officer and colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Many outsiders view southern military schools like VMI as anachronisms, or conservative throwbacks to the past; Professor Andrew reflected on how Victorian understandings of the virtues of duty, honor, and respect for lawful authority influenced the development of VMI and what that legacy might mean for VMI today.

Spring Lecture Series: Col. David Glantz 

March 7, 2013

Col. David Glantz ’63 is the former Chief of Research at the U.S. Army’s Combat Studies Institute and the country’s foremost expert on Soviet military history. Col. Glantz used his knowledge and expertise to distinguish between fact and fiction in the German-Soviet War.

February 14, 2013

The Adams Center cohosted a symposium on U.S.-Latin American security relations with the Wheatley Institution (Brigham Young University, BYU) in February 2013. The symposium was held on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah and featured a keynote address on hemispheric security by Dr. Frank Mora, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Five VMI cadets participated in the symposium.



VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders