In an announcement that promises accelerated change amid strategic continuity, IWP founder and president John Lenczowski appointed Professor J. Michael Waller to serve as Vice President and Provost of the school. The interim position will give the IWP board time of find a professional to manage the school.
“I am delighted that Dr. Waller will be helping us on a variety of academic and administrative responsibilities and new initiatives,” comments Dr. Lenczowski. “Mike has been one of the most valuable parts of this community for many years, and this is a great development for IWP’s future.”
Dr. Lenczowski made the announcement at a “town hall meeting” with students, alumni, faculty and staff on February 22. The meeting was designed to encourage open communications between the student body, alumni, staff and leadership of the Institute.
Dr. Waller has been at IWP since 2000 as the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of International Communication. He had flown back to Washington hours before the meeting, after having spent the previous two weeks at a military base, running a specialized training program he designed for U.S. special operations forces.
“IWP has made an enormous contribution to the national security of the United States and of many of our allies, but the dangers to our country continue to grow and mutate. This means that we have to do our job better than ever to educate diplomats, intelligence and counterintelligence officers, military officers and others safeguarding the nation,” Dr. Waller said.
He expressed the intent that his operational experience would serve to help advance Dr. Lenczowski’s strategic vision that drives the school and makes it so unique.
“In serving in my new position, it will be my duty to continue the many gains we’ve made at IWP; to help identify and fix what we need to improve; and to help continue the process of expanding our academic offerings, broadening our reach into the national security community, and increasing our revenue to provide for more faculty, improve facilities and services, and offer greater financial aid to our students,” he added.
More systemic participation of students and alumni, Dr. Waller stated, is key to IWP’s growth. “Current and former students are vital to helping us determine our priorities, expand our outreach, and provide insights that we on the faculty and in management can’t otherwise get. We’re going to be depending a lot on them, and our established open-door policy will be more important than ever.”
As an indicator of the types of new programming in store for IWP, Dr. Waller pointed to the PASS:PORT professional training initiative for defense and national security strategists. PASS:PORT launched in September 2012 as a series of eight evening lectures and three weekend workshops for mid-career professionals to think more strategically as they do their jobs.
“Professional military and intelligence officers, like academics, can lose sight of strategy by getting bogged down in day-to-day realities and pressures, so we designed PASS:PORT to help government professionals think more strategically,” Dr. Waller explained.
PASS:PORT has attracted some of the nation’s top intelligence, counterintelligence and military professionals and private sector strategists as guest lecturers alongside IWP faculty. They include former National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave; General Michael Hayden, who served as director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, the present Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); and Scott Carpenter, Deputy Director of Google Ideas, the “think and do tank” of Google.
“Programs like PASS:PORT add to IWP’s academic strength by serving as means of introducing top scholar-practitioners to our school,” Dr. Waller said. “We’re also going to expand our relations with the private sector, melding our strategic vision with private entrepreneurship and creating new professional opportunities for our students.”
“Everything we do fundamentally must strengthen and expand the academic core of the Institute,” he said. “That core is our unique certificate and degree-granting curriculum.”
While serving in this new position, Dr. Waller will continue to teach his popular courses on foreign propaganda, information operations, public diplomacy, and psychological and political warfare.