Independent Activities Lectures | January 2023 | Military Fellow Presentations | 2022 | News

Independent Activities Lectures | January 2023 | Military Fellow Presentations
Thaddeus Drake standing next to fellow soldier in Afghanistan

Special IAP Seminars hosted by the MIT Security Studies Program (SSP)

We invite you to join the Security Studies Program for a series of lectures this Independent Activities Period, presented by the Program's Military Fellows.  All IAP events will take place in the Pye Conference Room (E40-496).

Open to the MIT community
MIT is committed to providing an environment that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you need a disability related accommodation to attend or have other questions, please contact us at


Sponsor:  MIT Security Studies Program (SSP)

Flexibility is the Key to Airpower: The Past, Present, and Future of Aerial Refueling
with Lieutenant Colonel Derrick McClain
Tuesday, January 17th, 2023 at 12:00pm (View on the MIT Events Calendar)

The technology and capability of aerial refueling provides the United States military with a unique ability to project power globally. Learn about the history of aerial refueling as well as its operational application. A historical and technical view of the capability will evolve into a broader discussion of the ways in which the US Air Force projects power in the 21st century.

The Role of the National Technology and Industrial Base (NTIB) in Support of U.S. National Security
with Commander Michael Tomsik
Thursday, January 19th, 2023 at 1:00pm (View on the MIT Events Calendar)

First established by U.S. law in 1994, the NTIB originally comprised the industrial bases of the U.S. and Canada. It was later expanded in 2016 to also include Australia and the United Kingdom. This session will focus on the purpose of the NTIB, and related challenges and opportunities of multinational defense industrial base integration.

Army Mental Health from a Battalion Commander's Perspective
with Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Rangel
Tuesday, January 24th, 2023, at 12:00pm (View on the MIT Events Calendar)

Lieutenant Colonel Rangel most recently served a command beginning the summer of 2020 and ending in the summer of 2022. He will discuss some of the mental health challenges the battalion experienced including assisting Soldiers suffering PTSD, three suicides (one internal, two post-retirement), a request to retire by a key leader leaving the battalion, civilian toxic leaders, and physical and mental burn out from requirements to support operations despite COVID operational restrictions.

Counterinsurgency from the Ground Up: A Practitioner’s Perspective on COIN in Iraq and Afghanistan
with Lieutenant Colonel Thaddeus Drake
Wednesday, January 25th, 2023, at 11:00am (View on the MIT Events Calendar)

Interested in what it was like on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan? Curious about what individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines were actually doing? Intrigued by the theory and practice of counterinsurgency operations? Want the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the ins and outs of multiple deployments in very different places in Iraq and Afghanistan? Just wondering which war movie or TV show is the most accurate to these conflicts? Join LtCol Drake, Infantry Officer, Reconnaissance Officer, former Counterinsurgency Instructor, and Operational Planner for a discussion of one Marine’s experience in these conflicts as a Platoon Commander and Company Commander – and how our strategy worked (or didn’t work) at the lowest levels.

US Nuclear Weapons Accidents: A Brief History and the Evolution of Response
with Lieutenant Colonel John D. Turner
Thursday, January 26th, 2023, at 1:00pm (View on the MIT Events Calendar)

Officially, there have been more than 30 accidents involving US Nuclear Weapon since 1945 (but none since 1980!). How do these happen? What types of controls are in place to prevent or mitigate them? How does the US Government respond to these incidents? During this session, we will use historical examples (Damascus, AR Accident and others), and draw on personal experiences, to examine this important topic.