Retired four-star Army General and Josef Korbel School alumnus General George Casey, Jr. returned to his alma mater to speak with current and admitted students, as well as teach a two-week course on civil-military relations.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be in the White House Situation Room helping to make the decision to go to war – first in Kosovo, then in Iraq,” General Casey said to a group of about 100 admitted students. Casey explained how he helped negotiate the end of the Kosovo War with representatives from Russia and the president of Finland, and the skills he picked up at the Josef Korbel School came in handy. “I became well-rounded because of my study. I had some idea of what to expect because of my training here.”
Speaking at the Discover Korbel event for admitted graduate students on Friday, March 30, General Casey, a 1980 graduate, told of how he and fellow alum Condoleezza Rice reminisced in the White House about class with Professor Jonathan Adelman. He added that his time at the Josef Korbel School gave him the ability to interact and exchange views with diverse groups of people.
“The military is a very closed society and one of the most important things I got from the Josef Korbel School was the ability to express myself to people who held entirely different views than I did,” he said.
Now General Casey is using all his knowledge and experience to teach future Josef Korbel School graduates. His two-week one-credit class discusses the relationship between American civil society and the military during times of war. The course looks at conflicts from World War II up to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It's been a great experience to be able to learn from someone that is so knowledgeable about the military,” Ryan Hull, a second-year International Security student, said. “General Casey is a very engaging speaker. His class has been awesome.”
General Casey also made guest appearances in several classes and student groups. The Organization of Security Students (OSS) holds a military studies group monthly with visiting officer Army Colonel Jim Rainey to discuss issues important to the U.S. military. Anna Wardwell, president of OSS and a second-year International Security student, welcomed General Casey's candid presence at the meeting
“It's nice to see him in a more informal setting,” Wardwell said. “He was able to participate in the discussion instead of just giving prepared remarks.”
At the Discover Korbel event, General Casey noted that his relationship with former ambassador Chris Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School, helped to get him back in the classroom. The two have known each other since Dean Hill was the ambassador to Macedonia from 1996-1999.
“Because of the Dean's experience he can pull practitioners from D.C. and elsewhere,” General Casey said. “And it's a much more pleasant environment here.”
After General Casey hailed the sunshine and mountainous scenery in Denver, he reminded students that the Josef Korbel School will allow them to build their intellectual capital.
“The bottom line is that the experience here has great potential to assist you in whatever it is that you decide to do after,” General Casey said.