Integrated Research Projects (IRPs)

Every academic year (AY), the Commandant of the US Army War College commissions Integrated Research Projects (IRPs) to conduct intensive study on the Army’s top priority strategic issues. An IRP research team consists of subject matter expert faculty members and select resident students who engage in strategic research and analysis on each issue.  Every IRP has an external sponsoring agency or individual, often at the senior-most levels of the Army or Department of Defense, that establishes the research need and has a vested interest in resolving the issue. The IRP research teams have the opportunity to interact with these sponsors and communicate findings directly to them.

USAWC Resident Students – Contact your seminar faculty advisors if you are interested in joining an IRP team. Students receive full graduation credit for their capstone research requirement by participating in an IRP. Depending on the scope of the IRP, resident students may also earn elective credits and special designations for their transcripts.  Check with the IRP faculty leads for details. Watch the video below for more information.

Sponsors – Contact SSI if you are interested in sponsoring or supporting an upcoming IRP. Click here to email us.

Generalship at the National Strategic Level
Lead: Dr. Nicholas Prime 
Army Strategic Education Program

Focus: The contemporary international security environment places far more emphasis on the soldier-statesman role for the U.S. military’s most senior General and Flag officers than in past eras. How does the practice of Generalship at the national strategic-level result in strategies, policies, programs, and actions suitable for the application of military force in pursuit of a desired political outcome?

Sponsor(s): CSA

Rethinking Competition, Deterrence, and Army Readiness
Lead: Dr. Tony Pfaff 
The Strategic Studies Institute

Focus: Technology has enabled adversaries’ strategic objectives, making deterrence and winning in competition increasingly important. Yet, competition as a framework for addressing adversary provocation may be limiting and unintentionally legitimizing adversary subversive behavior. This study will examine: 1) current and future modes of competition to determine how to better anticipate competitor innovations; 2) how the Army can better contribute to national deterrent capabilities; and 3) how norms of international competition and conflict would apply below the threshold of war.

Sponsor(s): INDOPACOM J5, DA G3/5/7 (DAMO-SSP)

Strategy for National Security Emergencies
Lead: Prof. Bert Tussing
The Center for Strategic Leadership

Focus: The confluence of emerging and reemerging nation state threats, alongside foreseeable catastrophes of a national scale, compels the nation to develop a Strategy for National Security Emergencies. The US needs a framework for extant concerns over protection, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery.  The study will focus especially, though not exclusively, on nation state threats which could manifest themselves in war against and within the homeland.

Sponsor(s): FEMA, USNORTHCOM, National Guard Bureau

Leading Science and Technology Development at the Strategic Level
Lead: Prof. Fred Gellert
Co-Lead: Col. Will Storms
The Center for Strategic Leadership

Focus: Developments in biological sciences, robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and other areas may lead to astounding new capabilities for national defense applications. This project considers how DoD and the national defense enterprise can adapt to better leverage technology for itself and prepare for its use by adversaries.

Sponsor(s): DUSD(R&E)

The Application of Strategic Landpower by the Theater Army
Lead: Dr. Greg Cantwell
Co-Lead: Dr. GK Cunningham
The Center for Strategic Leadership

Focus: Capabilities and challenges at echelons above brigade to Theater Army in the application of strategic Landpower, with emphasis on the Theater Army’s role in Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) against a near-peer competitor. This IRP will provide the Army and Joint Community with a broadened appreciation of U.S. Army capability gaps especially at the service component level and potential solutions for consideration that may impact the Army’s ability to successfully implement the NDS.

Sponsor(s): AFC, Mission Command Capability Development Integration Directorate (MC CDID), Mission Command Battle Lab

Talent Management
Lead: Prof. Lou Yuengert 
Department of Command, Leadership, and Management (DCLM) 

Focus: This project continues USAWC support to the Army Talent Management Task Force’s effort to implement an information age personnel management system that is based on talent management principles (SECARMY and CSA vision). This study will include a holistic look at changes across the pillars of Acquire, Develop, Employ, and Retain, with papers and possible briefings to senior Army leadership.

Sponsor(s): Army Talent Management Task Force, ASA (M&RA)



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WATCH: US Army War College Students Discuss Their Experiences Working on IRPs
SecArmy examines the Army’s commitment to Joint Force readiness with USAWC Students Then SecArmy Mark Esper discussed IRP results on future force posture with US Army War College students in 2019.
For more information about any of the current IRP efforts listed above, please contact the faulty lead. For questions about the IRP program at USAWC, contact the Director, Strategic Research and Analysis Department of SSI, COL George Shatzer, at: