Class of 1971
Class Gift

The Class of 1971 has endowed the nationally-renowned Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA), an annual gathering at West Point of college students from across the country and overseas to discuss U.S. governmental and foreign policy and to prepare recommendations on a wide range of policy issues. It represents a unique educational opportunity for cadets and students from the country’s most prestigious civilian universities to advance their knowledge of governmental affairs and of one another.  Current Gift Status

The following is a recent article on SCUSA:

November 10-13, 2004
By J. Phoenix
(Please forward comments to

It has a formal name, but everyone just refers to it by its acronym: SCUSA and thousands of cadets over the years have been involved with this special gathering under the auspices of the Department of Social Sciences.  The Student Conference on United States Affairs convened on 10-13 November for the 56th time since its beginning in 1949. The topic of discussion was "Beyond Hegemony: The Goals and Consequences of American Action at Home and Abroad." Joining in the discussion were over 200 delegates gathered from 100 colleges and universities and from 25 countries plus a large number of cadet delegates, facilitators, and administrator-logisticians. Delegates stayed in the cadet barracks, sharing rooms with cadets, but took most of their conference meals at Eisenhower Hall.

The roster of panel leaders was quite diverse: COL (Retired) Jack Jacobs, MSNBC commentator and holder of the Medal of Honor; Jane Holl Lute, UN assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations; Azza Karam, political Islam authority; Army deputy Chief of Staff, LTG Buster Hagenbeck '71; and political consultant Chad Boettcher of MTV's recent "Rock the Vote" campaign.

Appropriately enough, the keynote address on Thursday was presented by Rohan Gunaratna, noted expert on Al Qaeda and head of the international center for political violence and terrorism research at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore. He emphasized that force alone could not defeat terrorism. The terrorists must be prevented from raising money while efforts are made in areas of potential unrest to build schools and improve living conditions.  This work should be done through non-governmental organizations rather than through unfriendly governments.  Simultaneously, the United States should work with the media in these areas to ensure that the proper message reaches the people.

The participants organized into 16 roundtable groups to focus on specific regions of interest or foreign policies.  Topics discussed at issue roundtables included Domestic Sources of Influence on Foreign Policy; The U.S. Role in Democratization; Inter and Non-Governmental Organizations; Security and Foreign Policy in a Cyber-Future; and The Challenge of Terrorism, while regional roundtables included Homeland Security; Middle East Gulf States; Western Europe; South and Southeast Asia and Oceania; and China, Japan and Korea.

Two plenary sessions, a panel discussion and the banquet address, gave delegates the opportunity hear the views of leaders involved in the study of international relations and the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Four roundtable sessions during the mornings and afternoons of Thursday and Friday addressed general questions concerning the assigned region or topic, aided by two senior participants who are academic and policy experts. Two international student delegates from Metro International in New York City also are assigned to each roundtable. Besides the formal discussions, there are various receptions and other social activities for informal discussions with both other college students and seasoned veterans with academic, foreign policy or journalism credentials.

On Saturday morning, the various roundtables presented their final policy papers and policy recommendations within their regions or issues. The delegates are required to produce recommendations that can work within the realities of the actual current international situation while also addressing long term national policy implications. Questions submitted for consideration ranged from "Does the United States need the United Nations?" to "Is the United States safe enough?" to "Is the United States capable of promoting democracy around the world?" to "Does the United States have a moral or legal right to transform authoritarian regimes?"  How should the United States address the problems of an increasingly poor African continent that also has vast offshore oil reserves, is wracked with HIV/AIDS and civil war, and provides vast geographical regions capable of hiding terrorist training camps?

The range of discussion these days is a far cry from the fifties, when the Debate Council did not participate in the national debate topic regarding the recognition of Red China (the cadets debated the alternate national topic). Now the cadets of the Model United Nations team recently traveled to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to successfully defend their world title. Following hard upon presidential elections in both the U.S. and Afghanistan and contemporaneous with major military operations in Fallujah to help secure free elections in January in Iraq, the discussions were especially spirited.

CDT Megan Williams, SCUSA 56 Commander, noted: "Many of the students may come to West Point expecting to find the cadets extremely conservative, as the cadets may conversely anticipate all of the civilian standpoints to be very liberal and anti-military. By the end of the conference, both sides have come to realize that this was not necessarily the case. The delegates develop an understanding, if not appreciation, of the different viewpoints of their contemporaries at other schools. I have really enjoyed working with SCUSA this year and watching these fascinating dialogues develop."

SCUSA is supported in perpetuity by a generous gift of an endowment from the Class of 1971. The official record of the proceedings each year is published as Round Table Reports.

SCUSA 54 After Action Report (November 2002)

SCUSA 53 After Action Report (November, 2001)

Pledge or Contribute on-line

See what civilian attendees said about SCUSA 52

USMA ’71 Class Gift

Thanks to a Professionally Done campaign by our gift committee before the 30th reunion, the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA) has received an initial endowment of $500,000 from our class.  This is a terrific achievement, but is less than half way to our goal of $1.2 million.  That final amount will generate income at the level required to cover all future operational expenses for the conference.

As of February, 2003, we have an additional gifts and pledges from classmates and corporate donors bringing the total in gifts and pledges to $929,422.94.

As impressive as these results are, we still have almost 23% of the total gift to raise! Additionally, only 44% of our class has contributed to the Class of ’71 Gift Fund. Of course, not every one of us is in a situation to set records with the amount of our personal gift. However, we can all participate at some level.  There is a tremendous difference in the rate of giving between cadet companies, from a high of 72.73% (way to go B1!)  to a low of 13.04% (ye shall remain nameless, known but to God, the AOG and the committee!)

Your class committee has set the goal of raising $300,000 in time to present the final check at our 35th reunion in 2007.  We ask those who have not yet participated to step up and join in ensuring that this is a gift that truly represents the class as a whole.

Also, many corporations have matching gift programs for charitable contributions.  Check with your employer to see if your gift can generate a parallel contribution, even in these times of economic stress.

Don’t wait – use the handy link below to make your pledge or your gift!




Conducted at West Point 20-23 November 2002, the 54th Student Conference on United States Affairs addressed the theme "U.S. Foreign Policy Post-9/11: Challenges, Concerns and Opportunities in a Changed World". As a co-chair for the roundtable on Latin America and the Caribbean, I had a chance to participate directly in this year’s conference activities and observe the interaction between cadets, civilian students, and invited speakers. Classmates John Doyle, and Mike Hess co-chaired the Russia and Democratization roundtables, respectively. On behalf of all of us, I can report to the class that SCUSA 54 was one of the most successful in the program’s history, and is an exemplary use of our Class Gift.

The conference was attended by 223 students from 125 civilian universities and foreign military schools. There were 29 foreign countries represented; cadets from the military academies of Canada, France, the Netherlands, Japan, India and Germany attended. They were hosted by 64 cadet delegates and 87 cadet staff members. Thirtyseven distinguished representatives of government, business, the military, and academia participated as roundtable chairs, panelists or key speakers. The keynote address was presented by GEN Wayne Downing (USA – Ret, and USMA ‘62), who gave a very sobering picture of the terrorist threat, proliferation of WMD, and the limitations framing the U.S. and international responses.

A panel on the first evening set the tone for group discussions the following day. Dr. Don Snider of the Department of Social Sciences moderated a panel consisting of MG Peter W. Chiarelli, USA, Director of Operations, Readiness, and Mobilization, HQDA, Dr. Gale Maddox, Professor of Political Science at the Naval Academy, Mr. Vincent Viola (USMA ’77), chairman of NYMEX Holdings, Inc. and the New York Mercantile Exchange, and MG Perry Smith (USAF-Ret, and USMA ’56), distinguished author and television commentator on military affairs.

Students were divided into roundtables of 10-16 members, covering either regional or functional areas, and had four, two-and-a-half hour sessions to examine the theme in its relation to their assigned area. Roundtable chairs moderated the discussions with a view to letting students carry the ball, but arriving at the end of the process equipped to prepare a short paper with policy recommendations as well as a briefing for the final plenary session. Roundtables were as follows:

Regional Roundtables                                            Issues Roundtables

Central and Eastern Europe                                         Democratization
Central Asia and the Caucuses                                    Domestic Sources of Influence on
China, Japan and Korea                                             Foreign Policy
Latin America and the Caribbean                                Global Economic and Trade Issues
Middle East and North Africa                                     Global Social Concerns
Russia                                                                         Terrorism and Other Threats to
South and Southeast Asia                                             National Security
Sub-Saharan Africa                                                     Security and Foreign Policy in a
Western Europe                                                                     Cyber-Future
                                                                                   Homeland Security

I had expected to find much time devoted to haggling over the different world views that one would assume characterizes the cultural divide between cadets and civilian students --- remember the Friday afternoon "invasion" of the Plain by Vietnam War protesters from Marymount and other area colleges when we were Yearlings? Not so. I was pleasantly surprised to find a degree of pragmatism and constructiveness on all sides that produced truly meaningful discussions. Also, I was impressed with the speed with which the groups gelled as friends and colleagues. The civilian students were fascinated with cadet life and with the dedication, openness, and sophistication of their military counterparts. LATAM Roundtable members have kept in touch by e-mail since the conference, and the reaction of one of our foreign delegates speaks for the group as a whole:

"Definitively, now, I see the world with different eyes; furthermore, I breathe a different air. Now, I don’t feel myself only as a Peruvian, but as a World Citizen. Now, I know that I am not alone in the attempt to change the world….I also would like to make a special recognition to the Army guys; I felt touched and overwhelmed by your strong commitment and (the) deep love you feel for your country, how proud you are to be a US citizen....Thank you again "Soldiers of Peace"; because of your devoted work people can sleep safe every night." -- Maria Pilar Palacios, Rochester Institute of Technology (Peru)

The Cadet administrative effort was superb, covering everything from transportation to lodging, meals and the solution of myriad individual problems that always bubble up in a conference of this size and scope. The Sosh Department’s SCUSA website ( contains biographies of cadet staff as well as those of senior participants, descriptions of each roundtable, and proposals for the position papers developed by each of the student groups.

A final note: Our class and its Gift were highlighted during the entire conference. Posters and background materials prominently featured the USMA Class of ’71 as sponsors of the program. Your classmates were always seated at the head or next-to-head tables at the dinner events, and were repeatedly singled out by the Supe, the Dean, and the Department Head as representatives of the Class, with expressions of heartfelt gratitude for the financial and academic support we are providing. The excellent relationship established by Mike Ritchie and other members of the Gift Committee has set us on the road to an enduring cooperative effort with the Academy to provide a superb academic program to the Corps, while sowing seeds of deep respect for West Point and our Army among American and foreign college students.

Glenn Weidner
Finance Committee
USMA Class of 1971


After Action Report

From November 14-17, USMA hosted the 53rd Annual Student Conference on United States Affairs, otherwise known as SCUSA 53. SCUSA, already renown as the largest and most prestigious conference of its kind in the world, set several records this year thanks in great part by the contributions of the Class of '71. The largest number of participants ever traveled to West Point during these trying times of air travel and increased security. Records were broken in three areas: 305 student participants were present from 139 colleges and universities from 28 different countries. The added complications of air travel restrictions and Threat Condition Charlie made this a particularly challenging event for the very capable SCUSA staff.

The student delegates spend four days at the conference discussing current topics affecting U.S. foreign policy. This year's conference theme, chosen by SCUSA 53's cadet staff, is "2001: A Global Odyssey – Charting A Path for the New Millennium." SCUSA was organized into sixteen roundtables, each focused on a specific policy topic or region of interest. Some of this year's roundtables included:

          * China, Japan, and Korea
          * The Middle East and North Africa
          * Democratization
          * Western Europe
          * Latin America
          * North America
          * Sub Saharan Africa
          * Russia and the Former Soviet Union
          * Global Social Concerns
          * Domestic Sources of Influence on Foreign Policy
          * Global Threats to National Security
          * Security and Foreign Policy in a Cyber-Future.

Each roundtable had a mix of military and civilian student delegates, and was moderated by two senior topic experts (one an academic, the other a practitioner) invited from outside of USMA. This year, SCUSA was honored to include two moderators from the Class of '71: BG John S. Brown, Chief of the U.S. Army's Center for Military History; and MG Franklin Hagenbeck, Commander of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division. Their depth of experience and knowledge of current events in policy making were invaluable to the students as they developed their recommendations for US Foreign policy for the future. Buster and John did an outstanding job and were perfectly suited for their roles. You should all be very proud.

By noon on 17 November, each roundtable produced and presented a policy paper on its recommendations on what U.S. foreign policy should be. These papers will be posted on the SCUSA 53 web site (

Other highlights of the conference were a panel discussion with four senior policy experts, and two keynote addresses. This year's panelists were:

    * Mr. Michael Sheehan (USMA '77), Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations for the United Nations and former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter- terrorism
    * The Honorable Cynthia Schneider, former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands
    * Mr. Ralph Begleiter, former CNN correspondent
    * Dr. Michael Edleson (USMA '79), Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for NASDAQ.

SCUSA 53's keynote speaker was former Gulf War commander and U.S. Drug Czar GEN(R) Barry McCaffrey (USMA '64). The conference also featured a special guest lecture by former U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft (USMA '47). Both speakers had great praise for the USMA Class of 1971 for their generous endowment that will keep SCUSA running. Both LTG Scowcroft and Gen McCaffery had personal stories of the value of SCUSA in their lives. CPT McCaffery was the SCUSA 25 Executive Secretary 28 years ago. Cadet Scowcroft sat on a roundtable 48 years ago during SCUSA 5 with a young man named Zvignew Brizinski. Between the two, they were National Security Advisors to the President three times!

In addition to fostering an increased understanding of U.S. foreign policy, SCUSA is also a training vehicle for cadets. A full cadet staff of nearly 100 cadets helps plan and run the conference, which provides them with valuable lessons in leadership and management. I watched cadets identifying problems and solving them just as they will have to do as junior officers. As you all know, no matter how well things are planned, there is always something that can go wrong - there were dozens of examples of this when you are dealing with the care, feeding, housing, and transportation of 304 student delegates, 100 cadets, and 50 officers and VIPs. The cadet staff did a superb job.

On Thursday night, 15 November, I presented a check, on behalf of the Class of 1971, to the Superintendent, LTG Bill Lennox and Cadet SCUSA Commander Wynne Beers for the endowment of SCUSA "for as long as the Long Grey Line may grow." Present were the nearly 500 SCUSA participants and the leadership of the Academy. I was never so proud as I accepted the heaps of praise for the generosity and greatness of the Class of 1971. Thank you all for that honor.

Michael G. Ritchie
Director, Humanitarian Assistance and Demining
Department of Defense

Class Gift Campaign Chairman:  Jack Chiles


Here are some of the more famous people who attended SCUSA as students:

    Arlen Specter (now Senator, PA)
    George Stephanopolous (former Presidential advisor)
    Richard Zimmer (3 term representative for NJ in the House, 1990-1996)
    Henry Cisneros (former director of HUD and mayor of San Antonio)
    Thomas Pickering (ambassador and now senior VP of Boeing)
    Ralph Begleiter (well-known journalist)
    Helmut Sonnenfeldt (academic, now serving with Brookings)
    David R. Mayhew (well known professor of political science, now at Yale)

Here are some of the better known cadets who worked on SCUSA staff while at West Point:
    Daniel Christman, Howard Graves, Wes Clark, David Bramlett, Rick Olsen, Robert St. Onge, Paul Bucha

Here are some of the people who have attended SCUSA as a guest speaker:

    Military: Gen Lemnitzer, Gen Gavin, Gen Lawton Collins, Gen Andrew Goodpaster, Gen Max Taylor, Gen George Joulwan, Gen Alexander Haig, Gen Barry McCafferey, Admiral Stansfield Turner, Admiral William Crow

    Government: Dean Rusk, Paul Nitze, Dean Acheson, Chester Bowles, Nelson Rockefeller, Averill Harriman, Nicholas Katzenbach, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George Bush Sr, Paul Wolfowitz, Lawrence Eagleberger, Madeleine Albright, Richard Armitage, Strobe Talbott, Theodore Sorensen, Robert Oakley, Richard Lugar, Richard Holbrook

    Academia: Hans Morganthau, Graham Allison, Richard Falk, Joseph Nye, John Mearsheimer, Aaron Friedberg, Michael Doyle

    Other: Boutros-Boutros Ghali


Newsletter of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University • Volume 15 • Number 1 • Winter 2001
The Center’s Web address is:

West Point’s
Student Conference
on United States Affairs

    In 1996-1997, Colonel Russell D. Howard was a Fellow of the Center for International Affairs.  During his program, he became preoccupied with an absence of contact—and a lack of mutual understanding—between students of Harvard College and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As a result, he made a special point that year to involve Harvard undergraduates in SCUSA, the Military Academy’s annual Student Conference on United States Affairs. After leaving Harvard, and in the midst of carrying out doctoral studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Col. Howard became deputy head and then head of the Social Sciences Department of the U.S. Military Academy. He also became director of SCUSA. With Colonel Howard’s leadership, the Harvard-SCUSA connection has continued and thrived.
   In November, the Weatherhead Center and the Harvard College Dean’s Office sponsored a fifth group of Harvard College students to attend  the 52nd student conference. The conference was entitled “U.S. Leadership into the New Century: Defining the Puzzle.” This theme sparked lively roundtable discussions over three days among 200 students from inside and outside the United States about American foreign policy issues in the disciplines of international relations, economics, political science, and related social science fields.
  The five students attending under Harvard sponsorship found the experience worthwhile in myriad ways. Here, they share some of their experiences in the roundtables as well as their impressions of life at the U.S. Military Academy.

Sarah Wood, a senior social studies concentrator who participated in the roundtable on Sub-Saharan Africa:

“SCUSA was a fantastic experience, mostly because of the roundtable format and immersion into the process of policymaking... The benefit of the experience was in working closely with a group of people to produce a specific product (a 1,000-word policy memo and a five-minute summary presentation) in a short amount of time. The pressure and need to collaborate and work via consensus were the most challenging components and definitely simulated real policymaking.

“My interaction with cadets dispelled many of the misconceptions I held about the type of people who are attracted to serve in our armed forces and the type of training they receive at West Point. Whereas I approached West Point thinking that cadets would be very conformist or conservative about the role that the military should play in international affairs, I met cadets who were from diverse backgrounds and a range of political positions, which was exciting. Since my academic interests have converged mainly around development rather than security issues, it was good to learn more about how our armed services are structured and how the men and women who will be executing policy on the ground in peacekeeping operations, humanitarian interventions, and combat, feel. It was also good for me to speak to so many students who felt differently about what U.S. foreign policy priorities should be; it forced me to both rethink and defend my views.”

Jovana Vujovic is a junior government concentrator from Serbia. She participated in the Eastern and Central European roundtable:

“Intellectually, the conference was very stimu-lating. My group was probably the most international of all groups. Almost half of our fifteen delegates were foreigners. Also, a third of our delegates were comprised of West Point cadets. It was wonderful, for I got to hear opinions of citizens of countries such as the Netherlands, Austria, Great Britain, Romania, Croatia, and Canada, as well as opinions of men and women who will assume leadership positions within the Army upon graduating from West Point.

“One of the most important aspects of the conference for me personally was the fact that there were two Croatian delegates in my discussion group. One of them is at West Point on a student exchange and is going to assume a relatively high position within the Croatian military upon her graduation. The other is studying at a small college in New York and is going to work at the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb after she graduates this June. The two of them, on one side, and I on the other, were all wary of our interaction at first. We all feared that ‘the other side’ was going to have extremist, nationalist views about the Yugoslav civil war. But once we all realized that such suspicions were completely unfounded, we managed to become good friends. While having conversations with these women, I realized that our views regarding the past, as well as our goals for the future of our respective countries, were indeed quite similar. Needless to say, this gives me great hope for the future relations of our two countries.

“During the roundtable discussions, I felt that my presence was significant in the sense that I was the only representative from Serbia, the country that was most frequently mentioned as the main source of trouble in the region. So, I was to repre-sent the interests and views of my country, but because those views were so radically moderate and even liberal compared to the views espoused by the regime the West is so used to dealing with—the Milosevic regime—I think that many delegates felt encouraged and reassured by realizing first hand that there are voices from Serbia who preach multiculturalism and tolerance. “The experience rekindled my desire to go to Belgrade this summer and work for the govern-ment. It provided me with optimism for the future of the Balkan region. And it allowed me to make life-long friendships.”

Erica Westenberg, a junior government concentrator, was on the Democratization roundtable:

“It is difficult to arrive at West Point without at least a few preconceived notions. Although I tried to keep a very open mind about the Academy, I found that I had several misconceptions about what military life was like for the cadets. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of emphasis placed on the academic as well as the military aspects of the cadets’ training. In general, I was very impressed with the intellectual curiosity and education of the cadets with whom I worked. Of course there were also many aspects of West Point life that fit and exceeded the stereotypical notions of a military academy. It was amazing to see firsthand this level of discipline, physical exertion, and ceremony. I gained a renewed respect for the academic and physical endeavors that the cadets undertake during their college years.

“The issue that my roundtable focused on was democratization. I was most surprised by the large number of people who held strong cultural-relativism ideologies. My guess was that most students, myself included, were appropriately attuned to the importance of cultural distinctions and norms in the development process. However, many students had what I consider to be extreme views on cultural relativism. A large contingent on the roundtable did not support U.S. foreign policy that promoted democracy. It was a very positive experience to dialogue with students who held these more extreme views. Not only did our discussion help me to better understand the thinking behind why we should not promote democratization, but it also helped me to solidify my own views on the importance of why we should promote democratic values.

“Each group has to culminate the conference by writing a policy paper. You can imagine how difficult this became for our group, with some people saying we should help countries to democratize and others flatly rejecting this idea. I learned a great deal about how ideas are melded, tempers are placated, and consensus is built.”

Albert Hyunbae Cho, a junior social studies concentrator, participated on the Global Economics and Trade roundtable:

“Our roundtable was full of interesting people, and we talked about everything from relations with the IMF to the UN Global Compact to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization.

“Being at West Point was a great experience.  Coming from a fairly anti-military community, I had some pretty negative preconceptions about what West Point would be like. At first I was terrified to be there, but I quickly grew comfortable, particularly after talking to a lot of the cadets... I am really happy that I got a chance to have my assumptions about the military challenged and to get a more sophisticated understanding of the military’s role in modern life.”

Hilary Levey, a junior sociology concentrator, participated on the Domestic Sources of Influence on Foreign Policy roundtable.

“The conference did an excellent job of simulating a real diplomatic experience.  I really felt fortunate to be given an “inside” view of cadet life; this is something that most civilians, including parents of cadets, never get to witness. It was a privilege to get to know those who are serving our country and to come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the military.”

Reproduced by permission of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs