Nepal NDU Design Committee Dialogue at the NESA Center

From 8–12 April 2024, the Near East South Asia Center’s professional military education team, in collaboration with the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) and the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation, Kathmandu, hosted six senior members of the Nepal National Defense University Design Committee for a series of seminars and discussions in Washington, D.C. The sessions were with leadership and faculty from both National Defense University (NDU) and Marine Corps University. The program opened with remarks from PM’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rachel Schiller and Ambassador Sridhar Khatri of Nepal, and included an office call with NDU President, Lieutenant General Michael Plehn, as well as a workshop led by NDU Provost Dr. Jim Lepse. 

Nepal NDU Design Committee Dialogue group photograph with Associate Dean Charles Marks (on the left), program participants, and Associate Dean Richard Wiersema (on the right).


All five NDU component colleges—the National War College, the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, the College of International Security Affairs, the College of Information and Cyberspace, and the Joint Forces Staff College, led detailed talks on missions, organizations, faculty and curriculum development, infrastructure, academic accreditation, and governance. 

Dr. Thomas Marks (Distinguished Professor & MG Edward G. Lansdale Chair of Irregular Warfighting Strategy at the College of International Security Affairs) speaking to the group during his presentation.


The leadership and faculty at Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA, did the same, enabling the Nepal delegation to compare and contrast a variety of solutions to the same complex problems of balancing and meeting military and academic requirements for senior national security professionals. The NESA Center team and subject matter experts from NDU and MCU enabled the Design Committee to obtain insight into U.S. Professional Military Education standards, organizations, stakeholders, and best practices. Focused seminars by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies completed the program. 

Associate Dean Richard Wiersema reviewing the program and objectives.


This series of engagements established firm foundations for collaboration between the NESA Center and the Nepal NDU Design Committee. It marks the first step in a model interagency program patiently developed over several years by staffs at State/PM, the U.S. Country Team in Kathmandu, and the NESA Center. NESA Center Associate Deans Charles Marks and Richard Wiersema will prepare reciprocal follow-on seminars to be conducted in Nepal. 



The views presented in this article are those of the speaker or author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.