2010 Vietnam Center Conference: Lessons Learned, Lessons Lost: Counterinsurgency from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan

Sponsored by:
The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University
The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University
The Center for a New American Security

March 4th-5th, 2010
SAIS Kenney Auditorium
1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

"You have to learn from history," President Obama recently observed. "On the other hand, each historical moment is different. You never step into the same river twice. And so Afghanistan is not Vietnam." [New York Times, September 13, 2009]

Perhaps not. But Vietnam is certainly a reference point for many Americans as the war in Afghanistan approaches its ninth year. Comparing Vietnam and Afghanistan is a popular and sometimes lucrative undertaking for scores of historians, journalists and politicians. Google "Vietnam-Afghanistan" and you get about 36 million returns. Analogies abound; analysts debate. What are the lessons of Vietnam? What can we learn about counterinsurgency from our experience in Vietnam? Does Vietnam offer important insights to guide counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan? Have we already applied our Vietnam experience in these conflicts? Or are Iraq and Afghanistan so unique as to defy comparison with past insurgencies?

This conference asks what we should have learned about counterinsurgency from Vietnam and whether, or how, these lessons are being exploited in today’s conflicts. Military experts and civilian analysts will debate these questions and more over two days at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies on March 4 and 5. You are most cordially invited to join the discussion.

Session Videos and Still Photographs

Conference Registration Form

Hotel Information

  • Room Rates: $99 - mention "SAIS/TTU Vietnam Center Group Rate." Rate is available March 2-6, 2010. Reservations must be made by February 24th.

Conference Agenda

The 2010 Conference Agenda is now available.

Additional Information

Additional information will be posted to this page as it becomes available