Monday, January 14, 2013

Strategic Theory Exam Day

Monday was an interesting day.

I went to bed before 11:30 on Sunday night with the intention of getting up at 6:45 Monday morning. Instead, I woke up at 3:45 and gave up on sleep at 4:50. I got ready early, and went to the SOC to study. Fellow Strategists and I have been studying individually and collaboratively for the last few days, and my main effort was to write and rewrite and rewrite a note sheet to help me memorize items for the Strategic Theory exam. I think I either wrote or typed it about five times. Another item we reviewed in great detail was Sir Laurence Martin's 1981 BBC Reith Lecture, "The TWo-Edged Sword", on nuclear policy. Monday morning involved rewriting the sheet for the last time, and spent the rest of the day studying and socializing.

At around 8:30, it started snowing, and immediately turned to slush, which is going to freeze into an absolute mess come Tuesday morning.

I got all of my stuff prepared for the exam, and at 1:15 a handful of Strategists gathered to join me in a ritual I established as an undergrad: watching the helicopter attack scene from Apocalypse Now.

So, we went to the examination room, got situated, and began at 2:00. The format of the examination was ten questions, of which the student picks three and has three hours upon which to answer them. I chose the following:

8. Assess how well counter-insurgency theory and practice have moved with the times.

7. To what extent is post-Cold War unconventional war really so unique when contrasted with the guerrilla war and terrorism of the Cold War period?

5. What is arms control supposed to deliver to national security and how well has it done it?
I wrote until about 4:51, at which point I finished that third essay, and encountered extreme discomfort in my wrist while closing up my examination booklet. The exam finished a few minutes later, and the Strategists scattered to the wind, only to (mostly) congeal at the Machar for a drink with the Director. Oh, yeah... And it resumed snowing throughout the exam. It's a real mess out there.

Some of us intended to head back to the SOC and study for the Strategic Intelligence exam, which goes down in less than forty-eight hours time; instead, we watched a few YouTube videos, and then scattered once more. I got myself back to my digs with some Chinese food. I'm exhausted, and the whole excruciatingly envigorating ordeal isn't over yet. Tomorrow's another day of study, and then a half day of study, and then the exam... So, I'm going to try to relax myself, get some shut-eye, and hit it hard tomorrow.

More to come.

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