Karst Brandsma

Karst Brandsma



United States

The path to Fletcher

During my twenty-year career as a U.S. Army Military Police officer – serving in five separate combat tours in four distinct theaters, with assignments ranging from the smallest tactical level to the Department of the Army and Joint Staff – I have always felt a pull towards both self-development (a personal act) and service (a selfless act). Early in my career during my second tour to Iraq in 2006, I discovered that they could be one and the same. I had the opportunity to see firsthand how strategic inflexibility contributed to the continued frustrated efforts of United States policy in the Middle East and I developed a passion for developing myself as a strategic planner, which only deepened my commitment to service. During my enrollment at the School of Advanced Military Studies I heard about the Advanced Strategic Planning and Policy Program, which is a U.S. Army initiative to develop strategic planners and thinkers at the Ph.D. level. I decided to take the leap to earning a Ph.D. and was recommended by a mentor to look at The Fletcher School as a potential academic fit for my interests.