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LISTEN: Navy Officer Gains New Perspective In Counterterrorism Fellowship

April 15, 2015

By Carol Jackson

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chavius Lewis completed a 2015 Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship at the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy. During his time at Duke, Lewis explored the feasibility of employing merchant vessels for offshore presence and launch of U.S. military operations.

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  • Chavius Lewis smiling

    Chavius Lewis is a Georgia native

    His uncle also served in the Navy, and Lewis joined after graduating from college.

He says he was surprised by something he learned from the other students.



"When I first checked onto my first ship in September of 2000, a lot of the people within my division had been in the Navy for five to 10 years. Even my leading Chief Petty Officer had been in the Navy for 20 years. So I was essentially the youngest person in the division but I was in charge of … [making] the ship operationally ready for combat.

As a 22-year-old that was amazing and overwhelming at the same time. Because it’s like -- OK -- if the guns don’t shoot, then all of our lives could be in danger.

I’m used to being around people who are like me. We all speak the same jargon and acronyms. But coming here to Duke, in my first semester I had a student from Kazakhstan in my class, a student from India … Spain, Pakistan. So it was a very diverse class and to be able to learn how they process information and respond to information based on their culture was very eye opening.

And for the military fellows, we absorbed all of the knowledge from the foreign students and the diverse students equally and I think it will help not only us as military leaders, but it will help us gain a better understanding of how to write policy, how to shape policy and how to enforce policy as well."