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Hosted by the Joint Advanced Warfighting School, National Defense University

Hampton Roads has over 300 years of military history stretching from Jamestown and the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, World War I, and World War II to Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.

The servicemembers who fought through the ages at the 1775 Battle of Great Bridge, the naval Battle of the Capes, the 1781 Battle of Yorktown, the Civil War Battle of the Ironclads, and the Petersburg Crater, and those who deployed to France in World War I, sailed in Admiral Hewitt’s task force for Operation Torch in 1942, or left America for Normandy in 1944, all contributed to the tremendously strong foundation upon which today’s Joint Force continues to build.

Thus, it is with great pride in our history and a dynamic vision for the future that the faculty, staff, and students at the National Defense University’s Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) welcome you to the 87th meeting of the Society for Military History.

JFSC, along with our SMH 2021 partners the NDU-Foundation, the Hampton Roads Navy League, the City of Norfolk,, and the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Memorial, as well as our warfighting partners at the NATO-Allied Command Transformation (NATO-ACT), the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Navy Fleet Forces Command, the Marine Forces Command (MARFORCOM), the Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC), the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command, and the Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC), wish you an outstanding conference in our hometown of Norfolk, Virginia.

March 11, 2021 Update Letter from SMH President John Hall

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SMH 2021 Meeting Update #3 (28 March 2021)

In-depth planning for the in-person SMH 2021 Conference is ongoing.  Hotel registrations are well over 130 and in-person and virtual registration are open. Despite positive progress toward COVID mitigation, we understand the pandemic continues, and realize that many of you may be unable or uncomfortable traveling. That is why SMH 2021 will also have a virtual/online component. Details below.

In-Person Events
We are modifying the traditional program to keep everyone safe and ensure compliance with Virginia’s COVID guidelines. See the COVID-mitigation tab below for a list of measures we are taking with our partner, Hilton Hotels.

Program and other Modifications (examples)

  • Receptions will be either outdoors, in open-air venues, or in areas that allow significant personal spacing. See the Maps tab.
  • The Awards Banquet is now a Reception (at a dramatically reduced cost) to allow for greater dispersion. (Please consider attending).
  • Seating in panel rooms has been sized to one-third or less normal capacity. See the COVID-mitigation tab for more details.

Conference Registration
Conference Registration is live. See the Registration tab below. Rates will increase by approximately $30 per person beginning 1 May.

DRAFT Conference Program Above! Check out the program and the schedule of key events to aid you in making travel arrangements. Check occasionally for updates. (If you haven’t told the Program Chair, Jonathan Winkler, if your panel is in-person, mixed, or virtual, pls do.) See the Program Tab for details.

Virtual Conference Attendance—Registration is OPEN!!!
It has never been easier to attend a SMH meeting. If you cannot travel to Norfolk, please check out the Virtual Conference Registration tab. We plan to broadcast all 85 panels across all 3 days. It’s the next best thing to being there. Log in instructions to follow by individual email to each virtual registrant. Sign up NOW!

Exhibitors (in-person and virtual) and Advertisers—PAGE is LIVE!!!
The Exhibitors and Advertisers PAGE is LIVE! Click on the Exhibitor/Advertiser Tab below. Options exist for in-person Exhibitors interested in renting exhibit space at the Hilton, those who cannot travel in our Virtual Marketplace, and advertisers in our digital and hard copy conference programs. Choose one or several options and get your word out!

Hotel Information
The Hilton Main at 100 E. Main Street in Norfolk is the Conference Hotel. See the Hotel tab below for more information on the Hilton and other hotels nearby. See the Maps tab for locations.

Restaurants (courtesy of
Norfolk is both a gastronomic paradise as well home to several outstanding breweries. As the Map tab shows, everything—hotels, panel locations, opening reception, and over 60 restaurants—are within about 1,000 feet of the Hilton Main. For foodies, check out: Restaurants in Norfolk, VA | Places to Eat & Waterfront Dining ( For craft brew aficionados, Waterside and the Hilton Grain beer garden have approximately 80 taps each. Pubs and restaurants in the downtown area also feature a wide variety of local brew. For specialists and adventurers, try The Birch, voted one of USA Today’s 10 Best Beer Bars, Finally, you can take a brew tour, buy a brewery passport, or simply visit one or more of the eight Norfolk breweries on your own. Breweries in Norfolk, VA | Craft Beer & Tasting Rooms (

Airport information:
The Norfolk International Airport (ORF) is the closest and largest airport (15 miles) to downtown Norfolk. A cab or Uber ride will cost between $20-30, depending on what level you choose. The Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) is much smaller and further away. Getting from there to Norfolk will require a longer taxi/Uber ride or for you to rent a car and pay parking. ORF is your best bet.

Rail: Amtrak runs from Washington (WAS) to Norfolk (NFK) on a routine basis. The trip takes approximately 4.5 - 5 hours. Rates are very reasonable, coach (from $35) and business (from $81). There is direct service to Norfolk and train service to Newport News with a bus transfer to Norfolk. The Norfolk terminal is approximately 2 miles from the Hilton Main. There is a Norfolk Light Rail (The Tide) stop about 300 meters away. The MacArthur Mall stop will drop you 100 meters from the hotel. Otherwise, it is an easy cab/Uber ride. Train Schedules & Timetables | Amtrak

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