This Week in DC: Events

Welcome back everyone! With Congress in session again, DC is alive and humming once more. As always, the week’s most interesting (and free) events in national security, foreign policy, and where possible, science.

Monday, September 9th, 2013

An Evening with Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff
Elliot School
7:00PM – 8:00PM

The George Washington University International Affairs Society will be hosting the Honorable Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of Homeland Security (2005-2009), for a discussion on homeland security challenges and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s role in shaping domestic security policy. Secretary Chertoff will also reflect on his tenure at the Department and the challenges that it faces ahead.

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Beyond Benghazi: Libya’s Transition and the Future of US-Libyan Relations
Freedom House
12:00 – 2:00PM

September 11, 2013 will mark the one-year anniversary of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the tragic loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Since then, a deteriorating security situation and growing political chaos signal a country plunging into a deeper state of crisis. Yet Libya’s transition remains critical to the security and political development of the region. What are the main challenges confronting Libya’s transition? Who are the key players in the political realm, and what are the key political dynamics? What are the prospects for the National Dialogue? What role can the United States play to positively influence Libya’s transition? Please join us for a discussion of these and other questions appraising developments in Libya since the tragic events in Benghazi and the crucial steps the US can take to help Libya establish itself as a stable, secure democracy.

Prospects for a Diplomatic Solution with Iran
American Security Project
12:30 – 2:00PM

Tensions with Iran have brought negotiations on nuclear issues to a standstill. Could the election of President Rouhani provide an opening to more productive negotiations? Join us for a conversation on the current state and future prospects for diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program with Joel Rubin, Policy Director for the Ploughshares Fund; Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Council for Foreign Relations; and Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association.

Al Qaeda Today
American Enterprise Institute
1:00 – 3:00 PM

Al Qaeda continues to pose a significant threat to the US. The increasing danger has been obscured by confusion about what the current al Qaeda network actually is and how to understand its ramifications. As a result, the US has no coherent strategy for addressing this threat and is making decisions about its military forces, the capabilities of its intelligence services, and its reactions to crises in the Middle East that are profoundly endangering US national security. Understanding the enemy is imperative. Join us on September 10 as Katherine Zimmerman of AEI’s Critical Threats Project releases a groundbreaking paper describing the state of the al Qaeda network, drawing on granular analysis not only of the core al Qaeda group but also of its affiliates and associates that have taken root worldwide.

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Trident Alternatives: What Next for British Nuclear Forces?
2:00PM – 3:00PM

For 20 years, the British nuclear deterrent has rested on Trident nuclear-armed missiles carried by four Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, at least one of which is continuously at sea. The British government is now considering how to maintain a nuclear deterrent after the Vanguard submarines are retired. This summer, the UK concluded a study looking at a range of alternatives, including options other than Trident missiles and options that would no longer maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent presence. On September 11, the Arms Control Initiative at Brookings will host a talk by Danny Alexander, chief secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury, on the study and how Britain should adjust its future nuclear posture to take account of new financial realities. Franklin Miller of the Scowcroft Group will offer commentary, and Brookings Visiting Fellow Ian Wallace will moderate a discussion with questions from the audience.

Pakistan’s Peace with the Taliban: Is it Possible?
Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
6:30PM – 7:00PM

In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1373 authorizing the use of force in Afghanistan. The US and its allies intervened militarily and launched Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in October of 2001. The goal of OEF was to disrupt, destroy and oust al Qaeda and their Taliban host from Afghanistan. However, after twelve years of military operations and state building the US, their allies and the Afghan government have been unable to stabilize the Afghan state and defeat the insurgency. On the other side of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Pakistan has been battling an insurgency within it’s own borders. The Pakistani Taliban, the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) and various Islamist militant groups based inside the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) seek resistance against the Pakistani state, enforcement of their interpretation of sharia law and a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has carried out several major military operations in the region and has suffered thousands of casualties. Can Pakistan’s government even really consider talking to the Taliban? Where should the line be drawn when talking peace?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Twenty Years After Oslo: The Search for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
8:15AM – 12:00PM

A panel of U.S. and regional experts assesses the legacy of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the outlook for progress toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Longevity of Human Civilization: Will We Survive Our World-Changing Technologies?
Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Symposium
8:30AM – 4:30PM

Will human civilization on Earth be imperiled, or enhanced, by our own world-changing technologies? Will our technological abilities threaten our survival as a species, or even threaten the Earth as a whole, or will we come to live comfortably with these new powers? Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology David Grinspoon convenes scientists, humanists, journalists, and authors to explore these questions from a wide range of perspectives, and to discuss the future of human civilization in an anthropocene world.

US-Iran Reconciliation Under President Rouhani?
Atlantic Council

The August 4th presidential inauguration of veteran national security official Hassan Rouhani has raised expectations for progress nearly thirty-four years after the United States broke diplomatic relations with Iran. Given Rouhani’s diplomatic demeanor and less confrontational rhetoric in comparison to his predecessor, many analysts see potential for de-escalating the nuclear crisis through Iranian concessions and US compromise on sanctions against Iran. Panelists will discuss the prospects for direct talks and progress in multilateral negotiations and dissect internal factors influencing the chances for reconciliation, including Rouhani’s new cabinet and the amount of leeway the new President is likely to receive from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Reset the Reset? The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations
The Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies/Elliot School
12:00 – 2:00PM

In cancelling his planned summit earlier this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Obama suggested it was time to “take a pause, reassess where it is that Russia is going, what our core interests are, and calibrate the relationship.” So how might the U.S.-Russia relationship be calibrated, given core U.S. interests and Russias domestic trajectory? Kimberly Marten, Robert Orttung, and Cory Welt will lead a discussion of U.S.-Russia security relations, the nature of Russian foreign policy decision-making, and the impact of Russian domestic developments on U.S.-Russia relations.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Technology-Strategy Seminar: NATO’s AirLand Battle Strategy and Future Extended Deterrence
9:00 – 11:00AM

NATO’s culminating military strategy in the end-game of the Cold War was AirLand Battle. Tailored for deterrence and to win if deterrence failed, AirLand Battle was also structured to account for the political necessities of assurance and NATO cohesion. Cold War assurance and deterrence is essentially the only experience available on which to base thinking about extended deterrence in the future; although of course not all the Cold War lessons may be valid for the future. Dr. Jim Tegnelia and Dr. Rich Wagner were involved in helping to invent and implement AirLand Battle. They will discuss what it was, how it came to be, and how it worked, politically and militarily, and will speculate on lessons for the future.The seminar will be held at CSIS (1800 K St. NW) in the B1C conference room (in the basement), September 13, 9am-11am. A light breakfast will be served. This event is off-the-record.

Book Discussion: Cyber War Will Not Take Place
Wilson Center
12:00 – 1:30PM

About the Book: “Cyber war is coming,” announced a land-mark RAND report in 1993. In 2005, the U.S. Air Force boasted it would now fly, fight, and win in cyberspace, the “fifth domain” of warfare. This book takes stock, twenty years on: is cyber war really coming? Has war indeed entered the fifth domain? Author and former public policy scholar Thomas Rid discusses his new book, Cyber War Will Not Take Place. He argues that the focus on war and winning distracts from the real challenge of cyberspace: non-violent confrontation that may rival or even replace violence in surprising ways.

(image courtesy of Dell)

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