This Week in DC: Events

If you go to one event this week, make it Tuesday’s Biodefense Policy Seminar! Dr. Daniel Dodgen, Director for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience ASPR, will discuss including disaster preparedness. Join us at 7:20PM in GMU’s Mason Hall for a lively discussion!

Monday, September 16

Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy
Brookings Institution

Lying behind the turmoil over Syria is another, greater challenge. It is the challenge of a nuclear Iran, which already haunts our Syria debate. President Rouhani’s election has revived the hope of many that a negotiated resolution of this issue is still possible. However, the history of U.S.-Iranian relations leaves room for considerable skepticism. Should these negotiations fail too, the United States will soon have to choose between the last, worst options: going to war to prevent a nuclear Iran or learning to contain one. A nuclear Iran is something few in the international community wish to see, but many fear that a choice will have to be made soon to either prevent or respond to that reality. Can the U.S. spearhead a renewed international effort to prevent a nuclear Iran, or will it be forced to do the unthinkable: to determine how to contain a nuclear Iran?

Tuesday, September 17

Rapid Urbanization and Infectious Disease Outbreaks: The Case of Avian Influenza in Vietnam
East-West Center
10:30AM – 12:30PM

The global trend in urbanization is increasingly toward the “peri-urban,” areas that are unserviced and densely populated. Does increased human and animal density without good urban planning and design explain the emergence of new and reemerging infectious diseases in such areas? Are disease outbreaks in valuable livestock populations more common in the least developed areas? Or does the risk increase as the countryside transitions into city? To answer these questions, Dr. Melissa Finucane and Dr. James H. Spencer will examine the link between multifaceted man-made environmental changes and outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry in Vietnam, where the “bird-flu” has caused widespread economic damage. Presenting the results of their field research, Dr. Finucane and Dr. Spencer intend to highlight the importance of understanding environmental transformation and coupled natural-human systems so that planners and policy makers can manage diseases effectively in rapidly changing places.

Space and National Security
Stimson Center
12:30 – 2:00PM

Join us for a discussion on space and national security, the long-term consequences of destructive conflict in space, as well as appplying principles of deterrence to the space domain. The event features the release of a new Stimson book, “Anti-satellite Weapons, Deterrence and Sino-American Space Relations,” edited by Julia Thompson and Michael Krepon, which contains essays representing varied perspectives on the prospects for cooperation, competition and deterrence in space.

Syria’s Evolving Health Crisis and the Impact on its Neighbors
3:00 – 4:30PM

Since Syria’s internal war began two years ago, the accumulating human consequences have been dire, both inside Syria and across the region: an estimated 100,000 people dead; the deliberate targeting of civilians and health infrastructure and medical personnel; mass internal displacement and the mass exodus of refugees to neighboring countries; and a worsening environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Following the August 21 chemical attack outside Damascus, humanitarian and public health capacities are now under new, higher strains and uncertainty. Please join us for a timely discussion that will analyze events on the ground in Syria, their impact on neighboring states, and the actions of the international community both to meet humanitarian needs and serve the strategic interests of key international actors.

September Biodefense Policy Seminar: The ABCs of Including Special Populations in Biodefense and Public Health Preparedness
Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, GMU Fairfax Campus
7:20 – 8:30PM

Join us as Dr. Daniel Dodgen discusses the importance of including special populations in Biodefense & Public Health planning. Dr. Dodgen is the Director for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His office is tasked with ensuring that HHS is developing policies and capabilities for emergency planning, response, and recovery activities that integrate at-risk individuals (including children), behavioral health, and community resilience. Dr. Dodgen also served as the Executive Director of the White House directed national advisory group on disaster mental health, and played a coordinating role in the federal response to Hurricanes Sandy, Gustav, Ike, and Dean; the H1N1 epidemic, the BP oil spill, the Sandy Hook school shooting, and other natural and manmade disasters.

Wednesday, September 18

Raising the Stakes on Syria: The U.S. Policy Debate and Regional Dynamics
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
9:00AM – 10:30AM

In the wake of President Obama’s national address, U.S. allies and adversaries are struggling to assess the implications of the Russian proposal on Syria’s chemical weapons and what Washington’s next steps will be on Syria. Pressure is building for the Obama administration to get more involved in arming the rebel opposition, even as Americans continue to send a clear message that they want their country to stay out of the conflict. Carnegie experts will discuss regional views of recent developments and the impact of U.S. policy.

Panel Discussion: Security, Freedom and Privacy in the Digital Age

The Newseum Institute, in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will host “Security, Freedom and Privacy in the Digital Age,” a special program that will look at the need to balance national security with preserving journalists’ First Amendment freedoms. Journalists, lawyers, government officials, business leaders and educators will make up the panel that will discuss, among other issues, the PRISM program, media records seizures, and the proposed federal shield law.

A New Look at American Foreign Policy: The Second in a Series of Discussions
Heritage Foundation
12:00 – 1:00PM

American foreign policy is in flux. Libertarian-minded conservatives are joining liberals in their critiques of military interventions, defense budgets and the surveillance practices of the National Security Agency. “Neo” conservatives like John McCain are lining up with liberals in denouncing libertarian conservatives as “isolationists.” Liberals and conservatives alike are unhappy with the Obama Administration’s tepid support for humanitarian interventions in Syria and its failure to advance human rights abroad – normally touchstones of liberal internationalism. Are fundamental ideological changes in American foreign policy afoot? Join us as Heritage continues a series of discussions regarding this question, what the dangers and opportunities are, and whether they afford an opportunity to take a “new look” at American foreign policy.

Thursday, September 19

Security Trade-Off? Implications of Cybersecurity Regulations and International Trade
Brookings Institution
10:00 – 11:00AM

As cybersecurity dominates headlines, governments around the world are exploring their role in securing networks for their citizens and business interests. While different countries may choose different courses of action, some approaches may–intentionally or accidentally–serve as barriers to international trade. Impeding the flow of information technology goods and services could have an impact beyond the immediate markets affects, and may inspire broader conflicts over trade or limit the benefits of IT to promote development and growth. On September 19, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings will release a paper on “Cybersecurity and Trade: National Policies, Global and Local Consequences” and host a panel discussion. Experts will explore the impact of national security regulations, highlighting the issues at stake in the context of ongoing trade negotiations around the world, recent disclosures by the NSA and the expanding role of governments in securing cyberspace around the world.

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
New America Foundation
12:15 – 1:30PM

Since the dawn of the nuclear age, a dilemma has been left unresolved. How can we possess and deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? In his book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Eric Schlosser casts light on the largely hidden world of America’s atomic arsenal, combining the thrilling, unsettling accounts of real-life nuclear accidents and near-misses with the stories of the officers, scientists, and policymakers who have devoted their lives to averting a nuclear holocaust—and in the process raises grave doubts about how much control we actually have.

Just for Fun: Neuroenhancement: Building an Improved Human Body and Mind
American Association for the Advancement of Science
5:30 – 7:00PM

Human enhancement is the notion that science and technology can be used to restore or expand cognitive and physical human capacities. It has received considerable public attention in recent years with the return of injured soldiers and the demand for prosthetic devices and with controversies surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports. This program will focus on a diverse set of enhancements for mind and body, examining the science of what can be done, what might be done in the near and far future, and what should be done. The remarkable opportunities created by scientific advancements are accompanied by ethical and policy challenges that demand a broader public conversation. Register for the event.

(image: Dell/Flickr)

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