This Week in DC: Events

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The New Political Landscape of Afghanistan’s Neighborhood After ‘2014’
Wilson Center
12:00 – 1:00PM

So much attention is being devoted to the changing security situation in Afghanistan as US/NATO forces prepare to end the current mission and begin a new status in the country. Already, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors (and somewhat distant, such as Russia) are addressing what they see as the key concerns of the coming years. Some focus on the security challenges and the potential for civil war. Others are hedging their bets and look to the economic gains that could be made by dealing with a stable Afghanistan. Pessimists and optimists alike are looking to regional organizations as necessary in the coming years. Roger Kangas will speak about potential regional outcomes as the balance of security changes in the coming years.

Climate And Security: Views From The Global North And South
Stimson Center
1:00 – 2:30PM

The fourth installment of Stimson’s 2013 Environment and Security Discussion Series will explore the various ways that climate change is impacting the national security and economic development of two key countries in the Global North and Global South, respectively. Shiela Riordon will discuss the intersection of climate and security from a Canadian perspective, highlighting how a warming Arctic is influencing commercial shipping and economic development in Canada’s far north. Ambassdor Djalal will provide insights into how climate change is viewed through the lens of the Global South, discussing environmental pressures as they pertain to natural disasters, sea-level rise, and natural resource management in Indonesia.

Tuesday, October 22nd

2013 FPI Forum: Will America Lead?
Foreign Policy Initiative
9:00AM – 4:00PM

Featuring panels on: ‘Choosing to Lead – A Conversation with General John R. Allen’, ‘What Defense Does America Need?’, ‘The Crisis in Syria’, ‘Afghanistan 2014: What are the Stakes?’,’Assessing the Asia Rebalance’

Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability
Wilson Center

Global food price spikes in 2008 and again in 2011 coincided with a surge of political unrest in low- and middle-income countries. Citizens took to the streets in scores of nations, and in some places food riots turned violent. Governments and philanthropic foundations have begun redoubling efforts to resuscitate agricultural research and technology transfer, as well as to accelerate the modernization of food value chains to deliver high quality food inexpensively, faster, and in greater volumes to urban consumers. But is this enough? This seminar presents a newly published Oxford University Press volume that explores the complex relationship between food security and sociopolitical stability. A key message of the study is that actions taken in an effort to address food security stressors may have consequences for food security, stability, or both, that ultimately matter far more than the direct impacts of biophysical drivers such as climate or land or water scarcity. The means by which governments, firms, and private philanthropies tackle the food security challenge of the coming decade will fundamentally shape the relationship between food security and sociopolitical stability.

Securing The Nuclear Enterprise: What Nuclear Crises Teach Us About Future Security Threats
Stimson Center
11:30AM – 1:00PM

Next spring, the U.S will join other world governments and organizations in The Hague for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. Like previous gatherings in 2010 and 2012, the upcoming summit will include debate about the steps the global community must take to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of non-state actors. Central to this objective is the ability of nuclear armed states to maintain control over their weapons and sensitive materials. One way the U.S. can identify existing gaps in the control regime and prepare for the summit is by carefully studying previous nuclear weapons crises. During its Cultural Revolution, China nearly lost control of its nuclear arsenal. This history – little known in the U.S. – is both chilling and critical to understanding Chinese attitudes towards nuclear security. In the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center’s (NPEC) new study, Nuclear Weapons Security Crises: What Does History Teach?, Chinese nuclear weapons management expert and Executive Director of Project 2049 Institute Mark Stokes tells the story of China’s near-nuclear crisis and the lessons that can be learned from it. Come join us to celebrate the release of NPEC’s latest book and learn more about this important history. Lunch will be served and free copies of Nuclear Weapons Security Crises: What Does History Teach? will be available.

The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations
New America Foundation
12:15 – 1:30PM

In his new book, The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations, Dr. Jacob Shapiro uses an agency theory, a broad range of historical case studies, and the terrorists’ own documents to answer these questions. The first book to systematically examine the structural differences between terrorist groups, The Terrorist’s Dilemma discusses the core managerial challenges these groups face, and illustrates how the organizations are affected by their political goals and operational environments. Shapiro provides a historically-informed explanation for why some groups have little hierarchy, while others resemble miniature firms. Looking at groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, he highlights how consistent and widespread the terrorist’s dilemma — balancing the desire to maintain control with the need for secrecy — has been since the 1880s. Please join the New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program for a conversation about how Dr. Shapiro’s findings inform our current understanding of al-Qaeda, as it increasingly operates as a network of powerful regional affiliates.

Countering Violent Extremism
Johns Hopkins SAIS
4:00 – 6:30PM

Azar Nafisi, executive director of SAIS Cultural Conversations and SAIS Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) fellow, and Mahnaz Afkhami, president and founder of the Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, will discuss this topic.

Wednesday, October 23rd

Cybersecurity: 21st Century Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities
8:30AM – 10:00AM

Join the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the Financial Services Roundtable on October 23rd, 2013, at 8:30 AM for a panel discussion (Cybersecurity: 21st Century Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities) moderated by FSR CEO and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Topics discussed will include cyber espionage threats from foreign nations, defending the financial services sector from cyberterrorism, and how both the private and public sector can work together to strengthen American cybersecurity.

The Chemicals, the Conflict, and the Challenges in Syria

American Association for the Advancement of Science
5:00 – 6:30PM

On October 23, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy and the Federation of American Scientists are convening a panel to discuss the science and security involved in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 in Syria. The speakers will explore the technical, political, and regional issues surrounding chemical weapons in Syria, including: the technical solutions and expertise required to ensure accelerated destruction of chemical weapons; the broader regional impact of Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention; and the challenges involved in carrying out destruction in a civil war environment.

State and Local Fusion Centers: Key Challenges for the Next Decade
Homeland Security Policy Institute (GW)
9:30 – 11:30AM

State and local fusion centers were established in the years after the attacks of September 11th as a bottom-up response to the need for enhanced state and local connectivity to U.S. federal homeland security and counterterrorism activities. Over the past decade, nearly every state and many major urban areas have established a network of 78 fusion centers, which serve as key nodes for federal, state and local coordination on homeland security and terrorism activities.. Fusion centers also address many critical local and regional public safety issues. The Homeland Security Policy Institute is hosting a policy forum to discuss the roles played by state and local fusion centers, examine the challenges that they face, and look ahead to priorities for the future. The conference will feature keynote remarks by The Honorable Michael T. McCaul, Chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security, who recently released (along with former Committee Chairman Peter King) a staff report that examined the issue of state and local fusion centers.

SPP Brown Bag Seminar: Perspectives on the NSA Controversy and Related Surveillance Issues
GMU School of Public Policy
12:00 – 1:00PM

Join General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and Distinguished Visiting Professor at GMU SPP as he discusses the NSA controversy at this brown bag seminar.

Thursday, October 23rd

God’s Century? Assessing the ‘Clash’ of Secular & Religious Trends in the Middle East and North Africa – First Panel and Keynote
Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (Georgetown)
3:30PM – 7:45PM

This conference will feature expert observers of the region from the Georgetown University main campus and from the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, as well as invited scholars from other institutions. The papers presented will address a variety of themes pertaining to the development of secular & religious trends in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), focusing on different countries and sub-regions, and highlighting the impact of these trends on education; gender relations; family, clan and tribal bonds; print and electronic media; occupational and professional careers; religious beliefs and behavior; as well as political attitudes, political party affiliations, and electoral behavior. They will examine numerous and diverse causal roots, ranging from demography to globalization, and their major consequences, both violent and non-violent, for the political and social evolution of all these states.

Friday, October 25th

Dangerous World? Threat Perception and U.S. National Security
CATO Institute
8:30 – 10:45AM

Last year, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey contended that “we are living in the most dangerous time in my lifetime, right now.” This year, he was more assertive, stating that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” Is this accurate? At this conference, experts on international security will assess, and put in context, the supposed dangers to American security. Speakers will examine the most frequently referenced threats, including wars between nations and civil wars within nations. Panelists will also discuss the impact of rising nations, weapons proliferation, general unrest, transnational crime, and state failures, as well as technological developments, climate change, and the requirement to maintain a stable global economic system.

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