This Week in DC: Events 11.18.13 – 11.22.13

Our featured event this week is the November Biodefense Policy Seminar this Thursday, featuring biodefense and non-proliferation expert, Dr. Kathleen Vogel. The event is free and open to the public – stop by!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Conference
8:00 AM

Join POLITICO for a conversation about how key players in emergency and disaster response allocate critical resources, plan for the unexpected and come up with innovative solutions to resolve unfinished business from 9/11 as well as prepare for the future.

New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military
Strategic Studies Institute
All day

The rapidly changing global energy supply situation, coupled with a host of social, political, and economic challenges facing consumer states, has significant implications for the United States generally and for the U.S. military specifically. The U.S. Army War College will gather experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association headquarters in Washington, DC on 19-20 November to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications. Following the conclusion of the conference, the U.S. Army War College will produce an edited volume consisting of contributor comments/papers, as well as a series of two-page decision-maker executive summaries that will be designed to shape U.S. national security policy and the American response to the ‘new realities.’

TRIA Triage: A Discussion of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act
National Journal
8:00 AM – 10:00AM

Following the September 11th attacks, many insurers stopped providing terrorism risk coverage after suffering what was then the most costly disaster in the history of insurance. In the wake of the financial disruption, the government enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act; a public-private cost-sharing arrangement that requires private insurance companies to provide terrorism risk coverage in exchange for federal financial backing. Without Congressional intervention, TRIA is currently scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2014. Join National Journal for a policy summit that will convene the nation’s top security, financial and insurance experts for a robust discussion concerning TRIA’s future. The discussion will explore questions such as: Is TRIA a common-sense solution that benefits insurers and policyholders alike, or do taxpayers bear the burden of unnecessary insurance bailouts? What other costly disasters might be on the horizon, and should TRIA be reauthorized at the end of next year?

Surveillance and Foreign Intelligence Gathering in the United States: The Current State of Play
Georgetown Law
9:30 AM

On Tuesday November 19, at 9:30 am (in Hart Auditorium), the Center and the National Security Law Society will co-host the second event in our three part series: Surveillance and Foreign Intelligence Gathering in the United States: Past, Present and Future.

Wednesday, November 20

New Visions for Citizen Science
Wilson Center
1:00 – 5:00 PM

Citizen science projects range from classifying galaxies and collecting environmental data to collectively solving the structure of an AIDS-related enzyme through a protein-folding game. The Commons Lab within the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center, in collaboration with TechChange and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Africa Program, invite you to join a conversation on open innovation and citizen science: What technologies support public participation in scientific research? How can projects ensure high-quality data collection and analysis, and support meaningful engagement with volunteers? How can federal agencies build partnerships to leverage these new approaches? What are the impacts to science, management, and policy, and how do we measure success? Opening remarks by Kumar Garg, Assistant Director for Learning and Innovation, Technology and Innovation Division, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Keynote by Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Terrorist Groups in Syria
U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
1:30 PM

Witnesses Mr. Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Adviser to the President, RAND Corporation; Mr. Phillip Smyth, Middle East Research Analyst, University of Maryland; Mr. Barak Barfi, Research Fellow, The New America Foundation

A New Model for Defense Intelligence
Brookings Institution
3:00 – 4:00 PM

The exponential rate of change in the present global environment makes today’s security landscape particularly challenging, and projections promise that the challenges will only increase. In this complex and uncertain future, intelligence, cyber, Special Operations Forces and international partnerships will take on more prominent and critical roles in the nation’s defense and warfare for decades to come. On November 20, the Intelligence Project at Brookings and the National Intelligence University will co-host a discussion with Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), to examine this uncertain future, DIA’s role in this complex security environment and a new model for defense intelligence that ensures preparedness to address these challenges and the crises of tomorrow. Flynn has also served as the director of intelligence at the U.S. Central Command, director of intelligence for the Joint Staff and director of intelligence for International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project, and President of the National Intelligence University, David Ellison, will provide introductory remarks, and Riedel will moderate the discussion. Following his remarks, General Flynn will take questions from the audience.

Thursday, November 21

Biodefense Policy Seminar – Project BACHUS: Forecasting Bioweapons Threats with Experiment and Demonstration
Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, GMU Fairfax Campus
7:20 PM

Dr. Kathleen Vogel will describe a 1990s bioweapons threat assessment that involved setting up a mock bioweapons production facility as an “experiment”. The talk will discuss the difference between a scientific experiment and scientific demonstration and why it is important to interrogate what things are labeled as “experiments” and the implications that has for bioweapons assessments. Kathleen Vogel is an associate professor at Cornell, with a joint appointment in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Vogel holds a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Princeton University. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty, Vogel was appointed as a William C. Foster Fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction in the Bureau of Nonproliferation. Vogel has also spent time as a visiting scholar at the Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratories and the Center for Nonprolif­eration Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her research focuses on studying the social and technical dimensions of bioweapons threats and the production of knowledge in intelligence assessments on WMD issues.

Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century
Heritage Foundation
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Nuclear weapons are as relevant today as they were decades ago. In 2009, President Obama advocated for a “world without nuclear weapons,” and recently reaffirmed this pledge during his speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The President stated that he intends to reduce U.S. deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third below the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty level. Meanwhile the U.S. nuclear triad continues to age. The Administration’s policy of “no new weapons,” potential unilateral reductions, and a lack of commitment to sustain U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure are raising questions about U.S. commitment to keep the weapons safe, secure, and reliable, and maintain its commitment to provide a nuclear umbrella to its allies around the world. Join us as our guests discuss the continued importance of U.S. nuclear weapons for our national security in light of today’s diverse challenges.

The Convergence of Crime and Terrorism
Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
12:00 – 2:ooPM

The nexus between crime and terrorism challenges US law enforcement in unique ways. Since the 1980s and 1990s, evidence has linked narcotics trade to ties between terrorism and transnational organized crime. Operating without borders and in areas of government instability, Latin American gangs such as MS-13 and Mexican cartels have been financing terrorist operations through the drug trade. Narco-trafficking is a lucrative business, and terrorist organizations such as the FARC, Hezbollah, and al-Qa’ida take advantage of this revenue stream. As Hezbollah linked Los Angeles gangs and Al-Shabaab linked groups in Minnesota have demonstrated, terrorist operations via the drug trade continue to operate in the United States. The panelists will discuss important issues surrounding these tactics on the national and local level.

Friday, November 22

Talking Science: Environmental and Health Communications in a Skeptical Era
Wilson Center
1:00 – 4:30PM

How can communications professionals, policymakers, and academic experts effectively communicate environmental and health issues in a skeptical era? In the first of two panels, communications directors from US and UN agencies and environmental and health NGOs will discuss the relationships and negotiations that underlie action (or inaction) in a major policy-making capital like Washington, D.C. In the second panel, five speakers will explore the cultural and social causes and consequences of climate change skepticism (especially American climate change skepticism) and consider the implications for national and international efforts to address global climate change. This discussion is sponsored by the Environmental Communication Division of the National Communication Association.

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