Spring 2015 Biodefense Policy Seminar Line Up

The Biodefense Policy Seminars are monthly talks focused on biodefense and biosecurity broadly conceived. Free and open to the public, they feature leading figures within the academic, security, industry, and policy fields. Launched in the Spring of this year, the Seminars have been a tremendous success. Our Fall lineup features leaders from across the government and academic sectors, including Mahdi al-Jewari of the Iraq National Monitoring Authority, Dr. David Christian Hassell of the Department of Defense, and Dr. Gary Ackerman of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

Spring 2015 Biodefense Policy Seminars

February Seminar: Global Biorisk Management: The View from Iraq
Speaker: Mahdi al-Jewari, Head, Biology Department, Iraq National Monitoring Authority, Iraq Ministry of Science and Technology
Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 – 7:30pm; complimentary food will be served at 5:30pm
Location: Merten Hall 1204, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Mr. al-Jewari currently serves as a Visiting Research Fellow in the Biodefense Program at George Mason University where he is conducting research on biorisk management policy and practice. He is on leave from the Iraqi National Monitoring Authority in the Ministry of Science and Technology where he is head of the Biological Department. The Iraqi National Monitoring Authority is responsible for overseeing Iraq’s implementation of its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 1540. Mr. al-Jewari has served as the head of the Iraqi delegation to several BWC meetings. Mr. al-Jewari is the Ministry of Science and Technology’s representative to the National Biorisk Management Committee, an interagency effort to develop a comprehensive biosafety and biosecurity system for Iraq. Mr. Al-Jewari also serves as an expert for the UN Secretary-General’s mechanism for the investigation of alleged uses of chemical and biological weapons.

March Seminar: Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction – An Integrated Layered Approach
Speaker: Dr. David Christian Hassell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense, Department of Defense
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 – 7:30pm; complimentary food will be served at 5:30pm
Location: The Hub Meeting Room 5, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

HassellDr. David Christian “Chris” Hassell was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense in the Department of Defense in 2014. From 2008 until 2014, he served as an Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Director of the FBI Laboratory. During his tenure, he led major efforts to expand the Laboratory’s role in national security and intelligence, including the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) and other technical areas related to weapons of mass destruction. In addition, he strengthened and streamlined FBI programs in traditional forensics, particularly in such rapidly evolving areas as DNA, chemistry and the use of instrumentation to augment pattern-based forensic techniques (e.g., fingerprints, firearms, and documents). He also led many engagements with international counterparts, with focus on enhancing counterterrorism interactions with “Five-Eyes” partners, as well as new technical collaborations in Asia, Latin America and with such key multilateral groups as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and INTERPOL.

Dr. Hassell joined the Bureau from the Oklahoma State University Multispectral Laboratories, where he led Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation. He previously served as Assistant Vice President for Science and Technology at Applied Marine Technologies Incorporated. Prior to that position, Dr. Hassell led programs in analytical chemistry, instrumentation development, and nuclear weapons forensics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. During this time, he also served as a subject matter expert for chemical and biological weapons with the Iraq Survey Group in Baghdad. Earlier in his career, Dr. Hassell was a Senior Research Chemist at DuPont, developing online analytical instrumentation for chemical and bioprocess facilities for both research and manufacturing.

Dr. Hassell received his PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and a member of the American Chemical Society and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

April Seminar: Unconventional Methods for Assessing Unconventional Threats
Speaker: Dr. Gary Ackerman, Director, Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)
Speaker: Date: Thursday, April 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 – 7:30pm; complimentary food will be served at 5:30pm
Location: Merten Hall 1202, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

AckermanDr. Gary Ackerman is the Director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Prior to taking up his current position, he was Research Director and Special Projects Director at START and before that the Director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Research Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California.  His research encompasses various areas relating to terrorism and counterterrorism, including terrorist threat assessment, radicalization, terrorist technologies and motivations for using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons, and the modeling and simulation of terrorist behavior. He is the co-editor of Jihadists and Weapons of Mass Destruction (CRC Press, 2009), author of several articles on CBRN terrorism and has testified on terrorist motivations for using nuclear weapons before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. Dr. Ackerman received an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University and a Ph.D. in War Studies from King’s College London.

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