Week in DC: Events

February 23, 2015

Ebola Rapid Diagnostic Tests: What Lies Ahead?
Date: February 23, 10:00am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC

As the Ebola epidemic continues in West Africa, a major challenge impeding international efforts to “get to zero” Ebola cases and deaths is the absence of effective, portable, and affordable Ebola diagnostic tools. There has been a considerable push by industry, governments, NGOs, international organizations, and foundations to develop these new tests. While there are many promising tools on the horizon, there are still a number of challenges and unknowns that need to be considered in terms of research and development, and implementation.

Please join us at CSIS on Monday, February 23rd at 10:00am for a roundtable to discuss the status of Ebola diagnostic technologies, the current gaps that exist, and potential solutions. Our panel will include Dr. Michael Kurilla, Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases’ Office of BioDefense, Research Resources, and Translational Research; Rosemary Humes, Diagnostic Science Advisor at Health and Human Services; and Gene Walther, Independent Consultant to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation on Ebola Diagnostics. J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center will moderate.

Register here.

Standing Under ISIS Narratives: Implications of a Narrative Lens for Countering Extremism
Date: February 23, 12:00pm
Location: The Wilderness Society, 1615 M Street NW, Washington DC

ISIS continues to undermine the stability of the Middle East, as well as the security of western nations, spreading extremism via social media and recruiting globally. While the military effort to “degrade and destroy” ISIS has had some successes on the ground, the US and its allies find themselves unprepared to counter extremism or contain ISIS’s social media campaign. We cannot “counter” via rational arguments or logic. And the political strategies for pressuring compliance with international policy or promoting a negotiated peace are neither possible, nor practical. “Thinking narrative” offers not only a new lens on ISIS, but it also opens up new possibilities for changing the narrative landscape, at the international level, opening up new options for “countering extremism.” Sara Cobb will offer a short analysis of the ISIS narrative, which will provide the foundation for a discussion of what kinds of contributions a narrative lens could offer US policy makers.

Register here; Free for WFPG members, $25 for non-members.

Challenges Against Poverty, Malnutrition, and Infectious Disease
Date: February 23, 2:00pm
Location: U.S.-Japan Research Institute, Conference Room A, 2000 M Street NW, Washington DC

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of the century and increasingly recognized as a public health policy. Previous studies reported the relationship between the increased risk of infections and climate related disasters. Many countries have a high burden of climate-sensitive diseases, but public health capability to respond is not always optimal. Major diseases that are sensitive to climate change often become serious among vulnerable population. Household food security and maternal malnutrition are known to be linked with child mortality and growth. Low birth weight (LBW; <2,500g) is a major determinant of mortality, morbidity and disability in neonates, infancy and childhood and has long term impact on health outcomes in adult life. The prevalence of LBW is estimated to be 16% worldwide with a range of 3-40% and occurs mostly in developing countries. The incidence of LBW in Bangladesh, predominantly the result of intrauterine growth restriction, is one of the highest in the world. This study aims to describe the impact of climate-sensitive diseases on maternal and child health in Bangladesh. The results would contribute new evidence on vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition, and facilitate policies how to mitigate the impact of climate change among vulnerable population.

Register here.

Central Asian Fighters in Syria
Date: February 23, 3:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505, 1957 E Street NW, Washington DC

A discussion with Noah Tucker (Registan.net) and Eileen O’Connor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

RSVP here.

IERES’ Behind the Headlines Series Presents: Russia’s Security Agenda Under Putin: A Blurring of Internal and External Securities
Date: February 23, 4:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412, 1957 E Street NW, Washington DC

This talk investigates the evolution of Russia’s security policy under President Vladimir Putin in the 21st century, using a critical security studies approach. In particular, Snetkov examines the interrelationship between the internal-external nexus and the politics of (in)security and regime-building in Putin’s Russia.

RSVP here.

The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security
Date: February 23, 4:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

For four decades Brent Scowcroft has exerted a quiet, continued, and sometimes great influence over the conduct of US national security policy. Drawing on his new biography, The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security, Bartholomew Sparrow discusses how Scowcroft rose to become national security advisor under presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. He explores those occasions when Scowcroft’s voice particularly mattered, and addresses the relevance of his life and career to policymakers today.

Bartholomew Sparrow is a professor of Government at the University of Texas. He is the author of From the Outside In: World War II and the American StateThe Insular Cases and the Emergence of American Empire, and Uncertain Guardians: The News Media as a Political Institution. Sparrow has been a Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow and a Joan Shorenstein Center Fellow, and is the recipient of the Leonard D. White Award and the Franklin L. Burdette/Pi Sigma Alpha Award from the American Political Science Association.

RSVP here.

February 24, 2015

2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength
Date: February 24, 11:30am
Location: Heritage Foundation, Allison Auditorium, 217 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC

The 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength is a path-breaking, comprehensive research project, to be published annually, which assesses the ability of the United States Armed Forces to provide for the common defense. Taking its place as a flagship publication alongside Heritage’s Index of Economic Freedom and Index of Culture and Opportunity, the Military Strength Index analyzes the U.S. military’s status in capacity, capability, and readiness against an enduring strategic benchmark: the ability to fight and win two major regional contingency operations simultaneously. The publication further looks at how evolving threats and opportunities around the globe contribute to and influence this ability. Finally, the 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength provides individual analysis of overarching security themes such as how to think about National Security, the implications of prioritized national security policies like the Asia-Pacific pivot, and the critical roles played by strategic enablers such as the United States’ nuclear weapons capability and Special Operations Forces. Join us as for a special discussion of The Heritage Foundation’s new Index of U.S. Military Strength.

RSVP here to attend in person or watch online.

Japan’s Changing Security Policy and the Japan-U.S. Alliance
Date: February 24, 3:00pm
Location: East-West Center in Washington, Conference Room, 1819 L Street NW, Suite 600, Washington DC

Japanese security policy and the Japan-U.S. alliance are now in simultaneous transformation. On July 1, 2014, the Abe administration made a Cabinet decision on development of seamless security legislation, including the Government’s new view on Article 9 of the Constitution so that Japan may exercise the right of collective self-defense. Now the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Secretariat plays a central role in legislation work. In parallel, the Japanese Government is working with the U.S. Government to revise the 1997 Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. In this presentation, first of all, I will explain what Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) can do under the current legislation related to the 1997 Guidelines and what the SDF did for the Global War on Terrorism in the 2000s. Next, my presentation will describe major changes in Japanese security policy after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012. Finally, I will discuss the impact of Japan’s changing security policy on the Japan-U.S. alliance. My overall argument is that although the ongoing transformation of Japanese security policy should not be overestimated, it is still instrumental in strengthening and updating the bilateral alliance for the new security environment. 

Register here.

The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence
Date: February 24, 3:30pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

At the dawn of India’s independence in 1947, many worried about the threat India’s army might pose to democracy thanks to recruitment based explicitly on caste and religion. Yet, unlike in neighboring Pakistan, India’s army has not intervened in politics and the country has successfully preserved its democracy.

Steven Wilkinson will discuss how and why India has succeeded in keeping its army out of politics, drawing on research for his new book, Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence (Harvard University Press, 2015). He will explain the structures India has devised to balance army and nation, and consider their prospects for continued success in light of India’s rapidly changing society and external environment.

Carnegie’s Ashley Tellis, author of the recent report Unity in Difference: Overcoming the U.S.-India Divide, will serve as discussant. Milan Vaishnav will moderate.

Register here.

A Conversation with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell
Date: February 24, 8:10pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, Washington DC

Join the International Affairs Society for a conversation with Colonial Lawrence Wilkerson. Colonial Wilkerson served as Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, but since retiring, has become an active critic of the War in Iraq. In his talk with the IAS, he will be discussing the need for a new grand strategy in the United State’s security and foreign policy.

Register here.

February 25, 2015

U.S.-Ukraine Cooperation: Views from Ukrainian Parliamentarians
Date: February 25, 8:30am
Location: National Democratic Institute, Boardroom, 455 Massachusetts Ave NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC

The National Democratic Institute and the Brookings Institution invite you to join them on Wednesday, February 25, for a conversation with Ukrainian Members of Parliament, including key committee leaders, on the situation in Ukraine and opportunities for U.S.-Ukrainian partnerships.

Register here.

Maidan Film Screening
Date: February 25, 5:00pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Maidan is a 2014 documentary from the acclaimed Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa. From a protest to a movement to a full-scale revolution, the film chronicles the events that took place on Independence Square in Kyiv last winter. According to the New York Times, “Maidan is a film of scale and immediacy, finding artistry, for better or worse, in bearing witness.” One year after the overthrow of President Yanukovych, Carnegie invites you to join a screening ofMaidan and to a discussion reflecting on the dramatic events that led to the current crisis in relations between Russia and the West. The film will be shown in Ukrainian with English subtitles.

Following the screening, BuzzFeed’s Max Seddon and the Wall Street Journal’s Philip Shishkin—two reporters who have covered the conflict from eastern Ukraine over the past year—will discuss the film and the crisis. The discussion will be off the record. Light refreshments will be served.

Register here.

February 26, 2015

The Future of Cybersecurity Innovation
Date: February 26, 10:00am
Location: Regis Hotel, 16th and K Street NW, Washington DC

The US intelligence community has ranked cyberattacks as the No. 1 threat to national security – more than terrorist groups or weapons of mass destruction. But the military’s cyberwarriors fight these battles hunkered over computers, working with strings of code – a laborious process that requires advanced engineering skills. That’s why the Pentagon’s advanced research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is building a system to give the military instantaneous knowledge of network attacks by displaying them in real-time with rich graphics and 3-D visualizations.

Frank Pound, manager of the program, will join Passcode to give a demonstration of the in-progress system called Plan X. He’ll discuss how he’s building an “app store” to streamline cyber operations– which could fundamentally shift the way the military operates on the virtual battlefield. What will DARPA’s version of the Internet actually look like? How could technology like this help the military and the private sector in the future?

With one of DARPA’s most cutting-edge projects in mind, Passcode will then host a conversation about the broader themes of innovation in cybersecurity.

Register here.

Book Talk: “Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt”
Date: February 26, 12:30pm
Location: Georgetown University, ACMCU, ICC #270, 3700 O Street NW, Washington DC

In this talk, Professor Al-Arian will explore the causes for the re-emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood following its two-decade absence from Egyptian society. The decade of the 1970s was a vibrant era that saw the rise of a dynamic student movement in Egypt. Coupled with Sadat’s release of veteran Muslim Brotherhood figures from prison, the opportunity arose for a renewed Islamic movement to take root within an increasingly fraught political atmosphere. By the end of the Sadat era, the Muslim Brotherhood was reconstituted in large part due to the ability of the leadership to incorporate a broad segment of the student activist movement into its ranks. Professor Al-Arian will conclude by discussing the role that this generation has played in Egyptian society and politics in the decades since, including during the 2011 uprising and its aftermath.
Register here.

Unpacking the ISIS War Game: Preparing for Escalation
Date: February 26, 12:30pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

The current US strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS has achieved important tactical successes, but Washington is still far from achieving its stated goals. Even more, the strategy has not yet been fully tested by ISIS. However, events on the ground over the past few months suggest that the likelihood of escalation on the part of ISIS is increasing. Conventional as well as terrorist attacks by ISIS in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon suggest that it may be only a matter of time before the movement attacks core US strategic interests in the region.

An off-the-record, high-level war game recently conducted at the Brent Scowcroft Center’s Middle East Peace and Security Initiative challenged US strategy by analyzing two hypothetical scenarios in which ISIS resorted to escalation. How can Washington and its allies and partners in the coalition better prepare for these contingencies?

Please join the Atlantic Council on Thursday, February 26 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a discussion on the key findings from the war game and the strategic implications of potential ISIS escalation for the US-led coalition.

Register here to attend in person or watch online here.

Public Address by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Date: February 26, 1:30pm
Location: Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216, Washington DC

On February 26, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, will speak at an event hosted by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and the U.S. Institute of Peace in Hart Senate Office Building. The speech will come during her first trip to Washington since Liberia’s declaration of a state of emergency over the Ebola outbreak last July.

President Sirleaf will offer her thanks to the American people for their support during the Ebola crisis, to Congress for authorizing funding to help stop the outbreak, to the Administration for its deployment to the region, and to aid organizations for going to the region to care for those infected. The President will also discuss the need for sustained investment in the region’s public health infrastructure in order to prevent future outbreaks.

Register here.

The Rise of the Islamic State, the U.S. Military Campaign, and the Future of Iraq
Date: February 26, 2:00pm
Location: International Institute for Strategic Studies—U.S., 2121 K Street NW, Suite 801, Washington DC

The fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to the Islamic State in June 2014, indicated that the country had entered another profound crisis that once again put its very survival in question.  President Obama’s decision to launch an air campaign in support of the new Iraqi government indicated how serious the US government viewed the situation.  However, in spite of the undoubted military threat that the Islamic State poses, their rise is a symptom of a much larger set of primarily political pathologies that have dogged the Iraqi state since 2003.  This means Iraq cannot be stabilized through a military campaign alone.  A sustainable Iraqi state, at peace with its own population and its neighboring states would entail the fundamental reworking of the political structures put in place after regime change. Professor Dodge will examine how this process could be started and the chances of it succeeding.

RSVP here.

Countering Violent Extremism in Pakistan: Opportunities and Obstacles for Civil Society
Date: February 26, 2:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

The December 16, 2014, school massacre in Peshawar is a sobering reminder of the still-potent threat of militancy in Pakistan. Encouragingly, nongovernmental organizations have been developing grassroots initiatives to counter violent extremism—from candlelight vigils to anti-Taliban protests. These promising efforts, however, have to this point not grown into a nationwide campaign. What does Pakistani civil society hope to achieve with its anti-extremism movement? What can be done—by Pakistan and the United States—to help strengthen Pakistani civil society in its efforts against violent extremism? And what role can or should foreign assistance play? This event, coming on the heels of the White House’s Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, marks the release of “A Strategic Plan for Empowering Pakistan’s Civil Society to Counter Violent Extremism,” published by WORDE, and will feature presentations by researchers and activists on the front lines of civil society’s anti-extremism efforts in Pakistan.

RSVP here.

Poland and the Transatlantic Security System
Date: February 26, 4:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, Voesar Conference Room, 1957 E Street NW, Suite 412, Washington DC

Since the outbreak of the current Ukraine crisis, Poland’s national security has deteriorated. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Poland’s latest National Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland (adopted in November 2014) indicates that Poland is threatened with military attack and that Russia represents the main threat. For this reason, Poland has undertaken intensive actions to strengthen its national security. This talk will address the role of the Ukraine crisis in developing the transatlantic security system. It will provide a Polish perspective on U.S. actions in the ongoing crisis in the context of the three pillars of Poland’s security and defense policy: (1) building up the state’s own military resources and capabilities; (2) NATO membership and close relations with the USA; and (3) cooperation within the EU framework.

RSVP here.

A New U.S.-Cuba Policy: Did Cuba Win?
Date: February 26, 5:00pm
Location: Heritage Center at the Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

President Obama’s surprise announcement in December of his intention to reestablish formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has stirred vigorous debate.

Supporters justify the move by arguing that 50-plus years of diplomatic stalemate and sanctions have failed to bring freedom to the Cuban people.  They believe it was past time for a new policy that would give Cubans greater exposure to the United States and lead to more liberalization on the island.  Such a policy would also advance American interests in the Western Hemisphere more broadly given the unpopularity of U.S. sanctions against the Castro regime.

Opponents of the change argue that the Castro dictatorship has been handed a victory — formal recognition by the United States — in exchange for very little. Democratic opponents of the regime did not benefit, while the regime’s stranglehold on human freedom persists and the U.S. has relinquished key leverage for political change on the island.

On February 26, the McCain Institute will continue its Debate and Decision Series as leading experts tackle the question: A New U.S.-Cuba Policy:  Did Cuba Win?

Register here.

The Arab Spring@4–What Next?
Date: February 26, 6:30pm
Location: Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21), 1333 H Street NW, Washington DC

To celebrate the launch of its PS21 MIDEAST blog, the Project for Study of the 21st Century and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy bring you a discussion on a region in flux. Four years after the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the Middle East appears as stable as at any point in recent history. What went wrong, what might happen next and what, if anything, can the United States do to influence events?

The event will be on the record. Register here.

February 27, 2015

The U.S. Rebalance to Asia: The Political and Economic Roles of TPP in the Region
Date: February 27, 10:00am
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

In his latest State of the Union address, President Obama stressed the need for TPP to conclude successfully in order to keep the United States competitive in global markets. But as heated negotiations to conclude the world’s most ambitious trade deal continue, there is debate too about what exactly TPP will mean for broader economic stability and relations among Asian nations. Could TPP deepen regional cohesion among Asian nations and enhance political as well as economic stability in the region? Will TPP impact U.S. relations with TPP member countries and non-members, and if so, how? Join us in a discussion about the prospects for regional economic integration and how leadership in Asia may be influenced by TPP.

This event will be hosted together with the U.S.-Japan Research Institue (USJI)

RSVP here.

An Effective P5+1 Nuclear Deal with Iran and the Role of Congress
Date: February 27, 1:00pm
Location: National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC

Negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are racing to try to conclude a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran’s potential pathways to nuclear weapons by the end of March, with technical details on a final deal to be ironed out by the end of June.

Over the past year, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant progress on long-term solutions on several challenging issues. Following the most recent round of high-level talks, the two sides reportedly made progress on key remaining issues.

At the same time, key members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation and set unrealistic requirements for a nuclear deal. Also, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says he will introduce legislation this month that would give Congress the opportunity to vote to disapprove or approve a comprehensive nuclear agreement once and if it is completed. Both proposals have drawn a veto threat from the Obama administration.

The Arms Control Association will host a special press briefing featuring a former member of the U.S. negotiating team, a former professional staff member of the House intelligence committee, and Arms Control Association experts on the status of the negotiations, the likely outlines of a comprehensive agreement, and the appropriate role for Congress.

RSVP here.

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