Week in DC: Events

June 29, 2015

Degrade and Defeat: Examining the Anti-ISIS Strategy
Date: June 29, 9:00 am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, 2nd Floor Conference Center, Washington DC

June 9th, 2015 marked one year since Iraq’s second largest city fell to ISIS. Since the fall of Mosul, ISIS has suffered losses at the hands of coalition air power, Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga, and Shia militias. Despite this, ISIS has made worrisome gains in both Syria and Iraq, most recently by seizing Ramadi and expanding in Syria. Additionally, the group has attracted the bulk of the more than 22,000 foreign fighters arriving on the battlefield from more than 100 nations. U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to increase U.S. troop deployments to Iraq signals more is needed to degrade and defeat ISIS.

Please join the Transnational Threats Project for a dynamic discussion with Stephen Kappes, David Ignatius, and TNT Director Tom Sanderson as they review developments since the fall of Mosul in addition to the struggles ahead against ISIS and the conditions enabling their continued operations.

Register here to attend in person or watch live online here.

Yemen in Crisis: What Next?
Date: June 29, 9:00 am
Location: National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Rayburn House Office Building, Room B339, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee are hosting a public affairs briefing on “Yemen in Crisis: What Next?”

The featured specialists include Dr. Noel Brehony, Chair, Menas Associates; Former Chair, British Yemeni Society; Author, Yemen Divided: The Story of a Failed State in South Arabia; Ms. Sama’a Al-Hamdani, Analyst and Writer, Yemeniaty; former Assistant Political Officer, Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC; and Mr. Peter Salisbury, Journalist and Analyst, the Financial TimesThe EconomistVice News, and other publications; former Consultant, Chatham House Yemen Forum. Serving as moderator and facilitator will be Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations; and Member, U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and Subcommittee on Sanctions.

RSVP here.

Zero Hour—Examining the Iranian Nuclear Threat with Dr. Matthew Kroenig
Date: June 29, 12:00 pm
Location: Endowment for Middle East Truth

As the final round of negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program draw to a close, the public is left with more questions than answers. The results of these negotiations have the potential to set a new, and dangerous, precedent for the future of nuclear proliferation, as well as profound effects for the security of the U.S., our allies, and the global community. What was supposed to be a negotiation that would mitigate the threat posed by Iran has the potential to create more problems than solutions. Iran has become more aggressive in the midst of the P5+1 talks; with significant incursions being seen in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. The released framework resulted in inconsistent points between the various actors, and no substantive understandings to build from. In response to the amorphous nature of the discussions, skeptical U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia are exploring the nuclear option, creating the potential for a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

What is the threat we face from Iran? Will the negotiations mitigate these threats? What are the implications for a future deal?

Join us the day before the negotiation deadline, as Dr. Matthew Kroenig answers these questions and more. Call (712)432-0075 and use participant code 397784 to participate.

Diplomacy Beyond the Nation-State: An Ambassador’s Roundtable
Date: June 29, 2:00 pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

In an era of diffuse power, the 2015 QDDR makes a strong case for much greater diplomatic engagement with non-state actors. Similarly, the Atlantic Council has long made the case that more systematized engagement with non-state actors ought to become a core component of the US government’s strategic outlook. The Council’s first Strategy Paper, titled Dynamic Stability: US Strategy for a World in Transition, asserts that in a ‘Westphalian-Plus’ world, states must be able to harness the power and capabilities of non-state actors in order to succeed diplomatically.

Ambassadors from Chile, Morocco, Singapore, and other nations will join the State Department’s Thomas Perriello, Special Representative for the QDDR, at this event. They will discuss the forces of change in the twenty-first century and how the interstate system must adapt to harness these forces within a rapidly evolving global system.

Register here.

Policy Recommendations for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit
Date: June 29, 2:30 pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, 1st Floor Conference Center, Washington DC

The CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program, a member of the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), will host a briefing on the FMWG’s new report The Results We Need in 2016: Policy Recommendations for the Nuclear Security Summit, which offers innovative solutions to nuclear security challenges.

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) must result in bold, concrete commitments that will keep the world safe from acts of nuclear terrorism. To help achieve this goal, a group of respected international experts developed new recommendations that can help prevent such a tragedy.

Speakers at this event include: Andrew Bieniawski, of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; James Doyle, an independent analyst; and Sharon Squassoni, of the CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program.

Register here to attend in person or watch live online here.

June 30, 2015

Are Super Intelligent Computers Really A Threat to Humanity?
Date: June 30, 9:00 am
Location: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 610, Washington DC

While artificial intelligence is at the heart of some of the most notable innovations in the past decade, including Google’s self-driving car, IBM’s Watson, and Apple’s Siri, a number of technologists, including luminaries such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates, have spoken publicly about their concern that advances in artificial intelligence may eventually lead to the rise of supremely intelligent computers that could go out of control and threaten the very existence of mankind. These fears have gripped the popular imagination, in no small part because these ideas are widely represented in pop culture. This year alone has witnessed a parade of digital supervillains in blockbuster films such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ex Machina, and Terminator: Genisys. But is the sky really falling? Others argue that these fears are merely hyperbolic nonsense, ungrounded in reality and detrimental to technological progress.

Please join ITIF for a spirited discussion about the state of artificial intelligence, whether super intelligent computers will someday pose a threat to the human race, and how policymakers should respond to these ideas.

The event will be open to the public, and the proceedings will be recorded and webcast. Follow @ITIFdc during the event and join the conversation using #AI

Register here.

Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future
Date: June 30, 10:00 am
Location: Heritage Foundation, Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC

With the world focused on the nuclear crisis in Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, the problem of proliferation will become much more unwieldy. In this case, our security will be hostage not just to North Korea, Iran, or terrorists, but also to nuclear proliferation more generally, diplomatic miscalculations, and wars between a much larger number of possible players.

This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what we may be up against over the next few decades and how we currently think about this future. Will nuclear weapons spread in the next 20 years to more nations than just North Korea and possibly Iran? What is the current thinking about our nuclear proliferation future? Join us as a distinguished panel of experts examines these questions and more.

Register here.

Finding Its Way to the West? Ukraine and Its Challenges
Date: June 30, 11:00 am
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor Conference Room, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

The Maidan revolution was launched to ensure that Ukraine could make its European choice. Political rhetoric aside, what are Ukraine’s true prospects for success and how much assistance is the West really prepared to offer? In discussing these issues, the panelists will offer their impressions from recent visits to Ukraine and on-going discussions with leading European policymakers.

RSVP here.

Cyber Security: A Loo at Legal Implications and Risk Management
Date: June 30, 11:30 am
Location: International Stability Operations Association, 2101 L Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC

Cyber-attacks, data breaches and social media snafus are just a few reasons to be concerned with the current cyber security landscape. While cyber security remains at the top of the headlines in news outlets, many companies remain unaware of the implications a cyber security event can actually pose.

Join the International Stability Operations Association in partnership with Clements Worldwide for a free round-table event where a panel of experts will discuss the issues and challenges of cyber security as well as how to take the necessary steps to mitigate risk and what happens after a breach.

Register here.

July 1, 2015

Assessing State Fragility in Africa
Date: July 1, 10:00 am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, 2nd Floor Conference Center, Washington DC

Please join us for a discussion on state fragility in Africa as we examine its underlying causes and seek to identify strategies for building resilience in fragile states. The session will serve as the launch of a new IMF paper, “Building Resilience in Fragile States in Sub-Saharan Africa.” CSIS will also unveil the main findings of its year-long study into fragile states, informed by case studies from Africa and Southeast Asia. Panelists will explore how best to mitigate drivers of fragility, including achieving a balance between national and sub-national engagement, altering dysfunctional political economy dynamics, and improving development outcomes.

RSVP here.

July 2, 2015

Team of Teams: Lessons from JSOC for a Complex World
Date: July 2, 3:00 pm
Location: New America Foundation, 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional tactics were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly, then seemingly vanish into the local population. The Allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment, and training—but none of that seemed to matter. General McChrystal and his colleagues remade the task force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. In Team of Teams General McChrystal and his coauthors, David Silverman and Chris Fussell, show how the challenges they faced in Iraq, Afghanistan, and over a decade of special operations missions around the globe can be relevant to businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations here at home.

A retired four-star general, General McChrystal is the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is best known for developing and implementing the current counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a comprehensive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.

Chris Fussell, a co-author of Team of Teams, is a Senior Fellow at New America and spent 15 years on U.S. Navy SEAL Teams from war-torn Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan to the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. Fussell served as Aide-de-Camp to then-Lieutenant General McChrystal during General McChrystal’s final year commanding the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is also the Chief Growth Officer at CrossLead, the consulting firm that General McChrystal and his colleagues founded based on the theory laid out in Team of Teams.

New America is pleased to welcome General McChrystal and Mr. Fussell for a discussion of their book and the lessons from JSOC.

RSVP here.

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