Pandora Report 10.2

All this rain and grey weather (at least in DC) makes us want to curl up with a good book and luckily, we’ve got just the reading list! This week we’re sharing some top-notch work by our phenomenal faculty and alumni for you to enjoy. Earlier this week, straight out of a James Bond movie, Elon Musk presented Tesla’s Model X and its Bioweapon Defense Mode. Google had its 2015 Science Fair and a pretty amazing high school student took home top honors for her work on Ebola. Did I mention Kansas is prepping for the zombie apocalypse? Needless to say, there was a lot going on this week in the world of biodefense, so let’s venture down the rabbit hole….

 Zombie Preparedness Month Starts for Kansas 
I’m thinking we may need to take a class trip to Kansas since Governor, Sam Brownback, will be signing a proclamation to officially designate October as “Zombie Preparedness Month”! Brownback’s rationale is to emphasize preparedness in any form, stating, “If you’re prepared for zombies, you’re prepared for anything. Although an actual zombie apocalypse will never happen, the preparation for such an event is the same as for any disaster: make a disaster kit, have a plan, and practice it.” During Zombie Preparedness Month, state emergency management services will have activities and information for residents to help get their preparedness on. They’ll also be using social media to engage people people on these topics. The one thing we’ve learned in biodefense, Gov. Brownback, is to never say never!

Connecticut Teen Wins Google Science Award By Developing Affordable Ebola Test
High school junior, Olivia Hallisey, just took home the Google Science Fair top prize for developing an affordable and easy Ebola test in her project, “Ebola Assay Card”, which quickly (we’re talking 30 minutes quick!) detects the virus and doesn’t require refrigeration. Each test only costs $25 and picks up antigens on photo paper. Hallisey summarizes, “In this new device, that is stable and stored at room temperature, 30µl drops of water were used to dissolve silk-embedded reagents, initiating a timed-flow towards a center detection zone, where a positive (colored) result confirmed the presence of 500pg/ml Ebola(+)control antigens in 30min, at a cost of $25,” Hallisey hopes this project will encourage other girls to pursue their passions in science. Hallisey is truly an inspiration and we tip our hats to her passion for solving world problems while encouraging her peers!

Let’s Talk Dual-Use!
Come listen and chat with Dr. David R. Franz, former commander of USAMRIID, about balancing research and regulations when it comes to dual-use!
Date & Time: Monday, October 5, 2015, 4:30-6pm
Location: Hanover Hall, L-003 George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, see map

​Dr. Franz was the Chief Inspector on three United Nations Special Commission biological warfare inspection missions to Iraq and served as technical advisor on long-term monitoring.  He also served as a member of the first two US-UK teams that visited Russia in support of the Trilateral Joint Statement on Biological Weapons and as a member of the Trilateral Experts’ Committee for biological weapons negotiations.  He previously served as member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). Dr. Franz currently serves on several committees including the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control and the National Research Council Board on Life Sciences. Dr. Franz is a leader in the areas of cooperative threat reduction and health security and an expert in the development of U.S. regulations for biological threat reduction and biological security.  Dr. Franz will discuss the history and current debates related to U.S. and international regulations for select agents, dual use research of concern, and gain-of-function experiments.

1977 H1N1 Influenza Reemergence Reveals Gain-of-Function Hazards
Dr. Martin Furmanski discusses the gain-of-function (GoF) research hazards in relation to the 1977 H1N1 strain and it’s laboratory origins. Highlighting a previous article on the GoF debate, Dr. Furmanski notes that “separating the risks of vaccine development from those of basic GoF research is inappropriate, because GoF research seeks to discover antigenic and genomic changes that facilitate human-to-human transmission and/or augment virulence, with the aim of preemptively producing vaccines.” He also notes that while the 1977 H1N1 epidemic originated in a lab and it’s release was unintentional, the culprit laboratory matters little in the GoF debate.

Define Acceptable Cyberspace Behavior
GMU Biodefense alum, Dr. Daniel M. Gerstein, discusses the US-China cybersecurity agreement and the Friday announcement between Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama. The agreement highlights the mutual desire to prevent cybertheft of business secrets. Dr. Gerstein emphasizes that while this agreement is a step in the right direction, it points to larger preparedness and response capability gaps. He notes, “So while a U.S.-China agreement is a welcome step, it also underscores the greater issues facing the United States, and indeed the international community, in this largely ungoverned space.” Dr. Gerstein highlights the necessity to define cyberspace boundaries, especially as there are delays in DHS security system deployments while US vulnerabilities continue to develop.

Implementation for the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern
As of September 24, 2015, all institutions and USG funded agencies are now required to comply with the policies. Agencies now must have “a mechanisms in place to evaluate research that is potentially Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).” Institutions must also organize an Institutional Review Entity (IRE) to review and manage compliance with these requirements.

Dr. Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley’s  new book, Barriers to Bioweapons, received glowing reviews in the latest issue of Perspective on Politics. Her work, which is a staple for biodefense courses, and particularly this text, focusses on the perception of risk and lethality of bioweapons while addressing the realities of these assumptions. Ouagrham-Gormley discusses the key role of tacit versus explicit knowledge in the development and dissemination barriers for bioweapons. “The author identifies important factors internal to a weapons-development program- talented individuals and cohesive groups, corporate culture, communities of practice, organization structure- as critical nodes or ‘reservoirs’ of knowledge that must be configured to optimize the sharing of ideas and information.” The case studies of Iraqi and South African programs, as well as Aum Shinrikyo, lay the foundation for her points on the role of internal and external variables that can hinder or help a bioweapons program. Whether you’re reading  it for class (GMU Biodefense folks, I’m looking at you!) or you’re looking to brush up on nonproliferation, this book is a well-written and captivating necessity to understand bioweapon development. Did I mention how awesome the cover is?
Our very own GMU Biodefense PhD alum, Dr. Denise N. Baken, has a wonderful new book being released – let’s check it out! Al Qaeda : The Transformation of Terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa examines violence and the way it is marketed by the global terrorism industry.  Authors Denise Baken and Ioannis Mantzikos frame the violence discussion through the prism of its use by Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).Baken and Mantzikos look at the business parameters of violence –its cost, return on investment, efficiency, and effectiveness; They propose a new approach to that violence. One that looks at violence as a controlled commodity that evolved from Al Qaeda’s initial presentation of future possibilities, AQAP exploited those possibilities and ISIS pushed the boundaries of usability.
Stories You May Have Missed:

April 2015 Biodefense Policy Seminar

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.

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, 2015
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.

March 2015 Biodefense Policy Seminar–New Location

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.

March 2015 Biodefense Policy Seminar

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

Dr. David Christian “Chris” Hassell was appointed DHasselleputy 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.

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.

Biodefense Policy Seminar Wrap Up: Part 1

All Biodefense Policy Seminar events for Fall 2014 have concluded. Please enjoy a summary of the October 2014 event and join us for our Spring 2015 series. 

Carus and Caves

On Wednesday, October 22, Dr. W. Seth Carus and John P. Caves, both of the National Defense University, were speakers at the George Mason University Biodefense Policy Seminar on the topic of “The Future of Weapon of Mass Destruction in 2030.” Based on their 2014 paper of the same name, Carus and Caves investigate the possible nature and roles that WMD may play sixteen years from now.

In 2030, Carus and Caves argue, nuclear weapons may play an even larger role than they currently do. They anticipate that more states—for example, Japan and South Korea—could develop a nuclear arsenal in order to safeguard their own security. Proliferation isn’t the only threat that nuclear weapon pose, however. Carus and Caves also highlighted the potential for governments to lose physical control over existing weapons.

Furthermore, they said that the absence of current WMD terrorism is caused more by a lack of intent rather than lack of ability. Regarding chemical and biological weapons, Carus and Caves argue that these weapons could be more attractive in 2030 if the weapons have perceived military value, though they offer very little deterrent value.

In terms of U.S. policy, the speakers said that the United States should respond strongly to violations of WMD norms to deter proliferation. They also warned that if U.S. allies doubt the security guarantees of the United States, they may see developing their own weapons as the only surefire way to protect themselves in a multipolar world. Therefore, the United States needs to reinforce the strength of its security guarantees to prevent weapons proliferation among its allies.

So, should we be worried? Carus and Caves said that there will be a greater scope for WMD terrorism in 2030 thanks to new dual-use technologies that could make it easier to assemble, acquire, and deploy chemical or biological weapons. Moreover, the definition of WMD could change by 2030, beyond the traditional CBRN group, to include nanotechnology or cyber warfare. Overall, the speakers said that WMD in 2030 is likely to present a high consequence, low probability threat, but the danger of wider proliferation and increased use is still very real.

THIS WEDNESDAY: November Biodefense Policy Seminar

Title: Pathway to Civilian Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Requirement Setting and Utilization
Speaker: Richard I. Jaffe, M.S., Ph.D., MT(ASCP), Director, Medical Countermeasures, Strategy, & Requirements , Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Time: 7:30 – 9:00pm; food will be served at 7:00pm
Location: Research Hall 163, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Dr. Richard Jaffe is an internationally recognized subject matter expert in the field of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense issues with almost 30 years of technical and operational experience in government, academia, military, and industry.

Dr. Jaffe was the scientific lead for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s AMERITHRAX case in 2001-2003 while working at Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. in Richmond VA. There he led a scientific team that developed the molecular assays that provided the FBI the crucial scientific evidence to proceed in their investigation. From 2006-2012, as the Senior Medical Advisor to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense/Chemical and Biological Defense Programs at the Pentagon, he helped lead, guide, and integrate the Department of Defense’s (DoD) policies in areas such as medical countermeasures (MCM), diagnostics, public health, and biosurveillance.

Dr. Jaffe is currently the Director of the Division of Medical Countermeasures, Strategy, and Requirements in the Office for Policy and Planning, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS. The Division leads the efforts to develop policy initiatives, planning and analysis, activities for storage, dispensing, administration, etc., and requirements for MCM that help protect the U.S. civilian population during public health emergencies.

Dr. Jaffe received a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Medical College of Virginia, a M.S. in Human Genetics from George Washington University, and a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland. He is a board certified Medical Technologist and served honorably in the United States Air Force before separating at the rank of Major.

Dr. Michael Smith at the September BPS Talk

WP_20140917_004On Wednesday, September 17, Dr. Michael Smith, Director of the Department of Defense’s Critical Reagents Program (CRP) was the first speaker in the GMU Biodefense Program’s Biodefense Policy Seminars for Fall 2014. Dr. Smith’s spoke on the “Ebola Virus Epidemic 2014: Where the Rubber Met the Roadmap.”

Dr. Smith discussed the role of the Critical Reagents Program (CRP) in DoD’s biodefense program and its role in the West African Ebola outbreak. CRP is responsible for the characterization, production, and distribution of reagents and consumables employed on deployed diagnostic and detection platforms and those under development by other programs. The CRP provides standardized assays which can detect the presence of certain biological agents such as bacteria or viruses to the U.S. Government, companies with U.S. government contracts, and foreign governments. The CRP also maintains a large collection of microbial cultures, antibodies, and antigens for research and development purposes.

During the 2012 Ebola outbreak in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr. Smith and his team learned that the assay they had developed to test for the Ebola virus did not detect that specific strain of virus effectively. Learning this enabled the CRP to re-work their testing, which has been of great benefit during this 2014 outbreak. When Ebola virus emerged in Guinea—the first time the disease had appeared in West Africa—CRP was able to provide the new tests—free of charge—to neighboring Sierra Leone before the first case emerged in that country.

Given Sierra Leone’s almost complete lack of public health laboratory capacity, diagnosis and treatment had been based solely on clinical judgment. Since the initial stages of Ebola virus disease are similar to the early signs of other diseases such as malaria, basing diagnosis on clinical presentation is unreliable. The pre-positioning of advanced diagnostic systems in Sierra Leone enabled the country to identify patients much more quickly than during previous Ebola outbreaks.

While the use of the new assays has enabled real time confirmation of virus, Dr. Smith discussed other obstacles to getting the outbreak under control. The medical system in Sierra Leone relies on family members providing patients with food and supplies at hospitals that have no electricity or air conditioning. In situations like this, many patients may stay home rather than going to a clinic or isolation unit. Because of this, it is very possible that the numbers of infections and deaths could be significantly higher than estimated. According to reports cited by Dr. Smith, an estimated 1 in 3 individuals infected with Ebola are not seeking medical attention. In densely populated cities in West Africa, this provides an opportunity for the unchecked spread of the disease.

Despite these obstacles, however, the relationships that CRP has forged on the ground in Sierra Leone to improve laboratory capacity and the accuracy and timeliness of diagnostic tests has allowed CRP to expand its fight against Ebola. CRP has been granted access to clinical data and samples from patients who have survived the disease. CRP and its interagency partners hope that the blood and sera of those patients can be used to create new therapeutics or a vaccine for the Ebola virus.

 

The GMU Biodefense Policy Seminars are monthly talks that are free and open to the public and feature leading figures from the academic, security, industry and policy fields discussing critical issues in biodefense. For more information, please visit https://pandorareport.org/events/biodefense-policy-seminar-series/.

September 2014 Biodefense Policy Seminar

Title: Biosurveillance and the Atypical Epidemic: The 2014 West African Ebola Epidemic
Speaker: Dr. Michael Smith, Director of the Critical Reagents Program (CRP) within the Medical Countermeasure Systems Joint Project Management Office, Department of Defense
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Time: 7:30 – 9:00pm; food will be served at 7:00pm
Location: George Mason University, Fairfax Campus, Research Hall 163

September BPSDr. Michael Smith is the Director of the Critical Reagents Program (CRP) within the Medical Countermeasure Systems Joint Project Management Office (MCS JPMO) headquartered at Fort Detrick, Maryland. In this role, he manages the characterization, production, and distribution of reagents and consumables employed on deployed platforms and those under development by other programs.

Previously, he served in the United States Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. He has also held several positions at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), including senior science and technology manager and most recently, acting division chief, Diagnostic and Disease Surveillance Division of the Joint Science and Technology Office. In December 2011, Dr. Smith became the director of the CRP within the Chemical Biological Medical Systems (CBMS) JPMO where he continued to serve through the transition of CBMS into the MCS JPMO. Mr. Smith assumed his current role as Director of the CRP in June 2013.

Dr. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University. He continued his education and attained both a master’s degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in Molecular Microbiology from Yale University.

This Week in DC: Events

Monday, March 31

Celebrating Women in Cyber Security
Date: March 31, 9:30 – 11:30am
Location: The George Washington University, Marvin Center, 3rd Floor Ampitheater, 800 21st Street NW, Washington DC 20052

On March 31, 2014 join the George Washington University Cybersecurity Initiative and an outstanding panel of women leaders in the cybersecurity field. These panelists will reflect on their experiences, discuss the future of cybersecurity, and address the need for women to join the field in greater numbers.

This discussion will be followed by a networking opportunity for all participants. This event is also sponsored by GWU Global Women’s Institute.

Register here.

International Drug Policy Debate
Date: March 31, 10:00 – 11:30am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC

Ambassador William R. Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, will lead off with remarks on U.S. and international drug policies, drawing from his participation in the recent meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), held on March 13-14 in Vienna, Austria. As the premier drug control policy making body within the UN system, the CND addressed countering illicit drugs and the power of criminal cartels, strengthening public health approaches, and recent legal changes and the challenges of judicial coordination. The CND is also one of several bodies contributing to debates in the lead-up to the 2016 UN Special Session on Drugs. Following Ambassador Brownfield’s address, there will be a roundtable conversation, moderated by J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, that will feature  Ambassador Brownfield, Kevin Sabet, former Senior Advisor to Director Kerlikowske at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and currently Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, Michel Kazaktchine andRuth Dreifuss, two members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy launched in 2011 by 22 international leaders with a special focus on harm reduction and related public health approaches. Michel Kazatchkine is also the former Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and currently the UNSG’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Ruth Dreifuss is the former Minister of Health and President of the Swiss Confederation.

RSVP here.

Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Requirements for a Final Deal
Date: March 31, 10:00 – 11:30am
Location: Brookings Institution, Saul/ Zilkha Rooms, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

The Joint Plan of Action adopted by Iran and the P5+1 partners in Geneva on November 24 was an important first step in the effort to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. Iran and the P5+1 nations appear to be fulfilling their commitments under the six-month interim agreement – but reaching a final deal will be challenging, as the sides remain far apart on key issues.

In his Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Series paper, “Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement,” Robert Einhorn explores the difficult issues facing negotiators as they prepare for their next round of talks, scheduled for the week of April 7. In addition to analyzing Iran’s intentions toward nuclear weapons and discussing the principal issues in the negotiations, he outlines the key requirements for an acceptable comprehensive agreement that would prevent Iran from having a rapid nuclear breakout capability and deter a future Iranian decision to build nuclear weapons.

On March 31, the Brookings Institution will host a panel to discuss the Iran nuclear negotiations, especially to consider the elements of a final deal and the policies supplementing it that would be required to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and serve the security interests of the United States and its security partners in the Middle East. Brookings Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, will serve as moderator. Panelists include Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Einhorn, former special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Dennis Ross, counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Frank N. von Hippel, professor of public and international affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

Register here.

Global Health Law: A Book Event
Date: March 31, 5:00 – 8:00pm
Location: Georgetown University Law School, Gweirz 12th, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington DC 20001

A panel discussion celebrating the publication of Global Health Law, by Lawrence O. Gostin, University Professor and Founding Linda D. and Timothy J. O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Gostin also directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Discussion topics will range from AIDS, pandemic influenza and MERS to obesity and biosecurity.

Biodefense Policy Seminar
Date: March 31, 5:00pm
Location: George Mason University, Mason Hall D003, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax VA 22030

Our March Biodefense Policy Seminar features Dana Perkins, Senior Science Advisor, DHHS — member of the 1540 Committee Group of Experts. Dr. Perkins earned a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bucharest, Romania. She also earned a PhD in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in 2002 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she specialized in Microbiology/Neurovirology. In 2012-2013, Dana Perkins served in a US Government-seconded position as a member of the Group of Experts supporting a subsidiary body of the United Nations Security Council, the 1540 Committee. The 1540 Committee was established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) to monitor the implementation of this resolution worldwide. In her prior position with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), she led the Biological Weapons Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism Branch in the Office of Policy and Planning, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). At HHS/ASPR, some of her responsibilities and duties included providing subject matter expertise, inter-agency coordination, and senior level policy advice on the scientific (biodefense and biosecurity) and public health aspects of national and international emergency preparedness and response; directing and coordinating national and international progress on issues related to biodefense and biosecurity; developing and reviewing policies on biosecurity, biological weapons nonproliferation, and health security; and performing expert analysis and preparing implementation plans to support the US Government biodefense and biosecurity policy.

Tuesday, April 1

Big Data, Life Sciences, and National Security
Date: April 1, 8:15am – 6:00pm
Location: Renaissance Washington DC Downtown, 999 9th Street NW, Washington DC 20001

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy (CSTSP) and the Biological Countermeasures Unit of the WMD Directorate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) present a public event on the implications of big data and analytics to national and international biological security.

Big data and analytics are increasingly becoming vital components in the pursuit of advanced applications for scientific knowledge development, health care analyses, and global health security. Big data and analytics in the biological sciences might also present risks and unique challenges to national and international security. In preparation for our event, CSTSP have conducted a series of interview investigating the subject with Daniela Witten, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Washington, Subha Madhavan, Director of the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Georgetown University Medical Center, and Angel Hsu, Director of the Environmental Performance Index, a joint project between the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University.

This event will bring together scientists across a range of disciplines, security professionals, and science and security policy experts to explore ways to leverage the beneficial applications and identify potential risks of big data and analytics to biological security.

The event will be broadcast live via an interactive webcast which can be accessed here. RSVP here.

Senator Mark Warner: Budgets and the Future of America’s Defense Industry
Date: April 1, 8:30am
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th floor, Washington DC

For the past several years, the Department of Defense has struggled with continuing resolutions and budget uncertainty. With the passage of the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act and an omnibus fiscal year 2014 spending bill, the Pentagon now has certainty on its budget levels but must adjust to accommodate flat-lining defense spending for the foreseeable future. Some investment and equipment modernization accounts are certain to face cuts this year and in the future, necessitating that the defense industrial base adapt to a “new normal” of reduced spending.

Our featured speaker, Senator Mark Warner, sat on the Budget Conference Committee panel that drafted the Bipartisan Budget Act and is the senior senator of Virginia, a state with a significant concentration of defense industry facilities. His remarks will address what budget reductions may mean for the future of the defense industrial base.

Can’t attend? Watch the event online here. Register here.

Battle on the Final Frontier: A Discussion of National Security and Space
Date: April 1, 12:30 – 1:30pm
Location: 1100 New York Ave NW, 7th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

The last time that the mass media looked at national security and space, we were in a very different time.  The United States was embroiled in the Cold War and the danger of nuclear annihilation was at the forefront of most people’s minds.  Although we have advanced from that point, technological developments in space beg the question: how is our current space technology tied to our national security needs? How is our reliance on Russian technology made us vulnerable? How can we enhance our national security and support American research and investment?

Join ASP as Lieutenant General Norman Seip, 12th Air Force Commander and Adjunct Fellow, August Cole discuss the relationship between these two important policy areas of the 21st century.  The conversation will be on the record.

RSVP here by March 31.

The Collapse of Russian State Institutions: How the Kremlin’s Energy Dependence Undermines Foreign Policy Decision
Date: April 1, 12:30pm
Location: Center on Global Interests, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20035

In the last 15 years, Russia has become increasingly reliant on oil and gas wealth to sustain its economy. As a result, the major players in Russia’s resource industries have acquired a disproportionate influence over Russian politics. This has undermined the authority of Russia’s foreign policy institutions by allowing a small group of decision-makers, who rarely consult with Russia’s professional foreign policy bureaucracy, to set the domestic and foreign policy agenda.

How should Western officials respond to Russia’s insular policy-making, and how might Western sanctions—including energy sanctions—influence key decision-makers in Russia? Using the Second Chechen War and the 2008 Georgian War as case studies, Emma Ashford will examine the extent to which Russian foreign policy institutions function in an informational vacuum and provide recommendations for how U.S. policymakers can mitigate this problem, particularly with regard to the Ukraine crisis.

Register here.

Wednesday, April 2

U.S. – Taiwan Security Relations
Date: April 2, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel, Salon G, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20004

The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which provides the legal basis for U.S. relations with Taiwan, was enacted 35 years ago. Since then, the U.S.-Taiwan relationship has weathered changes in the security environment, but remains strong today. However, as the United States rebalances to the Asia-Pacific, the time is ripe to examine how the regional environment has evolved since 1979 – particularly with the economic and military rise of China – and how those changes affect the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.

Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of National Defense, Andrew Hsia, will make a keynote speech, followed by a panel discussion with American experts. The Honorable Patrick M. Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the CNAS Asia-Pacific Security Program, will moderate the panel with remarks by Alan Romberg, Distinguished Fellow and Director of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center and Abraham Denmark, Vice President for Political and Security Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Space is limited. RSVP here.

Drug Supply Chain Security: US References to China
Date: April 2, 1:30pm
Location: Georgetown University Law Center, McDonough Hall 437, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington DC 20001

Gaotong “Otto” Zhang works in the regulatory department at the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) as a deputy consultant. In this capacity, Zhang drafts and revises proposed laws and regulations, as well as CFDA rules and provisions related to drug and medical devices. Zhang holds a Bachelors degree in Law from Lanzhou University and a Masters in Law from China University of Political Science and Law. Currently, he is a Humphrey Fellow at American University Washington College of Law, and is conducting a comparative research on drug supply chain management at O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He hopes to learn from U.S. Food and Drug Law as a reference for China’s ongoing regulatory reform in the food and drug law area.

Thursday, April 3

SAIS Asia Conference: Development and Security in Asia
Date: April 3, 8:45am – 4:15pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Rome Auditorium, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036

Various speakers will participate in the conference. Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, will deliver morning remarks, and John Negroponte, former U.S. deputy secretary of state and former director of national intelligence, will deliver afternoon remarks. For a complete agenda and RSVP information, visit: http://asiaconference.org/.

Security Policy Forum: Ending the War in Afghanistan
Date: April 3, 6:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602,  1957 E Street NW, Washington DC

Stephen Biddle, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, GW in a talk moderated by Michael E. Brown, Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, GW

Stephen Biddle is a professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University. Professor Biddle has presented testimony before congressional committees on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, force planning, net assessment, and European arms control. He served on General David Petraeus’ Joint Strategic Assessment Team in Baghdad in 2007, on General Stanley McChrystal’s Initial Strategic Assessment Team in Kabul in 2009, and as a senior advisor to General Petraeus’ Central Command Assessment Team in Washington in 2008-09.

RSVP here.

Friday, April 4

Escaping the Crisis Trap: New Options for Haiti
Date: April 4, 12:00 – 2:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

In collaboration with the Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE) and the Legatum Institute, the Wilson Center invites you to join a discussion on Haiti’s potential for growth, development and stable governance on April 4th, 12-2pm.

Looking back at lessons from past efforts to support Haiti’s development and recovery, and forward to Haiti’s great assets and real potential, a new study argues that there’s an opportunity for Haitians and their partners to set a different agenda for the future. What lessons must we learn for future aid responses? What would it take for citizens to build a consensus on an agenda for creating an accountable Haitian state and an inclusive economy? Please join us for a discussion of ‘Escaping the Crisis Trap: New Options for Haiti’, authored by Clare Lockhart, co-founder and director of The Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE) and Johanna Mendelson Forman, non-resident Senior Associate for the Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation (C3) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

RSVP here.