Selected Seminar Reports
Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook
Biological security concerns are permanent fixtures of history, ranging from Mother Nature’s infectious diseases to man-made threats by state and non-state actors. Thus, as the international community is currently approaching the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed an estimated 50-100 million people, it is assessing the implications of the recent epidemics of Ebola and Zika, considering potential dangers of biological terrorism, and beginning to offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national, regional, and global levels.
This June 2017 report on “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” serves as an academic effort to provide insights from former U.S. officials, members of Congress, and other experts on these looming security challenges.
Latin America continues to face multiple security challenges including natural disasters, infectious diseases, organized crime, terrorism, migration, economic development, and threats to democratic governance.
This April 2017 report on “Latin America’s Strategic Outlook: Populist Politics, Health Concerns, and Other Security Challenges” deals with recent security-related developments such as the Rio Olympics, the Zika epidemic, and post-Castro-era assessments.
The Lone Wolf Terrorist: Past Lessons, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies
The latest terrorist incidents in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, are once again a grim reminder of the expanding operational roles of "lone wolves." Whether they are self-radicalized or linked to home-grown or foreign groups, their involvement reflects a worrisome weakness in the security chain of modern society.
The purpose of this report is to focus only on some of the specifically “lone wolf” challenges among the larger man-made security threats to the safety, welfare, and rights of ordinary people; the stability of the state system; the impact on national, regional, and global economic development; the expansion of democratic societies; and the prevention of the destruction of civilization by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.
NATO's Strategy: Continuity or Change?
NATO, as it marked its 68th anniversary, is still facing a broad range of old and new challenges, including piracy, terrorism, regional and global conflicts, humanitarian crises, proliferation of WMD, and cyber threats.
In light of these and other strategic concerns, the latest NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016 focused inter alia on strengthening and modernizing the Alliance’s deterrence and defense posture and projecting stability beyond its Eastern borders. The question arises whether the 28 nations’ partnership will continue to play its essential political and military role in the coming years.
This January 2017 report on “NATO’s Strategy: Continuity or Change?” provides a recent academic effort to analyze whether NATO, at this stage of its evolution, is capable of completing its transformation from an earlier static defense alliance into a more effective regional and global security provider.
The Holy Jerusalem: A Key to Middle East War or Peace?
As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump is beginning to develop its Middle East foreign policy strategy, the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict still persists. In addition to the multiple outstanding issues to be resolved by the parties, such as the need for mutual recognition and the settling of boundary disputes, questions remain regarding the future of Jerusalem, the Holy City, which is considered by Israel as its eternal capital—and which the Palestinians also see as their own capital in a future state.
This current report on “The Holy Jerusalem: A Key to Middle East War or Peace?” provides a recent academic effort focusing on two questions. First, can religion in general serve as an effective bridge to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East and elsewhere? And second, will the antagonists and their partisan Jewish, Muslim, and Christian co-religionists be capable of a peaceful resolution on the final status of the Holy City?
Post-Attempted Coup in Turkey: Quo Vadis?
In the wake of the failed coup in July 2016, many questions have arisen both domestically and internationally regarding Turkey’s future political, social, economic, and strategic direction. Among them are how will Turkey to continue to maintain a balance between security concerns and civil liberties domestically, as well as contribute to international efforts, including NATO’s mission, to advance stability regionally and globally.
This current report on “Post-Attempted Coup in Turkey: Quo Vadis?” provides a recent academic effort focusing on these issues as well as other related strategic concerns include the refugee crisis, the impact on the fight against the Islamic State, and Turkey’s relations with regional and global powers.
The Role of the Military in Combating Terrorism
The public debate over the military’s role in combating terrorism directed against the Islamic State and other adversaries is intensifying. From Washington to Istanbul to Canberra, policy makers are currently considering both defensive and offensive strategies for the short and long term security challenges.A distinguished panel of military, diplomatic, and academic experts discuss a broad range of topics including threat analysis, crisis management, and unilateral and collective tactical responses.
Combating Terrorism: The Role of Intelligence
The failure of contemporary societies during the past sixty years in the post-World War II period to effectively combat terrorism at home and abroad is, indeed, puzzling. After all, all nations are fully aware that the most critical element in combating the challenge of terrorism is intelligence. That is, the knowledge acquired, whether overtly or covertly, for the purpose of both internal and external statecraft.
And yet, despite this awareness, the grim reality is that terrorism is still attractive and works...
The Refugee Crisis: Humanitarian and Security Implications
From time immemorial humanity has been challenged by a wide range of manmade calamities, usually resulting from criminality, corruption, political violence, and economic and technological disasters. These events have been labeled by historians and contemporary observers as dangers bringing fear, suffering, destruction, and death. Such misfortunes were also characterized as multiple forms of “humanitarian and security crises” facing all societies.One of the most lingering and devastating manifestations of this reality is the “refugee crisis.” According to a popular definition “refugees are people who vote with their feet,” as described by Berliner Illustrirte on crowds fleeing from Communist East Germany in its 1961 Special Issue. A more “formal” articulation of the term is provided by Merriam-Webster dictionary, stating that a refugee is “one that flees; especially: a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.”
Combating Terrorism: The Role of Law Enforcement
The purpose of this report is to deal only with some selected terrorism-related dangers, focusing on law enforcement and police responses.
Additionally, a wide range of academic and practitioners’ phraseology must be noted in connection with the meaning of “terrorism.” Generic terms such as radicalization, extremism, violence, conflicts, armed struggle, war, and even peace spring to mind. Thus, “terrorism” challenges include organized crime, piracy, low intensity or low-level conflicts, guerrilla campaigns, insurgencies, asymmetric warfare, civil wars, cyber dangers, and weapons of mass destruction (e.g., biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear).
In the face of such and other security concerns, the missions of law enforcement and police agencies are therefore linked directly or indirectly to broad frameworks of national, regional, and inter-regional response strategies and tactics. Among the numerous prevalent concepts, mention should be made of those such as anti-terrorism, combating terrorism, counter-insurgency efforts, clandestine operations, overseas contingency activities, targeted killings, and the global war on terrorism.
Russia's Strategic Puzzle: Past Lessons, Current Assessment, and Future Outlook
The “cloud” over Russia’s intentions, capabilities, and actions still lingers on. For nearly a century its conduct in the Eurasian region, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Baltics, the Middle East, and elsewhere has consistently been characterized as an “enigma.”
This current report on “Russia’s Strategic Puzzle: Past Lessons, Current Assessment, and Future Outlook” provides a modest academic effort to focus on the historical and contemporary context as well as on several case studies such as the Ukraine crisis and the Kremlin’s involvement in Syria. Contributions to this publication are by former government officials, a serving diplomat, and academics.
The co-sponsors of the report are the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, the International Center for Terrorism Studies at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at the International Law Institute.
NATO: Confronting Regional and Global Challenges
September 17, 2015: Topics covered are national and regional challenges such as Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, and the Middle East. Future policy options for the Alliance based on the historical lessons were also analyzed.
Combating the Islamic State: Is a New Strategic Blueprint Needed?
In view of the expanding challenges of the “Caliphate without borders” at home and abroad, is there a need for a new American strategy “to degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIL”? Should the Islamic State be viewed as a threat equal or greater than al-Qa’ida for the U.S. and the international community? In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, what is the outlook for future “best practices” options regarding the political, legal, law enforcement, diplomatic, and military responses? These and related security issues were discussed with former government and academic experts.
South and Central Asia Security Challenges
June 18, 2014: Topics discussed by a panel of experts included
assessments related to crime, terrorism, insurgency, cyber security and WMD as well as governmental and intergovernmental efforts to reduce future risks.
Europe: Quo Vadis?
(Political, Legal, and Security Perspectives)
July 30, 2014: A panel of experts discussed topics including democratic dynamics, radicalization, Ukraine, jihadist fighters, the Middle East and Asia, EU and NATO missions, and transatlantic
The Current Security Challenges in Africa
March 27, 2014: Africa matters to the United States and to its friends and allies for reasons ranging from its strategic geographic position to the threats posed by radicalization and violence to the vast economic opportunities and resources it offers. While the international community is currently focusing on crises in the Ukraine, Syria, and elsewhere, the security challenges in Africa also deserve much greater attention.
Latin America's Security Challenges in the 21st Century
August 2014: Since the end of World War II, Latin America has faced many security challenges. Despite national and international efforts to control domestic and regional conflicts, the level of violence has remained high. This report includes selected presentations by regional experts who participated at our prior events during the period from 2009-2014.
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: Endless or Endgames?
Apirl 30, 2014: Diplomatic negotiations over the status of historic Palestine began almost a century ago. For the past 66 years since the establishment of Israel numerous peace plans aiming to resolve the Middle East conflict have been advanced. In light of the just signed Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal, is the United States’ April 29th deadline to outline a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians doomed to fail? Will the Quartet’s political framework, namely, Palestinian recognition of Israel, their acceptance of prior agreements, and renunciation of terrorism continue to serve as fundamental conditions for future negotiations between the parties? What are the anticipated short and long term “game-changers” leading either to a diplomatic settlement or to continued violence and belligerency? These issues and related regional and global strategic implications will be discussed by government officials and academic experts.
Tehran’s Bomb Challenge: Crossroads, Roadblocks, and Roadmaps to Rapprochement?
December 5, 2013: In light of the growing debate over the Geneva deal with Iran as illustrated by the Senate’s move toward a new sanctions bill, a panel of experts will provide a timely assessment on issues such as the nuclear “red line” status, options for future trade-offs negotiations, and short and long term regional and global strategic implications.
Reassessing the WMD Challenges: The Next Phase?
October 30, 2013: The foremost security concerns in the Middle East and beyond are the future outlook for the dismantlement of Syria’s chemical weapons and preventing Iran from obtaining military nuclear capability. Can these issues be resolved peacefully? A distinguished panel of experts will assess both tactical and strategic perspectives for the coming months.
Maritime Security: Threat Assessments and Response Strategies
November 29, 2012: Maritime security is at the heart of the U.S. economy and critical to its military concerns. Piracy and terrorism on the high seas challenge freedom of navigation and the safety interests of global commerce. Government officials and private experts will assess current and future threats and discuss American and international response strategies in the maritime environment.
Diplomatic Security: Past Lessons and Future Outlook
September 27, 2012:The latest turmoil and violence in the Muslim world and elsewhere underscores the vulnerability of the facilities, personnel, and operations of diplomatic missions. The panel of practitioners and academics will discuss the historical lessons and the future outlook of diplomatic security for the United States and the broader international community.
Inevitable Last Resort: Syria or Iran First?
September 11, 2012: Experts discussed scenarios which could prompt international powers to intervene in the domestic actions of Syria and Iran.
Turkey's Partnership for Security: The Next Phase?
August 18, 2012: Turkey has developed an overall strategy tailored to meet the political and security challenges in every region of the world. In light of the unfolding uncertainties in the Middle East, the Caucuses, Central Asia and elsewhere, Turkey’s partnership for peace is becoming more critical than ever before. The panel of experts will focus on these issues, particularly focusing on the implications of the Arab Spring, the Syrian Crisis, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, identification of terrorism, and relations with the US, Europe, NATO, and the United Nations.
London Olympic Security: National and International Lessons
July 25, 2012: Concerns over the safety of the London Olympics were reported daily. Did the lessons drawn from previous Games prove their utility in preventing or mitigating terrorist threats during the event? A panel of experts will discuss several security issues, including intelligence, law enforcement, legal aspects, economic costs, media coverage and international implications
Middle East Security and the Changing Trans-Atlantic Partnership
June 28, 2012: Partial edited transcript of the event which focused on the evolution of NATO following the end of the Cold War. Experts discussed a multitude of issues concerning the military alliance as well as its possible convergence with security concerns in the Middle East.
Al-Qa'ida: Quo Vadis?: Marking the First Anniversary of "Operation Neptune Spear"
April 30, 2012: The death of bin Laden on May 2, 2011, signifies a major milestone for the United States and the international community’s war against terrorism. As we are marking the first anniversary of “Operation Neptune Spear” an assessment of the short and long term strategic and tactical lessons is offered by a team of experts who have been studying and combating al-Qa’ida for the past twenty years.
Nigeria and the al-Qa'ida Challenge: National, Regional, and Global Implications
March 25, 2012: The distinguished panel of participant-observers will offer analysis on the political, social, and economic context of Nigeria, Boko Haram’s profile (origin, modus operandi, foreign connections, etc.), the regional and inter-regional implications, and recommendations for short and long-term responses.
International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism: Review of 2011 and Outlook for 2012
February 2, 2012: The Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, VA) hosted a special seminar which conducted a review of 2011 terrorism activites, the importance of international cooperation, and a prediction for 2012's terrorism activities.
Strategic Responses to South Asia’s Security Challenges
The Inter-Parliamentary Council for Combating Terrorism (a consortium of current and former members of legislatures in dozens of countries with the academic support of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, IUCTS, at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and the Inter- University Center for Legal Studies, at the International Law Institute), hosted a seminar on “Strategic Responses to South Asia's Security Challenges” at the US Congress on January 18, 2012.
The New Middle East: Quo Vadis?
February 8, 2011: Transcript of a seminar discussing the beginnings of the 'Arab Spring' and how the movement might effect the security situation in the Middle East.
Terrorism: Review of 2010 and Outlook for 2011
January 31, 2011: Transcript of a seminar reviewing terrorist action during 2010 with remarks by the Former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence (CIA) Charles Allen and the Ambassadors of Morocco and Spain.
Iran and US Policy: Political, Legal, and Strategic Perspectives
November 22, 2010: Transcript of a seminar discussing U.S. policy in regards to Iran.
Turkish - U.S. Strategic Partnership: Past Experience and Future Outlook
October 6, 2010: Transcript of a dialog focusing on the bi-lateral security relationship between Turkey and the United States of America.
Hungary-U.S. Strategic Partnership: Past Experience and Future Outlook
July 8, 2010: Transcript of a dialog focusing on the bi-lateral security relationship between Hungary and the United States of America.
Romania-U.S. Strategic Partnership: Past Experience and Future Outlook
March 24, 2010: Transcript of a seminar focusing on the bi-lateral security relationship between Romania and the United States of America
Latin American Security Challenges in the 21st Century
September 21, 2009: Transcript of a seminar discussing possible security challenges the Latin American region may suffer in the 21st century. Panelist include the Ambassadors of Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica as well as the former ambassador of Spain and Congressman Eliot Engel.