CHESTERTOWN, MD—Marking the 10-year anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States, a panel of top counterterrorism experts will convene at Washington College on Thursday, September 8, for an important dialogue on the current state of national security. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre on the Chestertown campus and will be simulcast through the College website, www.washcoll.edu.
Members of the Washington College community and the general public are encouraged to submit questions and comments for the panelists in advance by email to Matthew Icenroad, Assistant to the President, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting questions is midnight, Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Washington College president Mitchell B. Reiss, author of Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists (2010, Open Road) and a leading expert on American foreign policy, will serve as moderator. The panelists will be CIA veteran Cofer Black, retired U.S. Navy Admiral Dennis Blair, George Mason University professor Audrey Cronin, and Harvard professor of international affairs Sarah Sewall. Each brings a unique perspective based on his or her experiences or research in the fields of warfare, intelligence and international security issues.
In a career with the CIA that spanned nearly three decades, Cofer Black completed six operational tours abroad before serving as director of the agency’s Counterterrorist Center. From 2002 to 2005, he helped develop, coordinate and implement U.S. counterterrorism policies in the office of the Secretary of State.
2008 profile in Men’s Journal described Black as “the foremost expert on counterterrorism in the world today.” He is credited with tracking and helping to capture noted terrorist Carlos the Jackal in Khartoum, Sudan in 1994 and was later targeted for assassination by Osama Bin Laden.
After leaving the CIA, he joined the private business sector, first as Vice Chairman of the controversial private-security firm Blackwater Worldwide and then as Chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions. Since 2009 Black has been Vice President for Global Operations at Virginia-based Blackbird Technologies, which provides technology solutions for clients in the defense, intelligence, and law enforcement communities.
Admiral Dennis Blair, U.S. Navy (Ret.), served 34 years in the Navy, retiring in 2002 as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. He served as Director of National Intelligence from January 2009 to May 2010, leading 16 national intelligence agencies and administering a budget of $50 billion while providing integrated intelligence support to the President, Congress and operations in the field.
From 2003 to 2006, Blair was president and CEO of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA).From 2006 to 2008 he held the John M. Shalikashvili chair in national security studies studies at the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Omar M. Bradley Chair at the Army War College and Dickinson College.
He has been awarded four Defense Distinguished Service medals and three National Intelligence Distinguished Service medals. In addition, he has received decorations from the governments of Japan, Thailand, Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Blair earned a master’s degree in history and languages from Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar.
Audrey Cronin, the author of How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns (2009, Princeton University Press), recently joined the faculty of George Mason University’s School of Public Policy in Arlington, Va. Prior to that, she was director of the core course on military strategy at the U.S. National War College, where she revised the curriculum for senior military officers to include the study of Thucydides and an emphasis upon classics in the history and theory of war.
Cronin joined the War College in 2007 after a two-year stint at Oxford University (Nuffield College) as Director of Studies for the Oxford/Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War. Earlier in her career, she taught in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where she created a renowned graduate course on political violence and terrorism. She also has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland and Columbia University.
In addition to her 20-year career as a professor, Cronin, a graduate of Princeton University, holds extensive experience applying her research for government and military groups. She has served in various positions within the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, she advised members of Congress as a Specialist in Terrorism at the Congressional Research Service. Her previous books include Ending Terrorism: Lessons for Defeating al-Qaeda (Routledge, 2008) and Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy (Georgetown University Press, 2004).
Sarah Sewall, professor of international affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, has worked at the intersection of national security and humanitarianism throughout her career in government, academia, and non-governmental organizations. Her research focuses on U.S. national security strategy, civil-military relations, and the ethics of fighting insurgencies and terrorism.
Sewall is the founder and faculty director of the Mass Atrocity Response Operations (MARO) program, which she created in 2007 while serving as director of the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. MARO’s mission is to create a military concept of operations for intervening to halt mass atrocities. Sewall subsequently co-wrote Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook. She is also the co-author of Parameters of Partnership: U.S. Civil-Military Relations in the 21st Century (2009, CreateSpace). She led a seminal study for the U.S. military on efforts to reduce civilian casualties in 2010, and in 2008 directed the Obama Transition’s National Security Agency Review process.
Sewall was the first U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance during the Clinton Administration and previously served for six years (1987-1993) as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. A graduate of Harvard College, she received her doctorate from Oxford University.
The “9/11 Now” panel is sponsored by the College’s Richard L. Harwood Colloquy and the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. No tickets or reservations are required.