PS21 Update: Week Ending September 11

2015-09-10 04.28.00
Yesterday in London we held another successful event, hosted by the European Interagency Security Forum, looking at lessons learned from the Nepal earthquake and other recent humanitarian disasters. The panel, moderated by Tom Beazley, included David Sanderson, Barnaby Willitts-King, Kate Gray and Dan Cooke. You can watch a video of the discussion here.  PS21 global fellow Gwenn Laine also produced a video interview with our board member Ari Ratner discussing his time in the US government.  

PS21 is currently seeking volunteers and interns to help support events and research in London, Washington DC and New York. Interested? Email
Want to write for PS21? E-mail the same address and we’ll forward to the editor.
Upcoming events:

September 21: The Dark Web 

PS21 looks beyond the regular internet into the reaches of the ‘dark web’. What is in it, what are the risks, and is it ultimately a tool for good or evil?

Moderator: Metsa Rahimi, Regional head of intelligence, Deutsche Bank

John Bassett, former GCHQ official, now at Oxford University

Tim Hardy, technical writer, commentator and activist

Mike Gillespie, Director of cyber research and strategy, The Security Institute


September 24: Transparency and Accountability in Afghanistan 

As the longest running and one of the most expensive wars in U.S. history winds down, just where did the money go? PS21 is delighted to present a discussion with the man looking into that very question, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko. After a successful PS21 event in DC this July, the Special Inspector General will be speaking in London at a PS21 event hosted by the UK Cabinet Office.

Moderator: Katherine Dixon, Programme Director, Transparency International UK


September 29: Strategic Defence and Security Review 

Join Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and Project for the Study of the 21st Century (PS21) for a discussion about the upcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). Our panelists will discuss the international implications of the SDSR, including the UK’s future in NATO.
Confirmed panelists include:
Moderator: Tom Bruxner, former British Army officer, PS21 Global Fellow

James Bergeron, Political Advisor to the Commander, Allied Maritime Command in Northwood.

John Bassett OBE, Associate Fellow for Cyber Security at RUSI.

Gwenn Laine, former French Navy Officer, now documentary filmmaker

Guests are required to wear a jacket and tie and ladies to conform to the same standard.


                   Washington DC

September 21: Is Nuclear War Risk Rising?

Is great power nuclear war back on the agenda? Ahead of the publication of PS21’s landmark survey of national security experts on conventional and nuclear conflict risk, we bring together a panel to discuss just how real the risks might be. This discussion — which comes ahead of the survey’s publication in the first week of October — will focus on where the greatest risk of superpower conflict might lie and how it might be avoided.
Because the survey is not yet published, this discussion will be off the record.
Moderator: Milena Rodban: independent political risk consultant, PS21 global fellow
Elbridge Colby:  former Pentagon nuclear strategist, senior fellow, Center for a New American Security
Scott Cheney-Peters: founder, Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC)

Rachel Rizzo: Program Assistant, Strategy Program, Brent Scowcroft Center, Atlantic Council


September 29: Making it as a Woman in DC 

What does it take to make it in DC as a woman? As part of its “inside DC” series, PS21 pulls together a unique collection of women from both sides of the aisle to discuss what it’s really like.
Moderator: Negar Razavi, Anthropologist, PS21 global fellow
Rachel Hoff: Director of Defense Analysis at the American Action Forum
Sarah Arkin: Senior Policy Adviser to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rachel Rizzo: Program Assistant, Strategy Program, Brent Scowcroft Center, Atlantic Council



This week on the blog:

Emmanuel Akinwotu looked at the serious challenges facing Nigerian President Buhari in his frist 10 0 days and we produced another PS21 Report: Beyond the SDSR, with insights from Philip Thicknesse, Josh Arnold-Forster, Patrick Bury, Tom Bruxner and Bob Judson.

We also published an article by an anonymous serving military officer from a NATO member state: ‘Not with a bang, but a white paper: How British power could fall apart this autumn’. This article was reprinted by US website Real Clear Defense, sparked an angry partial riposte from British website Think Defence and was also referenced in the US-based Small Wars Journal.

Other publications by PS21 members

As Queen Elizabeth the Second became England’s longest reigning monarch, PS21 board member Jonn Elledge turned a millennium of royal history into a pie chart for New Statesman. The Queen, it transpires, has been on the throne for 7% of the period since the Norman conquest in 1066.

Earlier this month, PS21 global fellow Ali Wyne’s piece ‘America’s mindset is its greatest threat to its national security’ was published in the New York Times.

Global fellow Milena Rodban, meanwhile, reports that some of her recent blog posts on political risk are now on the student reading list at New York University.

Previous PS21 Reports:
28/08/2015    Making it in DC and beyond 
29/07/2015    Kidnap & Ransom
28/07/2015    Social Media and Politics
01/07/2015    The Future of Drones
29/06/2015    Countering Violent Extremism 
Other Articles
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015   

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