Imagining 2030: Hope Renewed

Imagining 2030 is a series in which PS21 writers describe the world as they see it in 14 years time.  

Scott Cheney-Peters is a civil servant at the State Department, founder of the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC), a Reserve surface warfare officer in the Navy’s strategy office, a Truman National Security Project fellow, and a CNAS Next-Gen National Security Leader fellow.

Richard Lum is the founder and chief executive of Vision Foresight Strategy. He is an academically trained futurist and holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i’s Alternative Futures Program.

 

“That’s it, right there,” said Ashik. Through beat-up VR goggles he saw an over-the-shoulder view of one unmanned underwater vehicle approaching another, larger, unmanned underwater tender. What he saw was only a simulated rendering based on inertial navigation data, but he knew that if he could see them, both machines would be visibly in need of overhauls – or retirement. The words “Operator – Take Manual Control” flashing across his lower field of vision piqued his curiosity.

“Uh, Rima…you still awake?” he called out through the goggles’ integrated microphone as an indicator ticked down the distance to the tender. “This chickadee is coming home to mother hen pretty quick.”

“Yep, sorry, almost there,” crackled the response through his headphones. A low monotonous tone began buzzing at more frequent intervals as the warning continued to flash on screen. It wasn’t like Rima to be away from her control console before an approach; she had a way of manufacturing enough anxiety without inducing real cause for concern.

The alarm silenced and the words “Manual Control Initiated” appeared briefly before fading from Ashik’s display.  

“Sorry, back!” she exclaimed, out of breath. The speed with which the UUV operator was handling the inbound vehicle told Ashik she was either supremely confident or completely impatient. Knowing his little sister, it was definitely the latter. “Careful now…. ease it in,” he said into the microphone. Had he been with her in the dimly lit control room he would have given her a squeeze on her shoulder, as he always had when reminding her to focus and relax. Even though she was over seven hundred nautical miles away on a different ship, his old home, practicing for her UUV/USV rating, he could clearly picture the thin line of perspiration that would be beading in the fold of her neck. As she successfully mated the UUV with the tender Ashik’s simulated feed dissolved as she powered down her machine.

“You know,” said Rima over the VOIP channel still feeding into Ashik’s earbuds, “better systems automate this part too so you can spend more time on maintenance.” Ashik detached the goggles from the headset and placed them on the console in front of him, careful to avoid the dark, congealed pools of recent beverage spills.  “Jess, my friend on that lashed-up refinery Kerama-way,” Rima continued, “she even has an on-mother printer so they can keep the tenders out for more than two weeks.”

“Is that where you were? Doing maintenance?” Ashik tried not to let his suspicion creep into his voice – he knew she already thought him protective to the point of overbearing.  

“Yeah, was installing a few software patches on the drones in the bay and lost track of time.”

Plausible. He wasn’t sure why he doubted her answer.

“Anyway, how do you know what “better systems” have? This from spending all your time gossiping on the net with your friends?”

“Uh, no,” she replied, her voice betraying no small amount of irritation. “From reading the professional notes, which is how you make me spend my time. Unfortunately, you’ll be far too busy soon with your new job to keep watching over my shoulder,” she said. Despite the clear sarcasm in her voice, Ashik thought he detected a faint note of sadness.  

“That’s what you think,” winked Ashik. “There’s always drones.”  He heard her bark a laugh on the other end of the line.  Once when they were younger, just after they had lost their parents, Ashik had rigged up two micro drones from scraps around their village and programmed them to follow her day and night. She had been furious at the time, but now it was a private joke between them. “Besides,” he said, “you’ll not be much further away than your little friend there, three days out on its mission into the Wop-Gop.”

“Ugh, the first thing I’m going to do is start calling things by their technical terms – mothership UUVs and their USVs, not ‘mother hens’ and their ‘chickadees.’ And don’t get me started on the Western Pacific Garbage Patch,” Rima said, crisply articulating each word. “Seriously, Wop-Gop?”

“Look,” Ashik sighed. “I know you’ve got the manuals, but you’ve got to focus on your training and studies, no …”

“I can’t have my whole life be this… this garbage,” Rima cut in. “You love it out here, but you know I’m going ashore when I can. Besides, I’m apparently going to be just the latest thing my big brother gets to remotely control, so why should I stress with studies if you’ll always be able to help me out of a jam.”

“Rima. That’s not fair. You know us coming out here to do these jobs wasn’t a choice. After the mercy ship picked us up it was either contribute here or go back to all that death and misery. No one ashore would have taken us and we’d already lost …” he dropped his gaze to the goggles on the console. “Well, you know all that. More important, it was the thought of giving you, my chickadee, a chance at something better.”

“Eeesh! Okay, this just got way too sappy,” Rima exclaimed in his ear just as Ashik exited through the hatch of the spare UUV control shack. He started towards the scuttle that would take him up to the common room and mess three decks above for a hot meal.

Ashik had left Hope Renewed, the waste-recycling vessel, or “waster,” where they had lived for five years after their initial ordeal. In those days, placement options by the refugee charities and governments that supported them in an attempt to stem the human tide had been limited. But the stateless, floating economy continued to develop and expand as more and more people tried their luck forging a life at sea, driven by libertarian ideology or—more commonly—by necessity. Now, after a year of specialized remote training, Ashik was just three weeks into work at a new aquaponics farm east of the Philippines to begin an apprenticeship. Grow and reuse, two stages in a larger cycle of material use. This, at least, was how Ashik had come to link the two jobs as he tried to draw connections between the disparate chapters of his own life.  

“Anyway, we don’t know how well this connection’s going to hold up,” Ashik said as he pulled himself up the metal hand bars of the scuttle. “So you might have your independence after all.”

As Ashik reached the common room he heard a commotion on the other end of the line.

“Rima, is that the ship’s intercom?”

“Yeah, not sure I can make it out any better than you though.”

Indecipherable as usual, thought Ashik as the sound bleed through his earbuds, a mix of static and the elongated consonants of Jamal, advisor to the mayor of Hope Renewed and muezzin. But even without looking at the clock he knew the call to prayer wasn’t due for another several hours.

“I think he’s trying to muster the ship’s militia?” Rima offered before the line went dead.

 

———————————

 

Commander Jeanne Collet stared at the vessel off Guépratte’s starboard bow, gripping the railing of the bridge wing even though aware the four feet closer from her bridge wing chair made no practical difference. With successive exaggerated winks she flicked through the optical enhancements and overlays of her glasses, trying to find useful information among the deluge of data. Eventually she came upon the QR code scanner.

“Lieutenant, try to raise them again,” she said.

No answer.

“Alright. Helm, all engines back one third. Let’s keep this distance until we know what we’re dealing with.”

Her naked eye could see that the vessel, dead in the water, was covered in running rust that bled streaks of orange into peeling white paint. The vessel’s name and IMO number had long since flaked off, but the laser-engraved QR code at the ship’s stern was still discernable. So, she thought, at least someone was concerned about keeping the vessel on the right side of the law. It had been what, a decade since the new U.N. Convention on Safety of Life at Sea mandated QR engraving on all vessels. Not that most complied, especially not those for whom such a mandate would require a retrofit. She guessed it had been many years since the vessel before her had felt the warm embrace of a dry dock for deep and thorough hull maintenance.

Her glasses and a panel on the captain’s chair in the pilothouse began beeping, half a beat out of synch. Stepping inside the pilothouse to investigate, Collet was enveloped in a sheen of information projected from the bridge’s jumble of overhead wiring and devices. As she turned and looked back towards the vessel, the data appeared to emanate from the gently bobbing hull, its heading shifting with the wind and unknown no more. Bright red, floating letters flashed “Critical Contact of Interest.”

Shit, she thought reading the CCOI report. So much for a speedy transit. The promise of a long weekend in port in New Caledonia for the crew had beckoned, payoff for extended upcoming illegal fishing operations.

She read on. The vessel, the Hope Renewed, was unflagged but had once been owned and registered by Citizens without Borders, an American NGO, in one of the ad hoc databases of refugee ships. She could tell from the welding job on the side of the hull that the drone bay was in frequent use and ostensibly for work in the Patch. Most likely a waster, collecting and breaking down the floating refuse that choked sea lanes into bricks of raw materials like plastic for use in the additive manufacturing plants that had sprung up throughout offshore Asia. Politicians back in France had been making a stink about the floating factories’ lack of effective labor laws allowing them to “steal” French jobs, as though the jobs hadn’t already been lost through decades of over-generous social benefits.  

But Collet had learned not to take appearances at face value. It wouldn’t be the first time the Chinese or Vietnamese had masked their activities among the refugees. Even if the intel about Hope Renewed was bad, without the protection of a state they were juicy targets, their kind helping fuel the boom in piracy throughout the world and stretching Collet’s navy that much further.

“Officer of the Deck, once more,” she said.

Still no answer.

“Alright, continue hailing them on bridge-to-bridge once every five minutes, and see if CIC can find someone on their vessel actively chatting on the net.”

“Ma’am, we’ve got a couple social media accounts that look likely to belong to Hope Renewed inhabitants but none responding to pings. Will let you know if that changes.”  

She hoped she could just have tea with the mayor or however the vessel’s leader styled themselves. If there wasn’t one, if it wasn’t a refugee ship or if she met resistance, she needed to be prepared. She knew a show of force might escalate the situation, but years spent trying to disrupt—ha, dent, the illicit maritime networks of Southeast Asia reinforced the need to balance prudence with the precept that it was better to be safe than sorry. She’d be balancing both today.

Collet picked up the microphone for the ship’s internal intercom. “Guépratte, this is the Captain. We have identified a vessel suspected in a series of attacks on merchant shipping. They have failed to respond to our hails. We are sending over a boarding team to investigate. It is critical that we determine who has been disrupting these sea lanes and, well, automated cargo ships don’t provide much details.”

In the past month, seven ships were taken in the same manner in waters stretching from the South China Sea to the Philippine Sea. Shipping insurance rates were rising with the sophisticated attacks subjecting their prey to all-systems jamming prior to the impact of what the post-incident analysis suspected were drone-based waterborne IEDs.

Guépratte’s XO, a lanky Algerian with a graying goatee, sidled up to Collet. “Ma’am, you think these attacks are fallout from Southwest Cay?”

“I don’t know. But if Hanoi wants to warn Beijing off from making another play for their last Spratly outpost, taking seven Chinese-owned vessels certainly got their attention. Of course, that’s a risky play to make. If the Chinese can make a link, the threat to additional shipping likely won’t reign in nationalist calls for blood for what’s already been hit. I don’t relish the spectre of full-scale hostilities but it looks like that’s where we might be headed.”

“So we need to find out the truth first, to be prepared for the consequences.”

“Exactly. A week ago an American UAV caught sight of a surface vessel returning to Hope Renewed from the general direction of an attack. Nothing conclusive, but the best lead so far.”  

Collet turned to the Officer of the Deck. “Muster the boarding team in full exo gear. And tell combat to throw up a POP. I want eyes on that vessel.”

“Aye, ma’am.”

While Collet often chafed at having to sift through the reams of information brought in by all the Navy’s new gadgets, the Perimeter Overwatch Package, or POP, was one system that had proved its worth. The sound of several small overhead drones taking flight filled the bridge. They didn’t provide great real-time interior views, just some infrared, but the enhanced external situational awareness and 3D rendering of Renewed Hope provided to CIC and the bridge was superb. They were also armed.

“Ma’am, POP is in place. There’s nothing topside but we’re also not reading anything below decks. Could just be an error with the sensors. Do you want us to drop an ICS-disable package?”

“Negative. Doesn’t look like they can get their engines up in a hurry, better not to scare the locals. But be ready at the first sign they’re warming them up.” Balancing again. The industrial control system-disable package was a small autonomous robot carried aboard one of the POP drones that sought out and shut down the computers running the ship’s engines by breaching the system’s air gap and directly installing malicious code.

A petty officer approached Collet with a radio in her outstretched hand. Taking the radio, she said, “Boarding officer, this is the captain, report.”

Ma’am, the boarding party is mustered on the flight deck. Two of the suits are malfunctioning, out of commission, and the back-ups are going through maintenance.”

“Sounds about right. Just send their owners in the rear during the initial insertion. And make sure the team’s focused on the mission—not New Caledonia. We don’t know what we’re dealing with here. I’ll make my way across to exchange pleasantries once we do.

“Aye ma’am. Preparing to launch the line over with your permission.”

“Launch when ready.”

Over the next half hour Collet watched as her boarding team launched over a magnetic line to a high point on Hope Renewed, secured the trolley system, and one-by-one rode up the powered zip-line-like device dozens of feet above the sparkling waters, gently arcing to the contact point. CIC reported visual on all members of the boarding party arriving safely aboard Hope Renewed, confirmed by the boarding officer moments later.

Now the waiting. Collet was a believer in letting her subordinates work without constant instruction, contenting herself to listen to the chatter between boarding team members as moved through the large vessel. But as she listened she developed a growing sense of dread. At last the boarding officer called for her.

Captain, this is the boarding officer. You’re going to want to see this.”

“What is it?”

Frankly, not sure what we’re dealing with. As far as we can tell it’s empty. There’s no one here.”

“Captain,” called CIC before Collet had time to react. “Vessel inbound off the port quarter, five miles out. It’s pretty small, no visible weapons. One man topside.”

 

———————————
As Ashik gripped the wheel of the solar boat, the running lights of a ship twinkled in the evening mist. They corresponded almost exactly with the AIS fix for Hope Renewed. But as he approached his radar indicated two vessels, both dead in the water. Apprehension mixed with anger and relief that one way or another his multi-day journey on the high seas was at an end. He’d seen few warships during his time in the Pacific, but they were enough to recognize the vessel alongside Hope, illuminating the onset of night with her growing superstructure. If they were responsible… he thought. Well, at least they might have answers.

 

 

Interested in contributing a piece to the series? E-mail us at imagining2030@projects21.org.

 

Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, non-ideological, non-partisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own. Furthermore, the story above does not reflect the views of any of the author’s affiliations.

Hope Renewed is a part of the #CrowdedSeas project led by the authors, delving into the future of the maritime domain. Over the course of several months this project will develop hypotheses about the future of life and death at sea, particularly in Asia, in the 2030-2050 timeframe. It will apply a series of different methodologies to conduct this exploration, including strategic forecasting, short fiction writing, and design thinking that will culminate in a written report.

PS21 update week ending May 13

Just passing through New York this weekend on my way back to London. It’s been a fascinating few months in the United States, not least because of the increasingly fascinating — if now somewhat fatiguing — US election [on that note, check out the great Washington event we will have on the election and foreign policy in early June below].

Of course, I still have all the excitement of the Brexit vote to look forward to…

In London this week, we held a really great discussion on London and the challenges facing megacities — one of the themes I really want to explore in more detail in the months to come and next year. That will be followed this week on Wednesday by our latest networking drinks.

On the PS21 website this week, Asha Castleberry writes on the current security situation in Iraq and what it means for the next administration. 

On Reuters.com, meanwhile, I have two pieces. The first looks at the broader global implications of the election of London’s first Muslim mayor. Let’s be blunt, Sadiq Khan wasn’t elected because of his religion and whether or not Londoners vote for him again is going to be dependent on London-centric issues like housing and transport. For the rest of the world, however, his religion will be seen the most important thing about him and that is already having some interesting effects.

The second looks at the BBC’s latest spy drama “The Night Manager”, now airing in the United States. Set in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring”, I argue it gets some things horribly right Wake wakeabout recent Western involvement in the region.

All the best

Peter Apps

executive director, PS21

LONDON

Networking Drinks

Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 5.30 PM. The George, Strand, London

We at PS21 are happy to announce our next networking event! This will take place at the vibrant “George” pub right on the Strand opposite the Royal Courts of Justice on May 18th.

This is a great opportunity to meet and catch up with career professionals while exchanging contacts and insights.

Sign up here

WASHINGTON DC

A Choice of Foreign Policy Futures?

SAVE THE DATE –Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 6 PM. Venue to follow

With the  rise of  isolationist rhetoric with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — and, of course, the more conservative foreign policy stature of Hillary Clinton — the 2016 election is shaping up to offer a foreign policy range rarely seen in recent American history. As it faces the rise of rival powers and budget constraints of time, the US faces stock positions. What do the politics and geopolitics of this year’s face-off tell us about Web policy make a in the years and decades to come?

Speakers to be confirmed. Sign-up details to follow. This promises to be a great event and we look forward to seeing you there.

State of Emergency in Iraq: Will the next U.S. Administration be prepared?

Asha Castleberry is a U.S. National Security Expert and U.S. Army Veteran.  She is an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project (ASP) and a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council. She tweets at @ashacastleberry.

Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own.

What is going on in Iraq?  The Iraqi government has declared a state of emergency and political turmoil in Iraq is on the rise, as seen from the recent meltdown in Baghdad. The political deadlock seen in the Iraqi parliament has ignited massive protests within the Green Zone, spearheaded by the Shia opposition groups led by Iraqi Shia Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. He has has launched a de-facto coup, attacking the political legitimacy of the Shia-led Baghdad government. He has done so by demanding Prime Minister Haider to present the new list of technocrat cabinet members.  In addition, the Iraqi government has deployed security forces, in conjunction with Shia militias, to further bolster security in Southern Baghdad.

Political instability in Baghdad poses a direct threat towards the current mission against ISIS and Iraqi national reconstruction.  During Vice President Biden’s recent trip to Baghdad, he underscored that political chaos there would negatively impact current operations in the war against ISIS.  ISIS will then take advantage of this opportunity to exacerbate sectarian tensions by targeting Shia communities, especially during the Shia pilgrimage.  The recent attacks in the Nahrwan area prove this point. ISIS has also claimed attacks against Shia communities in Imam Ali-Husseiniyah in Southern Baghdad. They will also step up more attacks during the commemoration of Imam al-Kadhim, a major Shia holiday.  The timing is just perfect for ISIS, as this has occurred right after another major, violent sectarian incident in Iraq.  The recent clashes between the Peshmerga Forces and al-Hashad al-Turkmani militias in Tuz Khurmatu, Salahuddin Province has shown the country’s inability to successfully prevent such sectarian violence.

Despite political turmoil and ongoing sectarian strife, the Anti-ISIS coalition has made considerable progress during the month of April.  The Iraqi security forces liberated the Hit District in Al-Anbar province and successfully completed clearing operations in key areas in Diyala Province.  According to a recent Institute of Study of the War (ISW) situation report,  the Peshmerga Forces along with Sunni Arab forces liberated key villages in the north of Mosul, with coalition airstrike support. In preparation for the Mosul counteroffensive, the U.S. has authorized an additional 217 troops to be deployed to Iraq and provide additional air assets.  Furthermore, the U.S. has issued a 30 day extension for the U.S. air carrier, USS Harry S. Truman in the Gulf Region to support President Obama’s acceleration of the fight against ISIS. The USS Harry S. Truman provides robust maritime security, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISRs), and counterterrorism capabilities.

Nevertheless, there has been no major economic impact resulting from the political climate in Baghdad.  The Iraqi Minister of Oil has confirmed that the political turmoil in Baghdad did not impact oil exports for the month of April. Indeed, Bloomberg has reported that oil exports reached a record high of 4.3 million barrels a day that month.  However, projections still forecast that it may drop, and the country will continue to struggle to be able to afford this expensive war against ISIS.

The current political instability in Iraq is reminding us just how critical it is for the next U.S. administration to prescribe a viable strategy in such a complex and volatile country.  The U.S. needs competent leadership, similar to the Obama Administration, that knows how to carry out a comprehensive forward plan.  Based on the recent Iraqi political crisis, the American people should be questioning presidential candidates about the U.S.’s future role in Iraq.  Here are some major questions that a U.S. presidential candidate should seriously consider.  First, are Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s political reforms promising to achieve an inclusive and decentralized government?  If not, what then, is the next course of action to help build political cohesion in Baghdad?  Second, the next U.S. administration will inherit a commitment of just over 4,000 U.S. servicemembers in Iraq, with the authorization to continue using airpower.  Therefore, will the next U.S. administration maintain the same number of boots on ground? Third, if the Iraqis are fortunate enough to win back Mosul and terminate ISIS presence there before the end of the year, will the next administration then assist with peacebuilding in a post-ISIS war? Fourth, will the next administration support a three-state solution for Iraq, or continue the policy of national reconciliation with our regional partners?

Moving forward, I believe that Secretary Hillary Clinton is the best U.S. presidential candidate to deliver the best policy strategy for our future role in Iraq.  Secretary Clinton could implement a well thought out position that supports a decisive political strategy in Iraq.  She will not be incoherent and inconsistent about her position. Secretary Clinton has already conveyed her strong understanding and knowledge about countering ISIS in Iraq.  A comprehensive strategy of support, by providing more airpower, as well as Training, Advising, and Assist (TAA) for the Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga Forces, and Sunni Tribal Groups.

PS21 update week ending May 6

 

Hoping this finds you well. For those in London, a reminder that we have a really great event on Monday discussing London and the challenge of megacities following on from this week’s historic mayoral election — looks set to be a great event.

On the website this week, as part of our Imagining 2030 series, Russell Waite from Kings College London describes a potential conflict in the Gulf. On Reuters.com, meanwhile, I take a look at the war we have now and the way in which what happens in the city of Aleppo could set the tone for the rest of Syria.

Leaving Washington DC on Sunday after a really great couple of months here, parsing quickly through New York and then returning to the United Kingdom. We’ve been working on some really interesting plans for the future of PS21 which I look forward to sharing with you over the following weeks and months — suffice to say we have some really exciting developments upcoming and look forward to your company on the journey to come.

 

All the best

Peter Apps

executive director, PS21

LONDON

London and the challenge of megacities

WHEN: Monday, May 9, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

WHERE: Room S1.06 King’s College London – Strand, London, WC2R 2LS

London will has a new Mayor. Sadiq Khan inherits a city facing many challenges for the future – including pollution, overcrowding and rising living costs.

So, what’s on the new Mayor’s To Do list? How can he meet the unprecedented need for housing in a city of nearly nine million people? What role can new infrastructure play in the housing and job market? And what can London learn to do, and avoid, from other global megacities?

Jonn Elledge [moderator] – Editor of CityMetric and journalist at New Statesman

Emmanuel Akinwotu – Journalist who writes on Nigeria for the Guardian. He’s also written for the New Statesman, CityMetric, the New African Magazine and other publications. He’s reported from Lagos regularly over the last few years, covering politics, education and transport.

Nicole Badstuber – Researcher in Transport Policy and Governance for Cities at LSE Cities (London School of Economics) and Centre for Transport Studies (University College London). Nicole works on understanding the transport governance challenges for cities and complex network of actors involved in shaping transport policy at LSE Cities, and is pursuing her doctoral thesis in models of governing transport in cities across the world and their effect on transport policy at University College London.

Barney Stringer – Director of planning and socio-economic consultancy Quod. His career spans public policy, journalism and political research, with a focus on planning, transport and economic development. He writes on cities and development at barneystringer.wordpress.com.

Sign up here.

Networking Drinks

Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 5.30 PM. The George, Strand, London

We at PS21 are happy to announce our next networking event! This will take place at the vibrant “George” pub right on the Strand opposite the Royal Courts of Justice on May 18th.

This is a great opportunity to meet, and catch up with, career professionals while exchanging contacts and insights.

Sign up here

WASHINGTON DC

Upcoming events to be published shortly

NEW YORK CITY

Upcoming events to be published shortly

What would a future US-Cuba security cooperation agreement look like?

Asha Castleberry is a U.S. National Security Expert and U.S. Army Veteran.  She is an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project (ASP) and a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council. She tweets at @ashacastleberry.

 

The purpose of the article is to discuss how U.S.-Cuban ties will help better enhance U.S. National Security in Latin America.  The landmark relationship will bolster the U.S. to counter emerging security threats, reshape detainee operations in Guantanamo Bay, strengthen future contingency response missions and building partner nation capacity.  
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The establishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba is the beginning of a new era for U.S. Foreign Policy & National Security.  What comes along with this relationship is a new bilateral security agreement.  This phenomenon reminds me of a scene from the movie Bad Boys II, where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence accidently ended up on Cuban soil chasing a big time criminal.  They chased the villain all the way to the fence of Guantanamo Bay.  However, the U.S. Navy could not help them as long as the convict was on Cuban soil.  This movie illustrated the importance of a working relationship with Cuba in order to pursue, for example, search warrants, rescue missions or any other criminal activities within Cuba.

Hollywood has helped us realize that there is a clear need to have a security cooperation with Cuba in the 21st century.  In the next 10-15 years, this relationship will lead to a strong security agreement with Havana, but only if the momentum continues beyond the current administration.  In the final inning, the Obama administration is doing everything they can to secure long term partnership.  This new partnership is also going to positively impact our military operations in the broader region.

Overtime, the U.S. has learned that it is in our national security interest to invest in a bilateral security cooperation with Cuba. A closed relationship has been nothing but counterproductive for U.S. national security and regional stability.  The old approach of isolating Cuba has hurt our ability to address a gamut of regional security challenges.  U.S. combatant command in the region (USSOUTHCOM) has therefore experienced operational limitations, which often leads to complications for maritime security, navigation services, countering human trafficking, search & rescue missions, and counter narcotics. So, it is rather difficult to implement critical mission priorities without cooperation from all regional partners.

Since the start of opening talks with Havana, both countries have already launched new bilateral security initiatives.  In May 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba from the “state sponsor of terrorism” list.  These two countries have also signed several statements pledging cooperation in law enforcement, counter narcotics, counterterrorism, transnational crime and cybercrime.  The U.S. and Cuba also pledged to cooperate with joint contingency operations for bilateral coastal security, disaster risk reduction and oil spill prevention and responses.

In the near future, the security agreement will expand significantly.  USSOUTHCOM is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.  This new partnership will strengthen intelligence assets, logistical support, communications, interagency relationships and additional assets from the open relationship.  Based on USSOUTHCOM priorities, here are several ways in which new diplomatic ties will change USSOUTHCOM role.

 

Detainee Operations & Guantanamo Bay.

The reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba will make it easier to facilitate the closure of Guantanamo Bay. The current administration believes that keeping Guantanamo Bay open is cost inefficient.  Despite Congressional opposition, the current administration remains persistent in wanting to close the base. Joint Task Force Guantanamo currently has marching orders from Washington to continue reducing the detainee population. This is good news for Havana.  Since 1959, the Cuban government has been against U.S. use of the base.  Nevertheless, at the same time, the U.S. Naval Station at Gitmo has been a strategic location for contingency operations and humanitarian and natural disaster relief missions in the region.  Instead of completely removing our presence, it is in our vital interest to secure some sort of posture.  Open diplomatic relations will be able to assist in negotiating these issues from the Ambassadorial level consistently.

Counter Terrorism & Transnational Organized Crime.

An open relationship with Cuba will enhance the ability for the U.S. to enforce a regional counterterrorism and counter transnational organized crime strategy.  U.S.-Cuba relations have already entered phase one by pledging to work on cooperative measures together.  The expectation is to enhance joint intelligence sharing and interagency collaboration with the Cuban government.  For example, both countries have launched preliminary discussions about cybercrime.  This will, in turn, help better address the transfer of information from global terrorist networks in Latin America.  In fact, terrorist groups like Lebanese Hezbollah and ISIS also have supporters and sympathizers in Latin America. This has been seen in the significant number of foreign fighters and returnees that come back to Latin America.  On the internet, ISIS has also called for the capture of key areas in Latin America.

Also, stronger diplomatic ties will enable USSOUTHCOM to carry out stronger law enforcement measures against the flow of illicit trafficking.  Prior to the reestablishment of relations, for many years Cuba and U.S. law maritime enforcement covertly collaborated on countering narcotics and other illicit activities. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Cuban Border Security maintained productive exchanges, but these were limited. The restoration of diplomatic ties will expand the U.S.’s ability to jointly address the drug trade issues involving Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean.  The U.S. and Cuba can further pursue joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) work that they are conducting with other regional partners.  USSOUTHCOM is currently assisting Guatemala and Honduras in enhancing their ISR capabilities that helps drug tracking seizures.

 

Contingency Response. 

U.S.-Cuban diplomatic ties will provide us more access and insight with Cuba into contingency response operations, such as natural disasters, mass migration and the spread of epidemics.  In preparation for unexpected future contingency missions, an open relationship with Cuba will enable USSOUTHCOM to work effectively on joint missions and prevent a situation similar to the effects from 2008 Hurricane Katrina.  Because there were no formal communications with Cuba, the Bush Administration could only decline Cuban medical assistance.  Now, both countries will continue working together like they did, side by side, against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.  Also, Cuba will be interested in USSOUTHCOM multinational disaster preparedness.  The multinational disaster preparedness provides technical aid and assistance to build disaster relief institutions.

 

Security Cooperation and Building Partner Nation Capacity.

A strong building partner nation capacity (BPNC) agreement with Cuba will help USSOUTHCOM meet expectations for all mission priorities.  Former USSOUTHCOM commander, John F. Kelly explained that a strategy of engagement with Cuba will help mitigate the threats and risks.  Through military to military engagements, the U.S. and Cuba will be able to develop a 21st century security partnership through theater security cooperation activities. The purpose of the theater security cooperation is to engage mil-to-mil activities with Cuban partners involving planning, training, and equipment.  In exchange, Cuba’s interest in taking part in U.S. theater security cooperation will continue to grow.  After the historic subsidies cuts from the Soviet Union, the Cuban Ministry shifted to European states and regional allies for financial support and additional training.  Facing economic cuts from Venezuela, the Cuban defense budget heavily relies on financial support from Caracas, may cause Havana to seek military assistance from the U.S.

The Cuban Ministry of Defense of the Revolutionary Armed Forces would have to authorize a theater security cooperation program that consists of a comprehensive engagement plan.  The plan will include key leadership engagements and an exercise program. The purpose of this is to establish relationships, meet partnership expectations, and address any future issues. The Ministry of Defense will have to figure out at what level they would like to engage with this.    Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense will have to decide how they will participate in USSOUTHCOM multilateral exercises.   The Cuban government would probably take part in major multilateral exercises like PANAMAX 2014, in which seventeen partners from Latin America focused on the defense of Panama.  This future exercise will provide experiences for the Cuban Armed Forces to participate in more multilateral exercises with the United States.  Since the Cuban defense budget allocates their expenditures for peacekeeping operations – this will allow Cubans to participate in US-led peacekeeping exercises, like Peacekeeping Operation North.

Also, USSOUTHCOM and Cuba can develop their own bilateral or multilateral exercises, like the Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias (FAHUM), an annual exercise designed to respond to major natural disasters.  Furthermore, the Cuban Ministry of Defense may consider signing up for a State Partnership Program with the U.S. National Guard.  Already, twenty-two countries in the SOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility maintain a state partnership program.  Cuba can also send a Cuban Liaison Officer to USSOUTHCOM Headquarters like many regional partners have done, that can help facilitate building partnership nation capacity.

The historic move to reopen relations with Havana gives the US both the ability and credibility to show their commitment for regional security in Latin America. It is essential that the next administration should continue normalizing relations with Cuba which has proven to be beneficial for our national security.  There are challenges that may slow down this progress. First, USSOUTHCOM has experienced continuous reductions in their budget. These cuts will disable USSOUTHCOM’s ability to provide the necessary resources for future security projects with Cuba.  Second, Congress must repeal the trade embargo.  The trade embargo is a huge burden to our relationship with Cuba.  In addition, many Latin American countries have viewed the embargo unfavorably.  Third, the U.S. military must restore U.S. leadership with the Cuban government, alongside savvy diplomacy, as they are both competing against other countries.  The Monroe Doctrine has already been defeated by both Chinese and Russian influences in the region.  General John F. Kelly reported during a Senate hearing that Chinese military engagement is expanding, with limitations in the Caribbean.  China also plays a major role in Cuba’s Foreign Military Sales program. Due to China’s growing participation in UN peacekeeping operations, there is a possibility that the Chinese may expand their security cooperation program with Cuba as well.

The same can be said for Russia. Moscow still seeks ways to expand their influence through security cooperation.  Hopefully, this will not lead to a smaller-scale theater security cooperation program with the U.S, the setting up of which is supported by Venezuela.  The U.S. should try to prevent Cuba from heading down the same trajectory as Venezuela – to where a security cooperation program is somewhat inefficient.

 

Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own.

PS21 update week ending April 22

A couple of really great events upcoming in London next week, firstly a discussion on Wednesday  on Whitehall with former US national intelligence officer for Russia Fiona Hill and then another on Thursday on the future of the European Union. On Thursday in Washington, meanwhile, we’ll be talking about the future of NATO.

Many thanks to those who attended our events this week, a joint networking drinks with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in London and a truly excellent discussion on European energy security in DC.

For those interested, here’s a link to my Reuters column this week which focuses on the recent aerial and naval confrontations with Russia and China and risk of accidental escalation.

 

Executive Director, PS21

LONDON

Putin’s Russia and America’s take on Europe

Wednesday, April 27, 2015, 5:30 PM. Whitehall

A discussion in the heart of Whitehall with Fiona Hill, former US national intelligence officer for Russia, author of “Mr. Putin — Operative in the Kremlin” and head of the Europe program at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

Sign up here

The Future of Europe in a Time of Crises

Thursday, April 28, 2015, 6 PM. Location TBC

From the migration crisis to militant attacks and Britain’s Brexit vote, a resurgent Russia to ongoing issues with the single currency, Europe faces more challenges that any point in its recent history. What does the immediate future have in store for the continent and how, if at all, can it overcome its issues?  In conjunction with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.

Tom Beasley [moderator] — company secretary, PS21

Gwenn Laine — a former French Navy officer, now PS21 global fellow

Holder Schmieding –– Berenberg Economics

Marina Prentoulis — University of East Anglia. Spokeswoman, Greece’s Syriza party

Sign up here

 

WASHINGTON DC

The Future Of NATO

Thursday, April 28, 6 PM. Thomson Reuters, 1333 H St. NW. Washington DC

With the return of tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe, NATO seems to have a new lease of life as the mainstay of Europe’s defense. But with Donald Trump and other US politicians increasing the questioning Washingtons commitments – and  no shortage of strains within the European Union on a whole host of issues – what really lies ahead for the transatllantic alliance.

Peter Apps – global affairs columnist, Reuters

Rachel Rizzo – Research Associate, Center for a New American Security

Robbie Gramer – Associate Director, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Atlantic Council

Sign up here

 

 

PS21 Update Week Ending April 15

A couple of great events coming up next week, particularly one on European energy security in Washington DC on Tuesday and Wednesday’s joint networking drinks in London with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.

In London this week, Gwenn Laine chaired an excellent discussion on social media and politics in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. In Washington, meanwhile, I moderated a discussion on the various drivers and potential implications of Brexit. You can watch the latter here.

The conclusion of the latter were interesting. Jonn Elledge, literally just off the plane from London, concluded that he still thought the UK would stay — but, like Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson, he believed the eventual results would be as much down to turnout as anything else. Essentially, those committed to leaving the EU are likely to vote. Those who want to stay in may be rather less so.

Former senior EU official Sir Michael Leigh explained how he felt a Brexit could further complicate the multiple other challenges facing the European project while Robbie Gramer from Atlantic Council said the whole story fitted nicely into the growing American feeling that Europe was simply falling apart. More broadly, though, the whole saga was seen yet another sign of popular discontent with the way the world is going and globalization in particular, in many ways Britain’s equivalent of Donald Trump.

Also on the PS 21 website this week, Helen Mason imagines Latin America in 2030. My weekly column this week, meanwhile, looks at the recent arrest of a Chinese-American naval officer for spying and the way in which human espionage seems to be surviving even in the computer age.

Many thanks as always and look forward to seeing some of you at the events below,

 

Peter Apps

Executive Director, PS21

 

WASHINGTON DC

Europe’s Energy Security

Tuesday, April 19, 6 PM. Thomson Reuters, 1333 H St. NW. Washington DC

From worries about Russia to the collapse of global energy prices and the rise of renewables, what will Europe’s energy security picture look like in the years to come? This event will be contacted under Chatham House rules.

Peter Apps [moderator] — global affairs columnist, Reuters

Roric McCorristin supports the development of renewable energy as the basis of a sustainable, decarbonized economy. Until recently he was Program Director for “The Transatlantic Energy and Climate Network” at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Roric spent seven years as a Parliamentary Assistant at the European Parliament in Brussels. He is a graduate of The George Washington University and holds a B.A. in Political Science and German Language and Literature.

Patricia Schouker is an energy analyst based in Washington D.C.
As a member of Chatham House in London, she worked at Le Figaro in Paris and was a parliamentary assistant and attaché at the French National Assembly. While working for a petrochemical company in London she wrote her thesis on U.S Foreign Policy towards Terrorism after 9/11 focusing on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Patricia’s main interests and international research worldwide are within the scope of energy security, global energy market studies and geopolitical risk. She also writes for Pipeline Oil and Gas Magazine in Dubai, Foreign Policy Association Blog and Oxford University’s Department of Politics and International Relations. She often gives interviews for the Swiss Public Broadcast RTS on energy security in the Middle East.

Thomas Lambert entered the Belgian Foreign Service in 1998 before working in the Belgian delegations to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and European Union. Thomas joined the Private Office of the then Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Karel De Gucht in 2007, as deputy chief of staff, with specific responsibilities on EU policy and trade policy in particular. The year 2009 brought him back to New York for a four year assignment as deputy Permanent Representative for Belgium to the United Nations. And in 2013, he drove down south along the I-95 to take up his position as deputy Chief of Mission at the Belgian embassy to the United States. His first responsibilities are with economic matters, ranging from energy related issues over promoting Belgian interests in the US, to the transatlantic trade negotiations (TTIP).

Sign up here

 

LONDON

London networking drinks with YPFP

Wednesday, April 20, 2015, 6:30 PM. Blue Boar restaurant, London SW1

We are pleased to be partnering with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) on our April networking drinks. PS21 and YPFP are delighted to invite you to drinks at the Blue Boar where we are looking forward to discussing current events such as the US election, Brexit and other contemporary issues.

For more information on YPFP, please visit their website http://www.ypfp.org/london

You can sign up for the event here.

 

Putin’s Russia and America’s take on Europe

Wednesday, April 27, 2015, 5:30 PM. Whitehall

A discussion in the heart of Whitehall with Fiona Hill, former US national intelligence officer for Russia, author of “Mr. Putin — Operative in the Kremlin” and head of the Europe program at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

Sign up here

 

The Future of Europe in a Time of Crises

Thursday, April 28, 2015, 6 PM. Location TBC

From the migration crisis to militant attacks and Britain’s Brexit vote, a resurgent Russia to ongoing issues with the single currency, Europe faces more challenges that any point in its recent history. What does the immediate future have in store for the continent and how, if at all, can it overcome its issues?  In conjunction with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.

Tom Beasley [moderator] — company secretary, PS21

Gwenn Laine — a former French Navy officer, now PS21 global fellow

Holder Schmieding –– Berenberg Economics

Marina Prentoulis — University of East Anglia. Spokeswoman, Greece’s Syriza party

Sign up here

PS21 Update week ending April 8

Two great events this week, one on Arctic geopolitics in London and the second on counterterrorism and intelligence in Europe with former MI6 deputy chief Nigel Inkster in Washington DC.

The Arctic is also the topic for this week’s Imagining 2030 offering. On Reuters.com, meanwhile, I had two columns. The first looks at a suspected Russian cyber attack on the Ukrainian electricity grid in December and its implications for the changing nature of confrontation in cyberspace. The second looks at the “Panama papers” release against the backdrop of a wider backlash against the global financial and political elite.

Both topics will almost certainly be the subject of future PS21 discussions, needless to say…

A couple of great events coming up this week, particularly on Brexit in Washington and Middle East politics in London.

 

All the best,

Peter

Peter Apps

Executive director, PS21

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Washington DC

What is really going on with Brexit?

April 13, 3 PM. Thomson Reuters, 1333 H St. NW., Washington DC

Could the UK really vote to leave the European Union in June? What’s really driving the closing poll numbers? And what would the implications be for Britain’s relationship with the United States and mainland Europe?

Peter Apps [moderator] — Global Affairs Columnist, Reuters. Executive Director, PS21

Jonn Elledge — Journalist,  UK New Statesman

Chris Jackson — Pollster, Ipsos

sign up here

 

London

Politics and political advocacy in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring”
Tuesday, April 12, 2015, 6 PM. Whitehall — exact location to be provided on RSVP
From Benghazi to Damascus and San’a, the Arab World is, for the most part, on a different trajectory than what many involved in the 2011-2013 uprisings had hoped for. What remains of the movements which emerged to challenge the autocratic establishment? Have they given rise to a “new Arab conscience” and what does the way the West has handled these crises tell us about its perceived role in the MENA region? Finally, how is the role of Islam going to be changed by this legacy? What has happened to the social and traditional media and other forces that helped create the revolts in the first place?
Gwenn Lainé [moderator] – former French Naval officer, now strategic communications consultant, documentary filmmaker and PS21 Global Fellow.
Reem Assil – Reem’s activism ranged from media and citizen journalism, human rights, civil society research, all the way to peace building. She is a founding member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement, co-founder of the Free Syrian Translators, and currently works with the Syrian Platform for Peace-UK, which she has been chairing for the last year.
Layal Hafid –  Having grown up in Ireland, Layal moved back to Benghazi with her family in 2005. After a first experience with UNICEF she joined the UN Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) in 2011 working with members of militias and reporting on human rights abuses. She also worked as a programme development officer for USAID before moving back to Europe last year.
Baraa Shiban – Baraa is the Yemen project co-ordinator for the human rights organisation Reprieve. A prominent investigator of the United States drones attacks in Yemen, he has testified to a United States congressional hearing on the effects of drones in Yemen.
Sign up here.

 

Joint networking drinks with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy

Wednesday, April 20, 2015, 6:30 PM. Blue Boar restaurant, London SW1

We are pleased to be partnering with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) on our April networking drinks.

PS21 and YPFP are delighted to invite you to drinks at the Blue Boar where we are looking forward to discussing current events such as the US election, Brexit and other contemporary issues.

For more information on YPFP, please visit their website http://www.ypfp.org/london

You can sign up for the event here.

PS21 Update Week Ending April 1

We are pushing this e-mail out a day early on this occasion to draw your attention to two events in particular next week.

The first is an excellent discussion on the future of the Arctic in Whitehall on Monday. Places are limited but it should be a great discussion.

We also have a great discussion in Washington on Wednesday with former MI6 deputy chief Nigel Inkster. Details below.

As always, some great reading material on the website. This week’s Imagining 2030 piece looks at the long-term future for newly arrived migrants in Germany, Merkel’s kinder. Thanks to Caitlin Vito for a very thought-provoking piece.

Also on the website, Asha Castleberry argues the rapprochement with Cuba and implications of Pres. Obama’s Latin America tour make it more important than ever the next president  should be a foreign policy specialist like Hillary Clinton.

In my weekly column on Reuters.com, meanwhile, I’m discussing how the rise of Donald Trump and reaction to the Brussels attack points to a return to American isolationism almost regardless of who wins.

A really great discussion in DC this week on the major contribution of think tanks, incidentally, expertly chaired by Negar Razavi. Panelists were Andrew Selee from the Wilson Center, Maria Stephan from the United States Institute for Peace and myself, the first time I’ve been on a panel rather than moderating. Any fascinating discussion which you can watch again here.

Peter Apps

Executive director, PS21

LONDON EVENTS

A Changing Arctic: Local Changes, Global Implications

Monday 4th April 2016, 18.00, Whitehall TBC to attendees

Changes in the Arctic landscape are altering the relationship Arctic and non-Arctic states alike have with the Far North. Opportunities created by rapid environmental changes in the Arctic have sparked numerous debates regarding the global consequences of the development of natural resources and shipping routes, as well as their impact on the local communities and regional states.

Jennifer Brindisi (Moderator) – Former London Executive Director of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, Board Member PS21.

Wim Jolles – Director of European Operations at Canatec and an Arctic shipping specialist.

Michael Burgass – Marine scientist within the Imperial College Conservation Science group working to assessing ocean health for polar regions.

Dr Klaus Dodds – Professor at Royal Holloway specialising in geopolitics, security, and international governance of the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Registration will begin at 5:30 and the event will commence at 6:00. Please note that we will not be able to guarantee entry to those arriving after 6:15.

You can sign up for the event here. Sign up will close Sunday, April 3 2016 so the final guest list can be provided to the venue for first thing Monday morning.

WASHINGTON DC Event

Counterterrorism and Intelligence in Europe

Wednesday, April 6, 11:30 a.m. Thomson Reuters, 1333 H St. NW., Washington DC

With attacks in Paris and Brussels and a resurgent Russia making its presence felt in Eastern Europe, European intelligence agencies face a range of growing new challenges. PS21 talks  counterterrorism, cyber, counterrorism and a host of other issues — including the security implications of a potential Brexit.

Peter Apps  [moderator] — Global Affairs Columnist, Reuters

Nigel Inkster — Former Deputy Chief,  UK  Secret Intelligence Service [MI6]. Now Head of Transnational Threats and  Political Risk, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Sign up here

 

FURTHER EVENTS — SAVE THE DATE

LONDON

Social Media and Political Activism in the Post-Arab Spring World

Tuesday, April 12, 5:45 PM. Whitehall. Sign up here

From Benghazi to Damascus and San’a, the Arab World is, for the most part, on a different trajectory than what many involved in the 2011-2013 uprisings had hoped for. What remains of the movements which emerged to challenge the autocratic establishment? Have they given rise to a “new Arab conscience” and what does the way the West has handled these crises tell us about its perceived role in the MENA region? Finally, how is the role of Islam going to be changed by this legacy? What has happened to the social and traditional media and other forces that helped create the revolts in the first place?
Gwenn Lainé [moderator] – former French Naval officer, now strategic communications consultant, documentary filmmaker and PS21 Global Fellow.
Reem Assil – Reem’s activism ranged from media and citizen journalism, human rights, civil society research, all the way to peace building. She is a founding member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement, co-founder of the Free Syrian Translators, and currently works with the Syrian Platform for Peace-UK, which she has been chairing for the last year.
Layal Hafid –  Having grown up in Ireland, Layal moved back to Benghazi with her family in 2005. After a first experience with UNICEF she joined the UN Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) in 2011 working with members of militias and reporting on human rights abuses. She also worked as a programme development officer for USAID before moving back to Europe last year.
Baraa Shiban – Baraa is the Yemen project co-ordinator for the human rights organisation Reprieve. A prominent investigator of the United States drones attacks in Yemen, he has testified to a United States congressional hearing on the effects of drones in Yemen.
WASHINGTON DC
What is really going on with Brexit?
Wednesday, April 13, 3 PM. 1333 H St. NW., Washington DC.
A wide-ranging discussion on these dynamics within Britain’s EU referendum. Moderated by Peter Apps with panelists including New Statesman journalist Jonn Elledge.

PS21 Update Week Ending March 25

Greetings all. A week obviously overshadowed by events in Brussels. You can read my quick analysis on the attack from Tuesday in my Reuters column here.

For a relatively depressing take on Al events in the Middle East might progress from here, it’s definitely worth reading Hayat Alvis contribution to our always fascinating imagining 2030 series. She imagines an even more dystopian region in which the Syrian civil war continues to rage in 14 years time as nothing else is going particularly well either. Definitely worth a read.

On a more positive night, a fantastic discussion in New York this week on the wider implications of the recent commodity and energy price crash.  Many thanks to NYU’s Carolyn Kissane, Oxford Analytica’s Simon Coombe and the always fantastic Christina Madden from Women In International Security for moderating.

Should have a great event in Washington on Monday on think tanks on think tanks followed by next week’s London discussion on the managing of strategic shocks.

All the best and once again, many thanks for your support to us on the always interesting PS21 journey.

Peter Apps

executive director, PS21

WASHINGTON DC EVENTS

Think tanks — What Do They Really Contribute?

Monday, March 28, 6 PM. Open Gov Hub, 110 Vermont Ave., Northwest, Washington DC

Washington DC is to think tanks what Detroit once was to the global auto industry. But what do these institutions really bring to the table? Are they best thought of as academic institutions like universities, simple generators for policy or a storage center for those temporarily outside government.  How useful are they to policymakers, journalists and others? What kind of people do they attract — and who do they marginalize or do without? Do they operate differently in other countries or even cities? PS21 and a great panel of think tank types will be getting more even more introspective than usual…

Negar Razavi [moderator] — Anthropologist, University of Pennsylvania. PS21 global fellow
Andrew Selee — Executive Vice President, Woodrow Wilson Center
Peter Apps — Global Affairs Columnist, Reuters. Executive Director, PS21
Maria Stephan — Senior Policy Fellow, United States Institute for Peace. Former US State Department official

Sign up here

LONDON

Managing Strategic Shocks

Thursday, March 31. Kings College London

This year marks the 15th anniversary off 9/11 and the 75th of Pearl Harbor. PS 21 examines how major shocks such as these —  also including natural disasters such as Fukushima –can be managed by both government and others. How do they change our actions, how do they shift public opinion? PS21 will host another world class panel, while introducing two new Global Fellows.
Tom Bruxner [moderator] – former British Army officer

Group Captain Ian Shields – former RAF officer with experience in Afghanistan, currently teaching at Anglia Ruskin University

Frederic Ischebeck-Baum — former UNODC Counter-Piracy Advisor, Fellow of the Cambridge Security Initiative

John Bassett– former GCHQ official and head of London and Washington stations

This is a joint event between the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at King’s College London and PS21.

Guests can arrive from 5.30pm and the discussion starts at 6.00pm.

Sign up here

The Changing Arctic — Local Challenges, Global Implications

Monday, April 4, 6 PM. London location TBC

Changes in the Arctic landscape are altering the relationship Arctic and non-Arctic states alike have with the Far North. Opportunities created by rapid environmental changes in the Arctic have sparked numerous debates regarding the global consequences of the development of natural resources and shipping routes, as well as their impact on the local communities and regional states.

Jennifer Brindisi (Moderator) – London Executive Director of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, Board Member PS21.

Wim Jolles – Director of European Operations at Canatec and an Arctic shipping specialist.

Michael Burgass – Marine scientist within the Imperial College Conservation Science group working to assessing ocean health for polar regions.

Dr Klaus Dodds – Professor at Royal Holloway specialising in geopolitics, security, and international governance of the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Registration will begin at 5:30 and the event will commence at 6:00. Please note that we will not be able to guarantee entry to those arriving after 6:15.

Sign up here

NEW YORK

Further events details to follow

 

NY Event March 23 — Implications of the Energy Price Crash

Wednesday, March 23, 6 PM, 708 3rd Ave., New York

PS21 and Women In  International Security bring together a panel to discuss the geopolitical implications off the recent crash in global commodity and energy prices. Who are the winners and losers, what are the broader implications And what might this mean for the United States?

Christina Madden [moderator] — Executive Director, Women In International Security, New York

Carolyn Kissane — Professor, Center for Global Affairs, New York University

Simon Coote — Head of Advisory, Oxford Analytica

Sign up here

DC Event March 28 — Think Tanks on Think Tanks

Think Tanks — What Do They Really Contribute?

Monday, March 28, 6 PM, Open Gov Hub, 110 Vermont Ave. NW. Washington DC

Washington DC is to think tanks what Detroit once was to the global auto industry. But what do these institutions really bring to the table? Are they best thought of as academic institutions like universities, simple generators for policy or a storage center for those temporarily outside government. How useful are they to policymakers, journalists and others? What kind of people do they attract — and who do they marginalize or do without? Do they operate differently in other countries or even cities? PS21 and a great panel of think tank types will be getting more even more introspective than usual…

Negar Razavi [moderator] — Anthropologist, University of Pennsylvania. PS21 global fellow
Andrew Selee — Executive Vice President, Woodrow Wilson Center
Peter Apps — Global Affairs Columnist, Reuters. Executive Director, PS21
Maria Stephan — Senior Policy Fellow, United States Institute for Peace. Former US State Department official

Sign up here