Report of the National Defense Panel
Robust American Involvement Globally Needed, not Retrenchment
General John Abizaid
The Ramada, 9:00 a.m., Thursday, October 2nd
The National Defense Panel (NDP), co-chaired by former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and former CENTCOM Commander, GEN John Abizaid, was established by Congress primarily to provide a non-partisan evaluation of the QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review). The report from the Panel was highly critical of the Obama administration’s national security policies and of Congressional funding for the Department of Defense. In straightforward language, the Panel slammed administration policies that sought to align defense posture and spending to the constraints imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act and its Sequester provisions.
The Panel concluded that as a result of cutbacks in defense expenditures, “our current and potential allies and adversaries… question our commitment and resolve”. The NDP also highlighted growing threats to American interests worldwide, including Chinese cyber and maritime aggressiveness, North Korean bellicosity, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq. Notably, the Panel explicitly identified the threat posed by “Islamic terrorism”, a term the White House has not employed.
In addition to presenting the conclusions and rationales of the Panel’s report, we will ask General Abizaid for his views on the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, particularly on the threat posed by the “Islamic State” and the President’s strategy for defeating that insurgency.
The Historic Kurdish Legacy and the Current Conflict
Dr. Jill Derby
and commentary by Larry Martines
The Ramada, 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 21st
The Kurdish people are spread out over a number of countries surrounding the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Recently, the idea of an independent Kurdish nation has received attention, although given the implications of that for Iraq, Iran and Turkey, it is difficult to envision that occurring. Dr. Derby will direct special attention to the evolution of various Kurdish entities following WWI, and Larry Martines will assess the potential and implications of greater autonomy or independence for the Kurds.
Dr. Jill Derby has a PhD in cultural anthropology and speaks fluent Arabic. She lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and traveled widely throughout the region. She was recently named to the Board of the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani in Kurdistan. She works closely with Barham Saleh, the former Prime Minister of the Kurdish Republica and former Deputy PM of Iraq. Larry Martines is a retired law enforcement officer with deep expertise in global security and terrorist issues, and has focused recently on the geo-political situation facing the Kurds.
No need to RSVP now, but please mark these unique and exciting events on your calendars.