Off-the-Record Dinner with Joan O’Hara

On June 4,  Partnership for a Secure America hosted an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Spring 2018 Congressional Partnership Program with Joan O’Hara, Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President. Ms. O’Hara discussed the National Security Strategy, the upcoming summit between the U.S. and North Korea and the role of trade in foreign policy.


Joan O’Hara

Joan O’Hara joined the OVP NSA as Deputy National Security Advisor in February 2017, and served as Acting National Security Advisor from September 2017 through April 2018.

Prior to joining the Administration, Joan served as General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Majority Staff.  As General Counsel, Joan provided legal advice to the Committee Chairman on national security matters, and played a central role in developing the Committee’s policy positions and legislative agenda. Working closely with House Leadership, Members of Congress, interagency principals, and private sector stakeholders, she shepherded bills through the legislative process from drafting to passage into law.

Before entering law, Joan enjoyed more than a decade of experience as an elite athlete and award-winning NCAA Division I Head Coach in the sport of Rowing.  As a Resident Athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California, Joan trained with the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team and was United States National Champion in the Single Sculls and Quadruple Sculls.

Joan holds a B.A. from Loyola University, an M.A. from San Diego State University, and a J.D. cum laude from New York Law School. She hails from Long Island, New York.

Renewed Prospects for Peace on the Korean Peninsula?

On May 22, the United States Institute of Peace’s Senior Expert on North Korea, Frank Aum and the Senior Research Fellow on Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation, Bruce Klingner discussed the available options for President Trump at a US-North Korea Summit. Congressional Research Service Specialist in Asian Affairs, Emma Chanlett-Avery moderated the discussion. This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.


Frank Aum

frank_aumFrank Aum joins USIP from the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he was a Visiting Scholar. From 2010-2017, Mr. Aum served as the senior advisor for North Korea in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During this time, he advised four Secretaries of Defense on issues related to Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Aum also served as head of delegation for working level negotiations in Seoul with the Republic of Korea (ROK), and received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Mr. Aum previously worked as a corporate attorney, and also has extensive experience in the public and non-profit sectors. He completed a Fulbright Scholarship in Jeju Island, South Korea and worked as a speechwriter in the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In addition, he worked to strengthen the Koreatown community in Los Angeles at the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the Korean American Coalition (KAC).

Mr. Aum received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his MPP from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and his JD from the University of California, Berkeley.


Bruce Klingner

Bruce Klingner specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs as the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Klingner’s analysis and writing about North Korea, South Korea, and Japan as well as related issues, are informed by his 20 years of service at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Klingner, who jointed Heritage in 2007, has testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

He is a frequent commentator in U.S. and foreign media. His articles and commentary have appeared in major American and foreign publications and he is a regular guest on broadcast and cable news outlets. He is a regular contributor to the international and security section of The Daily Signal.

From 1996 to 2001, Klingner was CIA’s deputy division chief for Korea, responsible for the analysis of political, military, economic, and leadership issues for the president of the United States and other senior U.S. policymakers. In 1993-1994, he was the chief of CIA’s Korea branch, which analyzed military developments during a nuclear crisis with Korea.

Klingner is a distinguished graduate of the National War College, where he received a master’s degree in national security strategy in 2002. He also holds a master’s degree in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont.

He is active in Korean martial arts, attaining third-degree black belt in taekwondo and first-degree black belt in hapkido and teuk kong moo sool.

 

Off-the-Record Discussion with Matt Olsen

On May 21, Partnership for a Secure America hosted an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Spring 2018 Congressional Partnership Program with Matt Olsen, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Mr. Olsen discussed the threat of terrorism, the rise of China, and the continuing challenges the cyber domain poses to U.S. national security.


Matt Olsen

Image result for matt olsenMatt Olsen has served as a leading government official on a range of national security, intelligence, and law enforcement issues.

Mr. Olsen served for three years as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Created by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, NCTC is responsible for the integration and analysis of terrorism information and strategic operational planning.

Prior to joining NCTC, Mr. Olsen was the General Counsel of the National Security Agency, serving as the agency’s chief legal officer.

Mr. Olsen worked at the Department of Justice in a number of leadership positions. He served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, responsible for national security and criminal cases. He also was Special Counselor to the Attorney General and Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, where he led the review of individuals detained at Guantanamo. Mr. Olsen served as acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security and helped establish the National Security Division.

For twelve years, Mr. Olsen was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., prosecuting violent gang members, terrorists, and white-collar criminals. Mr. Olsen served as Special Counsel to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He began his public service career as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Mr. Olsen currently is an executive at a cyber security technology firm, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, and ABC News analyst. He graduated from the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School.

CPP Spring 2018 Retreat

On May 12th and 13th, participants in the Spring 2018 class of the Congressional Partnership Program joined foreign policy and national security experts for a weekend of thought provoking discussions and bipartisan team-building. This retreat was a great opportunity for participants to assess global challenges, explore differences, and build common ground.


Negotiation Forum

Participants heard from Ambassador Robert Gallucci who discussed his experience negotiating with the North Korean regime. Amb. Gallucci was the chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean crisis in 1994, and he described his experience preparing for and negotiating with the North Koreans.

Featuring:

Ambassador Robert Gallucci – Former Ambassador-at-Large and Special Envoy for the U.S. Department of State


Keynote Address

The keynote address was provided by Ambassador Ryan Crocker who discussed global foreign policy challenges. Amb. Crocker explored challenges in the Middle East, opportunities to learn from history, and possibilities for congressional engagement.

Featuring:

Ambassador Ryan Crocker – Former U.S. Ambassador: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon


Breakout Sessions

Ms. Bonnie Glaser discussed the future of US-China Relations. Her remarks covered Chinese military expansion, Chinese investment in Latin America and Africa, and opportunities for the U.S. and China to work together on efforts such as counterterrorism and combating climate change.

Ms. Melinda Haring and Mr. Tom Carothers examined U.S. efforts to promote democracy abroad. The outlined success stories, opportunities for improvement, and potential models to explore when considering future efforts.

Featuring: 

Ms. Bonnie Glaser – Senior Advisor for Asia, CSIS

Ms. Melinda Haring – Editor of the UkraineAlert Blog at the Atlantic Council and Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

Mr. Thomas Carothers – Senior Vice Preidesnt for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 


National Security Council Simulation

Participants engaged in a National Security Council Simulation led by Mr. Robert Sheldon to advance strategic negotiation and communication skills.

Featuring:

Mr. Robert Sheldon – Director of Government Technology Strategy at CrowdStrike

Turning the Tide on US-Turkey Relations

On April 19th, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman and former National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan discussed the deteriorating US-Turkey relationship as part of the USIP-PSA congressional briefing series Dr. Graeme Bannerman moderated the discussion. This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.


Ambassador Eric Edelman

EdelmanAmbassador Eric S. Edelman retired as a career minister from the U.S. Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He is currently a Roger Hertog Practitioner in Residence at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Counselor at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Edelman has served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House where he led organizations providing analysis, strategy, policy development, security services, trade advocacy, public outreach, citizen services and congressional relations. As the undersecretary of defense for policy (August, 2005-January 2009) he oversaw strategy development as DoD’s senior policy official with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls.

He served as U.S. ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Clinton and Bush Administrations and was principal deputy assistant to the vice president for national security affairs. In other assignment he has been chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, special assistant to Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt and special assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz. His other assignments include the State Department Operations Center, Prague, Moscow, and Tel Aviv, where he was a member of the U.S. Middle East delegation to the West Bank/Gaza autonomy talks.

He has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. In January 2011 he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French Government.

He received a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Cornell University and a doctorate in U.S. diplomatic history from Yale University.


Jake Sullivan

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Jake Sullivan is a Martin R. Flug Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He served in the Obama administration as national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, as well as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He was the Senior Policy Adviser on Secretary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.  Previously, he served as deputy policy director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign, and a member of the debate preparation team for Barack Obama’s general election campaign.

Sullivan also previously served as a senior policy adviser and chief counsel to Senator Amy Klobuchar from his home state of Minnesota, worked as an associate for Faegre & Benson LLP, and taught at the University of St. Thomas Law School. He clerked for Judge Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Sullivan holds undergraduate and law degrees from Yale and a master’s degree from Oxford.

 


Dr. Graeme Bannerman

Dr. Graeme Bannerman is a Scholar at the Middle East Institute. As such, he frequently provides commentary on Middle Eastern issues for numerous American and international media outlets including the BBC, Canadian National television, NBC, CBS, PBS News Hour, Fox News, al-Hurra, al-Jazeera, and others. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of Hands along the Nile and serves on the Board of Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

Prior to joining the Middle East Institute, he founded and served as President of Bannerman & Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm. Bannerman & Associates, Inc. worked with a variety of international clients primarily in the Middle East.

He served on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1979 until 1987. His last position was Committee Staff Director. From 1979 through 1984, he was the Committee’s professional staff member responsible for the Middle East and South Asia.

Before working for the Senate, he was employed by the Department of State, as a Middle Eastern Affairs Analyst and on the Policy Planning Staff. He worked on Arab-Israeli affairs during the time of Camp David and the negotiation of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

Dr. Bannerman taught at several institutions including Georgetown University, George Washington University, and The American University in Beirut. He holds a doctorate in Modern Middle Eastern History from the University of Wisconsin, a MA in South Asian studies from the University of Wisconsin, a MA in Modern Middle Eastern history from The American University in Beirut, and a BA degree from Northwestern University.

U.S. Military Presence in Africa

On February 22nd, the United States Institute of Peace’s Director of Africa Programs Susan Stigant and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory discussed the recent terror threats in Sub-Saharan Africa as a part of the USIP-PSA congressional briefing series. Congressional Research Service Specialist in African Affairs, Lauren Ploch Blanchard, moderated the discussion. The briefing explored the role for U.S. military, regional partners and civil society in countering these threats. In addition, the briefing focused on the evolving footprint of the U.S.’s military presence in the region and what regional partners and civil society can do to build a sustainable stability. This event was a closed off-the-record event held for congressional staff.


Susan Stigant:

Susan Stigant is the director of Africa Programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where she oversees programming in South Sudan, Nigeria, Sudan, CAR, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya and with the African Union. Susan’s thematic focus is on the design and implementation of inclusive constitutional reform and national dialogue processes. She has and continues to advise government officials and civil society actors on inclusive processes in Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. Susan also serves as co-chair of USIP’s national dialogue working group. Prior to joining USIP, she managed constitutional development, citizen engagement and election observation programs with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). From 2005-2011, she served as program director with NDI in South Sudan, where she supported the implementation of the peace agreement.  She also worked with the Forum of Federations on comparative federalism and with the research unit of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in South Africa.


Amanda Dory

Image result for amanda doryAmanda J. Dory joined the War College faculty in 2017.  She is a career member of the Senior Executive Service.

From 2012-2017 she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).  She served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy from 2008-2011 and as the Principal Director for Policy Planning in OSD.  In both capacities her responsibilities included strategy development, force planning scenarios, and long-term trends analysis.

She has worked on multiple Quadrennial Defense Reviews (QDRs), to include as the chief of staff to lead implementation of QDR execution roadmaps for Building Partner Capacity and Irregular Warfare in 2007-2008.  In addition to strategic and regional assignments, Amanda has also served in OSD’s Homeland Defense office as the director for planning and integration.  In 2002, she was selected as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow and conducted an independent research project based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Amanda has received numerous awards to include the Presidential Rank Award in 2010 and 2015 and awards for exceptional and meritorious civilian service.  She is an alumna of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and received a master’s degree with concentrations in international economics and African studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Lauren Ploch Blanchard

Image result for lauren ploch blanchardLauren Ploch Blanchard is a Specialist in African Affairs with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), where she provides nonpartisan analysis on African political, military and diplomatic affairs, and on U.S. policy in the region, to Members of Congress, congressional committees, and congressional staff. Her portfolio focuses on East Africa, Nigeria, and Chad, and on security issues and U.S. military engagement on the continent—she has written extensively on these topics and has testified before Congress on terrorist threats in the region, security assistance, and the U.S. military’s Africa Command.

Ms. Blanchard speaks regularly at academic and official institutions such as the National Defense University, the NATO Defense College, and the Foreign Service Institute, and at international policy forums. She has served on international election observation missions in several African countries and has conducted training for African parliamentarians and other government officials on the policymaking role of the United States Congress and on the role of parliamentary research institutions like CRS.

Prior to joining CRS, she managed governance programs in East and Southern Africa. During that time, she supervised and conducted training on political party and coalition strengthening, parliamentary support, civil society capacity building, and public opinion research. She also consulted on constitutional reform efforts in Kenya and the development of democratic institutions in Southern Sudan. Previously, Ms. Blanchard served as Legislative Assistant in the United States Senate. Lauren holds a master’s degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University.  She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Classical Studies, with a minor in African Studies, from the University of Florida.

Off-the-Record Dinner with Adm. Michael Mullen

On February 21st, the Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program with Admiral Michael Mullen to discuss today’s pressing foreign policy and national security challenges. Adm. Mullen served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and previously the Navy’s 28th Chief of Naval Operations and

This was a closed event for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program.


Admiral Michael Mullen

Considered one of the most influential Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in history, Admiral Mike Mullen takes a fresh approach to the most important geopolitical issues of the 21st century, including America’s position in the world and how economic health directly impacts our National Security.  Admiral Mullen believes our national debt is our greatest security threat.

Mullen, who spent four years as Chairman—the top military advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama–is a broad-minded, intellectually curious leader widely recognized as an “honest broker” by policymakers, Members of Congress and senior military officers.  He brought bold and original thinking to the work of strengthening the U.S. military and advocating for those who serve.

Admiral Mullen oversaw the end of the combat mission in Iraq and the development of a new military strategy for Afghanistan, while promoting international partnerships, new technologies and new counter-terrorism tactics culminating in the killing of Osama bin Laden.

A 1968 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Mullen sought challenging positions including command at every level to develop his leadership skills during his naval career.  He rose to be Chief of Naval Operations prior to assuming duties as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.  In an unprecedented in-depth feature article, Fast Company called Mullen “not just a new model for military officers-and a new kind of business titan-but also a case study in 21st –century leadership.”

Since retiring from the Navy, Mullen has joined the boards of General Motors, Sprint, and the Bloomberg Family Foundation.  He teaches at the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University.  He is also known for his efforts on behalf of service members, veterans, and their families.  He is renowned for his role in dismantling “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allowing gay service members to serve openly.

The Future of US-Pakistan Relations

On February 12th, the United States Institute of Peace’s Associate Vice President of the Asia Center Moeed Yusuf and former Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson led a discussion on US-Pakistan Relations as a part of the USIP-PSA Congressional briefing series. This briefing explored the deterioration of US-Pakistan relations and how the US can encourage greater cooperation on Afghanistan, counterterrorism, and other important priorities. This was a closed off-the-record event held for congressional staff.


Moeed Yusuf

Moeed W. Yusuf is the associate vice president of the Asia center at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Yusuf has been engaged in expanding USIP’s work on Pakistan/South Asia since 2010. His current research focuses on youth and democratic institutions in Pakistan, policy options to mitigate militancy in Pakistan and the South Asian region in general, and U.S. role in South Asian crisis management. His latest book, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia, is being released by Stanford University Press in 2018. Before joining USIP, Yusuf was a fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and concurrently a research fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center at Harvard Kennedy School. He has also worked at the Brookings Institution.

In 2007, he co-founded Strategic and Economic Policy Research, a private sector consultancy firm in Pakistan. Yusuf has also consulted for a number of Pakistani and international organizations including the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and the Stockholm Policy Research Institute, among others. From 2004-2007, he was a full-time consultant with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan’s premier development-sector think tank. Yusuf taught in Boston University’s Political Science and International Relations Departments as a senior teaching fellow in 2009. He had previously taught at the defense and strategic studies department at Quaid-e-Azam University, Pakistan. He lectures regularly at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute and has also lectured at the Pakistan Military Staff College and at NATO’s Center of Excellence-Defense Against Terrorism in Ankara, Turkey.

He has published widely in national and international journals, professional publications and magazines. He writes regularly for Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily. He also frequently appears as an expert on U.S. and Pakistani media. His books South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures (Adil Najam and Moeed Yusuf, eds.) and Getting it Right in Afghanistan (Scott Smith, Moeed Yusuf, and Colin Cookman, eds.) were published by Anthem Press, UK and U.S. Institute of Peace Press respectively in 2013. He is also the editor of Pakistan’s Counter-terrorism Challenge (Georgetown University Press, 2014) and Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Asia: From a Peacebuilding Lens (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2014). Yusuf has served on a number of important task forces, advisory councils, working groups, and governing boards, both in the U.S. and Pakistan. In 2013, he was selected to Nobel laureate, Pugwash International’s ‘Council’ (governing body) and subsequently became the youngest member ever to be included in its global executive committee to serve a six-year term. He holds a Masters in International Relations and PhD in Political Science from Boston University.


Ambassador Richard Olson

Ambassador Richard Olson retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in November of 2016 with the rank of Career Minister. His final assignment was as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). From 2012 to 2015 he was the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. Olson served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs, at U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2011 to 2012, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011. Olson joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. He served in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates (both Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and in Najaf, Iraq. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

His Washington assignments included: State Department Operations Center (twice), NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (twice, including as Director), and the Office of Iraqi Affairs, including as Director. Olson is a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, a Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Award for Public Outreach, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (three times), and the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award (for his service in Iraq). He was awarded the medal of Wazir Akbar Khan by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani. He graduated from Brown University in 1981, receiving an A.B. in Law and Society (Honors) and History. He is the father of two daughters and enjoys cycling and hiking.

 

Solutions Series Roundtable: The Rohingya Crisis

On Monday, January 29th, Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record roundtable dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership program to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in Burma through targeted violence and rape against the Rohingya Muslim minority group. The conversation focused on how the U.S. and Congress can respond to help end the crisis without damaging recent political and economic progress in Burma.


The Rohingya Crisis

Beginning in August 2017, the Burmese government launched widespread and brutal military operations against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in the country. The operations, which Burma cited as a counter-terrorist response to attacks by Rohingya militants on military and police stations, have created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Murder, rape, and arson by Burmese military units in conjunction with nationalist Buddhist civilian mobs have forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, overwhelming refugee resources there.

Key Details

1982 Citizenship Law

  • Under this law, Burma denies citizenship to the Rohingya Muslims, making them one of the largest stateless populations worldwide. The government views them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Relevant Incidents

  • August 2017
    • Rohingya militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) target more than 30 military and police posts, prompting retaliatory operations by Burmese military units and Buddhist civilian vigilantes.
  • September 2017
    • The Burmese government claims that operations against militants ended, contrary to evidence that the military operations continued after this date.
  • November 2017
    • Sec. State Rex Tillerson labels the crisis in Burma “ethnic cleansing.”
    • Bangladesh and Burma sign a deal to return all Rohingya Muslims back to Burma.
  • December 2017
    • The US individually sanctions Burmese general Maung Maung Soe for his role in the military operations.
  • January 2018
    • Bangladesh and Burma finalize details for a repatriation plan and timeframe for the Rohingya refugees. Burma agrees to accept 1,500 Rohingya each week, for a total of 2 years to repatriate all Rohingya.
    • The repatriation of Rohingya Muslims back to Burma is postponed due to fears by refugees that they would be forced to return against their will. The process was slated to begin on January 23, 2018.
    • US diplomat Bill Richardson resigns from an international panel set up by Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi to provide advice on the Rohingya crisis, citing a lack of moral leadership by Ms. Suu Kyi.

Today in Ukraine: Corruption, Riots & Russia at the Gates

On December 15th, United States Institute of Peace Executive Vice President, Ambassador Bill Taylor and Editor of the Atlantic Council Blog, Ukraine Alert, Melinda Haring discussed the current political and security challenges facing Ukraine.

This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.

The briefing focused on the ongoing security challenges facing Ukraine while addressing concerns about recent political moves made by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Speakers offered their views on the role Congress can play to support stability and prevent a violent new front in Ukraine.

The rise of Poroshenko marked the beginning of what many assumed would be a more western mindset. After coming to power, Poroshenko promised numerous government reforms, and initial signals suggested he would enact such reforms. However, with the approaching 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections many have begun to worry about the future of these reform efforts and Ukraine’s domestic stability. Poroshenko has been slow to enact anti-corruption measures and concerns are growing that opposition figures may be targeted by internal security forces. Recommendations were provided for improving the current US strategy for Ukraine.


Ambassador Bill Taylor

Ambassador William B. Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department.  He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria.  He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.

He also served as the U.S. government’s representative to the Mideast Quartet, which facilitated the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.  He served in Baghdad as the first director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office from 2004 to 2005, and in Kabul as coordinator of international and U.S. assistance to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003.  Ambassador Taylor was also coordinator of U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

He is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.

He is married with two adult children.


Melinda Haring

Melinda Haring is the editor of the UkraineAlert blog, which is the Atlantic Council’s most popular publication. Its articles are regularly republished by NewsweekKyiv PostNovoe VremyaHuffington Post, Real Clear Defense, and World Affairs Journal. In 2016, UkraineAlert’s most popular article garnered more than 100,000 hits.  

Haring is a longtime observer of political developments in the Eurasia region, and her analysis has been featured in The Washington Post, Foreign PolicyNewsweekThe Kyiv Post, PRI, and broadcast and published by NPR, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Voice of AmericaHaring is the author of the report Reforming the Democracy Bureaucracy and a contributor to Does Democracy Matter? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. A graduate of Georgetown University’s Democracy and Governance Program, she holds an MA in Government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is a member of the board of East Europe Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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