U.S.-Afghanistan Relations Post-Election: What Now?

Monday, October 7th – With U.S.-Taliban peace talks stalled and the future course of the peace process unclear, Afghans will head to the polls on September 28 to elect a president. Ashraf Ghani has focused his peace strategy on winning a second term and then negotiating with the Taliban with a renewed democratic mandate. Opposition […]

China-Russia Cooperation in Global Hotspots

Thursday, July 18th – United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) hosted an off-the-record lunch briefing on the Hill to discuss the growing partnership between China and Russia and this coordination’s impacts on U.S. interests. Regional experts Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Senior Fellow and Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at […]

Off-the-Record with Mike Rogers

On March 4th – Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner with former Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) to discuss critical challenges facing Congress and American security in today’s increasingly complex world. Congressman Rogers served as the Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2011 until 2015. Prior to that, Congressman Rogers served […]

Off-the-Record with Frances Townsend

On January 24th – The Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program with former Homeland Security Advisor, Frances Townsend.  Ms. Townsend discussed today’s pressing foreign policy and national security challenges. This was a closed event for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program. This event was made possible […]

Off-the-Record with Michael Morell and Roger Zakheim

Off-the-Record Dinner with General Philip Breedlove

On June 4th, the Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program with General Philip Breedlove to discuss today’s pressing foreign policy challenges and U.S. relations with Europe. Gen. Breedlove served as the Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 2013-2016.

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


General Philip Breedlove (U.S. Air Force, Ret.)

 

Phil Breedlove is a proven strategic planner, motivational leader and talented communicator. He is a highly decorated retired general of the United States Air Force where he reached the highest levels of military leadership as one of six geographic Combatant Commanders and the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

As the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Commander of U.S. European Command, he answered directly to NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, and to the President of the United States and Secretary of Defense. He led the most comprehensive and strategic structural and policy security changes in the alliance’s 70 year history. He led the forces of 28 nations and multiple partners in ensuring the security of an alliance that accounts for more than half the world’s GDP.

As Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, Breedlove was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces while ensuring theater air defense forces were ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense.

As Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group during a period of intense challenge, including devising measures to meet the requirements of the the Budget Control Act’s required $480 billion reduction of the Department of Defense budget.

He earned his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Aerospace Technology from Arizona State University. Additionally, he completed a Masters of International Security Affairs from the National War College, a Fellowship in International Security Affairs, Seminar XXI from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed Leadership at the Peak at the Center for Creative Leadership Colorado Springs.

Breedlove currently serves on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board, as a Distinguished Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, as a Senior Advisor to Culpeper National Security Solutions, and on the Board of Directors of both the Atlantic Council and the Center for a New American Strategy.

Solutions Series Roundtable: Cybersecurity

On Thursday, November 2nd Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record roundtable dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program to discuss cybersecurity, and how America’s electric grid can be secured against cyberattacks. The conversation focused on how Congress can support private sector utility providers who are the first line of defense against cyberattacks targeting America’s electric grid.


Cybersecurity and the Electric Grid 

Cybersecurity has risen to the forefront of America’s national and homeland security concerns in the 21st century.  High profile cyberattacks have successfully penetrated networks used by government and operators of critical infrastructure. All 16 sectors of America’s critical infrastructure depend on a stable electric grid – making it a prime target for would be hackers. The Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review claims that America’s electric grid is in “imminent danger” of a cyberattack, and that a significant outage would undermine critical defense infrastructure, and endanger the health and safety of millions of Americans.

Key Details

Relevant Incidents

  • 2015
    • Russian hackers use “crash override” malware to disable Ukraine’s electric grid
  • 2016
    • Russian hackers disable Kiev’s electric grid
    • Burlington Electric detects Russian group Grizzly Steppe’s malware on network
  • 2017
    • Wolf Creek nuclear plant detects cyber-attacks mimicking Russian group Energetic Bear
    • FireEye claims DPRK hackers targeted electric power companies with spearphishing emails
    • Symantec reveals that Dragonfly hack group gained “operational access” to industrial control systems of US power providers

US Electric Grid Structure

  • 3,300 separate utility operators
  • 200,000 miles of transmission lines
  • 55,000 power substations
  • 5 million miles of distribution lines
  • Tens of thousands of large power transformers
  • LPTs cost millions of dollars each and take up to 2 years to build

 

Solutions Series Roundtable: Arctic Security

On Thursday, August 24th Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record roundtable dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program to discuss development of an American strategy for the Arctic. The discussion focused on strategic competition with Russia, the current state of strategic assets in the region, and the potential costs and benefits of a US pivot to the North Pole.


Arctic Security 

The Arctic has been a region fairly devoid of conflict; the small club of Arctic states has proven able to resolve differences through diplomacy. However the physical and political environment of the Arctic is shifting rapidly; increasingly aggressive melt of sea ice has created new access to natural resources and potential shipping lanes. Russia and China have moved quickly to invest in the Arctic – though China’s nearest coast is 900 miles from the Arctic Circle, over half of the total arctic coastline is sovereign Russian territory and nearly half of the region’s human population is Russian administered. Russia has launched an extensive military buildup along its Arctic coast, and has made formal claims to areas of the Arctic seabed under UNCLOS. US activity in the arctic is hampered by a lack of deployed strategic assets (icebreakers, cutters, etc.), a murky command structure, and a lack of overall strategic direction.

Key Details

Actors

  • Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, USA
    • Arctic Council (forum)
    • NATO members: US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway

Environment

  • Ice melt is opening up new potential shipping lanes through ”Northern Sea Route”
    • Canada, Russia, US experience the most extreme Arctic changes

Resources

  • US extended continental shelf:
    • 13% of world oil reserves
    • 1/3 of gas reserves
    • $1 trillion in rare earth metals
  • Arctic at large:
    • $35 trillion in oil and gas reserves

Strategic Assets

  • US
    • 2 icebreakers (1 under repair)
      • USCG says they need 6 to fulfill current N+S pole requirements
    • 41 ice-capable attack subs
    • 3 combat brigades (airborne, mechanized, recon)
    • 3 fighter squadrons (F-16 & F-22)
  • Russian Arctic buildup
    • New Arctic command
    • 4 new Arctic brigades
    • 14 new operational airfields
    • 16 deep water ports
    • 40 icebreakers (11 in development)
    • 25 ice-capable attack subs

 

A Destabilized Middle East: Impacts on Jordan and Lebanon

On July 31st, United States Institute of Peace Senior Policy Scholar, Mona Yacoubian and fellow in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Program, Perry Cammack discussed the destabilizing effects of Middle East conflict (including the Syrian Civil War) on Jordan and Lebanon.

Building Peace in Afghanistan: Next Steps for U.S. Policy

On May 18th, United States Institute of Peace Vice President of Asia Programs Dr. Andrew Wilder and former Senior Adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan to DoD Leadership Chris Kolenda discussed the next steps toward a political settlement to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan