On July 16th, Vice President of the Middle East and Africa Center at the United States Institute of Peace Mike Yaffe and Senior Analyst and Africa Team Lead for the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute Emily Estelle discussed evolving efforts in Libya and Tunisia to counter terrorist operations across the region. The discussion took place as part of the USIP-PSA congressional briefing series. This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.
In Monday’s briefing, the expert panel discussed both the stark differences and shared problems in Tunisia and Libya. The discussion focused on issues of establishing good governance on the national and local level, boosting economic growth, and countering terrorism and crime–especially along the border. The panelists also discussed the role of external actors such as Russia, Egypt, and the Gulf. The tone of the discussion was one of fragile optimism as the panel acknowledged that, despite severe problems, there are opportunities for improvement. The panel encouraged Congress and the executive branch to adopt a clear strategy in conjunction with European allies to address these crises in North Africa.
Michael Yaffe joined the United States Institute of Peace after serving as the senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations at the U.S. Department of State. Between 2001 and 2012, he was an academic dean and distinguished professor of strategic studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Previously, Dr. Yaffe was a career foreign affairs officer at the State Department concentrating on the Middle East peace negotiations, regional security, and nonproliferation, and served on U.S. delegations to the “Madrid” Middle East Arms Control and Regional Security talks, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, International Atomic Energy Agency and NATO.
During his twenty-five year career with the U.S. Government he was the recipient of several State Department Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor Awards, as well Department of Defense commendations. He was an Olin post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and peace scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (1988-1989). Mike earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Emily Estelle is a senior analyst for the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute and the Africa Team Lead. She studies the Salafi-jihadi movement in Africa, including al Qaeda, ISIS, and associated groups. She specializes in the Libya conflict. Emily also coordinates CTP’s training and tradecraft and manages the integration of technology into the research process. Emily graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Anthropology modified with Arabic
On July 25th, the Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program with Jeh Johnson to discuss today’s pressing foreign policy and national security challenges. In addition to leading the Department of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017, Johnson served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense and General Counsel of the U.S. Air Force.
This was a closed event for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program.
This event was made possible by the generous support of Intel and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Jeh Johnson, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, is a partner in the Paul, Weiss Litigation Department and a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. Secretary Johnson advises clients, including management teams and boards of directors, on crisis management, government and internal investigations, high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters, and legal aspects of cybersecurity and other security matters. He is also an experienced trial lawyer, and a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Secretary Johnson is on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin. He is resident in both the New York and Washington offices of Paul, Weiss. Since leaving government in January 2017, Secretary Johnson has been called upon to testify before Congress in cybersecurity matters three times, and is a regular commentator on national and homeland security on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and numerous other outlets.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Ambassador Robert Gallucci – Former Ambassador-at-Large and Special Envoy for the U.S. Department of State
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.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker – Former U.S. Ambassador: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon
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.
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.
Mr. Robert Sheldon – Director of Government Technology Strategy at CrowdStrike
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 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 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
Lauren 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.
On September 11th, Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Congressional Partnership Program with former Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. Mr. Chertoff discussed today’s homeland security challenges including the rising threat of cyber warfare and the spread of terrorism post-9/11.
Started in 2009, PSA’s highly selective Congressional staff foreign policy and national security program – the first of its kind – runs two times each year. This opportunity provides professional development and networking to Democratic and Republican staff members on Capitol Hill to advance bipartisanship on national security and foreign policy. Through off-the-record events, policy seminars, and skills training, this unique program aims to equip Congressional foreign policy and security advisers to assess global challenges, build common ground, and achieve U.S. national interests.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff
As a federal prosecutor Mr. Chertoff investigated and prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, corporate fraud and terrorism – including the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As chief of the Justice Department’s criminal division, Mr. Chertoff was one of the chief architects of the USA Patriot Act. In addition, Mr. Chertoff served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Chertoff led the country in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security . He also transformed FEMA into an effective organization following Hurricane Katrina. His greatest successes have earned few headlines – because the important news is what didn’t happen.
At Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government leaders on a broad range of security issues. In addition to his role at Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff is also senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group.
Mr. Chertoff is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1975) and Harvard Law School (1978). From 1979-1980 he served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr.
On August 29th, United States Institute of Peace Director for Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, Scott Worden, and Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, Luke Coffey, discussed the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the future of America’s Afghanistan policy. The discussion was moderated by Kenneth Katzman , a Specialist for Middle East Affairs with the Congressional Research Service.
This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff, and part of the USIP-PSA Briefing Series: Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention.
Scott Worden is director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He comes into this role with an extensive background in reconstruction, development, democracy and governance, policy, among others; as well as extensive regional expertise on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Prior to joining USIP, he was director of the Lessons Learned Program at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and served as acting director of policy as well as a senior policy advisor for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the latter position, he was responsible for advising senior officials on strategies for sustainable development in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
At his time at USIP, Mr. Worden directed Rule of Law development programs for the USIP and served as a United Nations-appointed Electoral Complaints Commissioner for the 2009 Afghanistan elections, as well as advising the U.N. on elections in 2005-06. Mr. Worden has a decade of experience working on Afghanistan issues and working in the field.
Originally from Boston, Mr. Worden earned his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Luke Coffey oversees research on nations stretching from South America to the Middle East as director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Coffey, named to the post in December 2015, is responsible for directing policy research for the Middle East, Africa, Russia and the former Soviet Union, the Western Hemisphere, and the Arctic region.
Coffey previously was Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher fellow, focusing on relations between the United States and the United Kingdom and on the role of NATO and the European Union in transatlantic and Eurasian security.Before joining the think tank’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in 2012, Coffey had served at the UK Ministry of Defence since 2010 as senior special adviser to then-British Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
Coffey, a U.S. Army veteran, was the first non-UK citizen appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to provide advice to senior British ministers. Among his duties was helping shape British defense policy in relation to transatlantic security, NATO, the European Union, and Afghanistan. In 2005, Coffey deployed to Afghanistan for a year and was awarded the Bronze Star.
Coffey received a master of science degree in the politics and government of the European Union from the London School of Economics. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and studied African politics as a visiting undergraduate at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.
Kenneth Katzman is a senior analyst of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, which conducts research and analysis for the US Congress. His responsibilities include analyzing regional developments and US policy to assist members of Congress in their legislative and oversight responsibilities.