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.
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 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.
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.
- Russian hackers use “crash override” malware to disable Ukraine’s electric grid
- Russian hackers disable Kiev’s electric grid
- Burlington Electric detects Russian group Grizzly Steppe’s malware on network
- 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
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the North Korea crisis and her experiences as a top U.S. diplomat with Minister Kyung-wha Kang (Republic of Korea) and Victor Cha (Senior Adviser & Korea Chair, CSIS).
Albright on North Korea
Secretary Albright opened with her thoughts on how the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang has evolved in recent years. She emphasized that the relationship between the two countries has never been easy, and described how the U.S. and Kim Jong Il had discussed production of nuclear materials, Japanese and South Korean actions in the region, and whether U.S. was staying true to its promises. When Albright served as US ambassador to the United Nations, North Korea was threatening to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, when she served as Secretary of State, the U.S. and North Korea managed to sign a mutual “no-hostile-intent agreement”, which she believes was a remarkable step forward. According to Secretary Albright, the Washington-Pyongyang relationship took a turn when the Bush administration opted for a more aggressive and unwavering approach towards the North Korean regime.
Hopes for Future Diplomacy
Albright and Minister Kang both agreed on the direction that the U.S. and the international community should pursue when dealing with Kim Jong Un. Both believe that the pursuit of diplomatic strategies should be a top priority; Albright added that the U.S government should aim to “lower the temperature” and calm its rhetoric in order to get a conversation started. Albright is a staunch believer that there is room for peaceful diplomacy, however she acknowledges that time is running out. When asked about whether economic sanctions were working on North Korea, Albright responded by reiterating the need for a concerted effort from the international community to achieve multilateral consensus. The former Secretary of State also believes that the Chinese and Russians should be involved due to their proximity and economic interest in the region. Although the impact of sanctions is not immediately apparent, Albright is optimistic about their potential to pressure the North Korean government holistically.
Secretary of State: The Female Perspective
As the first female Secretary of State, Albright recalls how she managed to overcome the social pressures that came with the position. “I had more problems with the men in our own government”, Albright said jokingly. During discussions at the principals committee, Albright found herself taking over by demanding respect and speaking up. In addition, she assured the public that her gender did not prevent her from dealing with foreign diplomats. She stated, “if they were to have foreign policy discussions with the U.S., they had to go through me.” With Minister Kang present, Secretary Albright took the opportunity to share some advice. She assured her that if she is knowledgeable about the issues, speaks up early in meetings, surrounds herself with the best minds, and listens to outsider opinions, her life as the top South Korean diplomat will be full of successes and accomplishments.
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.
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.
- Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, USA
- Arctic Council (forum)
- NATO members: US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway
- Ice melt is opening up new potential shipping lanes through ”Northern Sea Route”
- Canada, Russia, US experience the most extreme Arctic changes
- 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
- 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)
- 2 icebreakers (1 under repair)
- 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
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.