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Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Security

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic posed new strategic challenges within the political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, information (PMESII), and intelligence domains of nation-states. To analyze the implications of the pandemic’s impact on these domains and to explore their implications on national security the Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, the UNG Press, the Army Strategist Association, and the Army War College Strategic Studies Institute are pleased to announce a symposium on the topic for the purpose of contributing to the scholarly discussion of this complex and strategically challenging issue.

For the purpose of this symposium, national security is the safekeeping of the nation as a whole. Its highest order of business is the protection of the nation and its people from attack and other external dangers by maintaining armed forces and guarding state secrets. Because national security entails both national defense and the protection of a series of geopolitical, economic, and other interests, it affects not only defense policy, but foreign and other policies as well.

Symposium format. The symposium will consist of a series of speakers and panels on 7 and 8 April as well as undergraduate student presentations on the afternoon of 8 April. Panelists will be selected competitively from those who submit abstracts for papers, and tentatively, travel and lodging will be covered by the symposium. Paper submission guidelines are below. Undergraduate student involvement information is in the “Student Presentations” tab below.

Writing contest. A writing contest will be held in conjunction with the symposium and judged by PhD professors at the University of North Georgia. Cash honoraria will be awarded to the winning author and two runners-up. The winner will be afforded the opportunity to attend the symposium at no cost with travel and lodging paid by the symposium. Details are in the “Writing Contest” tab below.

ILSS Symposium 2021 Paper Submission Guidelines - Deadline Extended

U.S. and international scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students are invited to submit abstracts for papers on topics related to the theme. Please submit abstracts (500 words) and short bio (150 words) by March 1, 2021 to Panel presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Conference panelists will be selected from the submitted abstracts. Panelists will be notified of acceptance by March 1, 2021. 

Symposium participants may submit articles for possible inclusion in a peer-reviewed symposium monograph to be published by the University of North Georgia Press. The deadline for article submissions will be July 7, 2021.

More information about the symposium will be updated here when announced.



April 7-8, 2021

Location - Hybrid

University of North Georgia
Dahlonega Campus
Convocation Center



No event or registration fee is required.


If you need closed captioning for this event, please email Keith Antonia or call 706 867-4576.


Participants my either attend in person or online via Zoom. The in-person option will accommodate 50 people with COVID risk-mitigation measures in place. Instructions for virtual participation will be included in the registration materials by mid-February.

Symposium Planning Group

Col (Ret) Billy Wells, Ed.D., UNG Senior Vice President for Leadership and Global Engagement
Eddie Mienie, Ph.D., Executive Director, Strategic Studies Program & Partnerships and Associate Professor of Strategic Studies & Security Studies
Bonnie (BJ) Robinson, Ph.D., Director, University of North Georgia Press
Keith Antonia, Ed.D., Associate Vice President for Military Programs
Heath Williams, Director of UNG Federal Liaison and Military Education Coordinator

Schedule & Livestream

Wednesday, April 7

Time Event
7:45 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Welcome Administrative Remarks
8:35 a.m. Opening Remarks 
8:45 a.m. Speaker: Professor Linday Heinecken, Stellenbosch University
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. "The Paradox of Framing COVID-19 as a National Security Threat" 
9:15 a.m. Q&A
9:30 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. Panel. Theme: Geopolitical Implications for National Security
10:45 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
11:00 a.m. Break 
11:15 a.m. Speaker will be updated when announced. Topic: Health Security
12:00 p.m. Q&A
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:45 p.m. Panel. Theme: Human and Health Security Implications for National Security
2:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A 
3:00 p.m. Break
3:15 p.m. Speaker: Laura Lane, Chief of Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer, UPS Global.
"Implications of the Pandemic on the Global Supply Chain"
3:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:00 p.m. Break
4:15 p.m. Speaker: Jason Schuette, Founder, Spectrum Advocates
"Cybercriminal Exploitation in the COVID-19 Environment"
4:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
5:00 p.m. Writing contest story reading
5:30 p.m. Break
6:30 p.m. Symposium Social (Tentative)

Thursday, April 8

Time Event
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:45 a.m. Welcome, administrative remarks 
9:00 a.m. Panel. Technological and Economic Security Implications for National Security
10:00 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Speaker from HawkEye360. Details will be updated here when announced. Topic: Intelligence
11:00 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
11:15 p.m. Symposium part 1 closing remarks
11:30 a.m. Break/lunch
1:00 p.m. Opening remarks and instructions
1:15 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 1
1:35 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
1:45 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 2
2:05 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
2:15 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 3
2:50 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
3:05 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 4
3:25 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
3:35 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 5
4:05 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:15 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 6
4:35 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:45 p.m. Closing remarks
5:00 p.m. End of symposium

Mr. Jason Schuette
Founder, Spectrum Advocates, LLC

“Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at an alarming pace, exploiting the fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable social and economic situation created by COVID-19.”
Description: Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General. A consequence of the Cyber Age, both the positive and negative, is the unfettered and unfiltered access to information. However, this is complicated by our growing sterilized virtual interpersonal existence. Consequently, each and every person, aka Cyber Persona, is often left without the normal support structure to better wade through the volume and veracity of this uncertainty. How can leaders in the 21st Century take the initiative and help others by creating an environment that reduces fear and thus vulnerability during times of worldwide or even localized uncertainty.
Jason Schuette, LtCol USMC (ret), enlisted in the Navy in 1986 where he was an undesignated Seaman and after bootcamp worked in the Boatswain’s Division onboard the USS Peoria until Jul 1987. With a previous nomination, during that assignment he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport Rhode Island and eventually went on to attend and graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1992 with a B.S. in Computer Science. He also holds a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University.

Accepting his commission as a 2ndLt in the U.S. Marine Corps, Jason attended The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico during the remainder of 1992. He then entered flight training and eventually completed training in 1995 and qualified in the EA-6B in 1997. With over 2,000 hours in the EA-6B, Jason was designated a Weapons Training Instructor and flew in both Operations Allied Force and Iraqi Freedom as well as deployments and exercises in the Pacific theater. His one non-flying operational billet, from 2005 – 2006, was with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) augmenting the Air Officer and serving as their Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO). 

When not in operational billets flying the EA-6B, Jason’s career focused more on research and development (R&D) as well as acquisitions of new EW, aka electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO), technologies. From 2002 – 2005 he was assigned to VX-9 and served as the Operational Test Director for the Improved Capabilities (ICAP) III, receiver upgrade for the EA-6B, and participated in the early development efforts for the EA-18G. Leveraging his systems R&D and testing experience, his final assignments from 2009 to 2014 were centered in the National Capitol Region first as a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) EW requirements officer assigned to the Operations Navy (OPNAV) staff in the N88 Strike Aviation Division Directorate, and finally as the as the EW Branch Head within the Combat Development & Integration Command, Cyber & Electronic Warfare Integration Division. During those five years he participated and/or led numerous requirements documents efforts as well as diverse and innovative Service and Joint level integrated product teams (IPT). Those IPT conducted a wide range of budget, technical and operational analysis focused on efforts to implement organizational wide transformation of EMS, Cyberspace, and Information Operations related capabilities. The end state was the achievement of a vision to create distributed and networked technology solutions responsive to emerging MAGTF and Joint Service needs.

Upon retirement in 2014, Jason formed Spectrum Advocates, LLC.  Leveraging past experience, he supports R&D efforts and organizations focused on creating innovative EMSO, Cyberspace, and Information Operations technologies. Currently he is fulfilling the role of Science Engineering Technical Assistant (SETA) for various program managers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where amongst other tasks he works directly with DoD operators on how to best integrate and transition technologies for operational use. Past research support includes the Advanced Radio Frequency Mapping program known as RadioMap. Current research projects include technologies to improve security and networking features on handheld devices, universal network control that autonomously considers intent, tactical EMSO, and adoption/modification of 5G networking technologies for military use.  

Professor Lindy Heinecken
Stellenbosch University, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

"The Paradox of Framing COVID-19 as a National Security Threat"

Professor Heinecken's research focuses on armed forces and society where she has published widely on a range of issues, including civil military relations, military unionism and defence transformation. Her current research focuses on gender integration, military recruitment and the effect of militarization on society. Her recent book is titled South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Military: Lost in Transition and Transformation. She serves on numerous academic boards, including the Council of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (IUS) and is currently the President of the International Sociological Association (ISA) Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution Research Committee (RC01). She is National Research Foundation B rated researcher. She is also a Certified Sociological Practitioner, Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology accredited by the International Sociological Association.

Laura Lane, UPS

Laura J. Lane
Chief Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer

"Implications of the Pandemic on the Global Supply Chain"

Laura Lane serves on UPS’s Executive Leadership Team. She reports directly to CEO Carol Tomé and oversees Public Policy and Government Affairs, Sustainability, Public Relations, Employee Communications and the UPS Foundation.

Laura began her UPS career as President, Global Public Affairs in 2011. In this role, she was responsible for worldwide government affairs and worked with partners across the enterprise to strengthen UPS growth and competitiveness, including successfully advocating for comprehensive tax reform; enhancing network efficiencies through infrastructure investments; securing alternative fuel credits in support of UPS’ sustainability agenda; modernizing trade agreements and customs processes; leveling the playing field with postal networks; facilitating UPS Flight Forward certification; and advocating for laws that promote equity and justice in the workplace.

Prior to joining UPS, Laura was Managing Director and Head of International Government Affairs at Citigroup.  Laura directed the day-to-day advocacy efforts of Citi’s international government affairs team. Before joining Citi, Ms. Lane was VP for Global Public Policy with Time Warner where she represented the company on the federal and international levels on all issues affecting Time Warner and its divisions.

In her government career, Ms. Lane served as a trade negotiator in the Executive Office of the President in the United States Trade Representative’s Office (USTR). In this role, she negotiated market access commitments on trade in services with China as part of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and served as U.S. negotiator on the first-ever WTO Financial Services Agreement. She also managed bilateral trade affairs with the Middle East and the Mediterranean countries. 

Before joining USTR, Ms. Lane served in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1990-1997. She worked in the Trade Policy and Programs office in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 1995-1997. She served as the State Department representative on the US Basic Telecommunications negotiating team, which concluded the first-ever global agreement on basic telecommunications in 1996. Ms. Lane also worked in the State Department Operations Center from 1994-1995 as watch officer under Secretary Warren Christopher.

In her overseas assignments, Ms. Lane was the economic and political-military affairs officer at the American Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda from 1993-1994.  She led the evacuation effort of American citizens from Rwanda in April 1994 with the outbreak of the civil war and returned in August as political advisor to U.S. forces providing humanitarian relief to Rwandan refugees. Laura subsequently delivered a TED talk on her experiences on “When to Follow your Heart and Write your own Rules” and shared her perspectives on the Rwandan genocide in the PBS/Frontline documentary “Ghosts of Rwanda.”  Ms. Lane also served as economic and consular officer in Bogota, Colombia from 1990-1992. In her state department career, she was the recipient of two Superior Honor awards and a Meritorious Honor award.

In her government advisory roles, Laura was reappointed as Chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) from 2019-2021. She is also a member of the Board of UNHCR USA and previously served as Alternate US Delegate for the APEC Business Advisory Council from 2017-2019.   

In her private sector roles, Ms. Lane is Chairman of the International Policy Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce as a Member of the Board, Vice Chairman of the Board of the German American Business Council, and a member of the Board of the Atlantic Council, the US Global Leadership Coalition, the US-ASEAN Business Council and the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. She previously served as a Member of the Johnson & Johnson’s Global Public Health Advisory Council. Finally, in 2014 and again in 2016, she served as Corporate Chair of the Global Partnership Initiative for Refugees International and continues her volunteer efforts in support of refugees.

Ms. Lane was named again as Top Lobbyist in Washington DC by the Hill in 2019 and won the Women who Mean Business Award in 2018 from the Washington Business Journal.

Ms. Lane was born in Evanston, Illinois but grew up in Frankfurt, West Germany. She graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and history and summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a Master of Science degree in Foreign Service in International Economics and Business Diplomacy. Ms. Lane’s husband, Greg, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan, and at the American Embassies in Nicaragua and Colombia, and now is an electrical engineer at Parsons Inc. Ms. Lane and her husband have two daughters. She is a two-time Ironman triathlon finisher and active community volunteer.

More details to come.
Writing Contest

2021 UNG Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Story Contest

“Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice and outrage done them might endure; and to state quite simply what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise. 

Nonetheless, he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers.” -From the ending of The Plague by Albert Camus.

The University of North Georgia’s Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, in conjunction with ILSS’s annual Symposium, is holding a Fiction and Creative Nonfiction story contest. The contest theme ties with this year’s Symposium theme: “Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Security.”


  • Dr. Renée Bricker, Professor of History, University of North Georgia
  • Dr. Bibek Chand, Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, University of North Georgia
  • Dr. Donna A. Gessell, Professor of English, University of North Georgia

Submissions are open until February 24, 2021 

Thematic Guidelines:

Continuing in the tradition of fiction and creative nonfiction pandemic stories, authors should take into account how humans, both individual and in groups, react to the disease and its aftermath. To tie in with the Symposium theme, “Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Security,” the story should in some way consider and/or reflect the new strategic challenges—as well as opportunities—that the COVID-19 global pandemic poses within the political, military, economic, social, infrastructure information (PMESII), and/or intelligence domains of nation-states. As with other epidemic-related literature, the story should not focus primarily on the disease itself, but instead on the possible changes the COVID-19 Pandemic will bring to social norms, including human interactions of all types, leadership roles, and concepts of community, and how those changes will challenge nation-states. Although the COVID-19 global pandemic is biological, authors may choose to treat associated challenges that are metaphorical, as in Camus’ treatment of fascism in The Plague.


  • Grand Prize winner receives $500 honorarium and travel and lodging for the symposium
  • Two runners-up $200 cash prize
  • All three receive publication in UNG Press ILSS Symposium Monograph and one print copy

Contest Guidelines are as follows:

  • Are open to all writers (inside and outside the US)
  • Must be fiction or creative nonfiction only
  • Must be original and unpublished. Authors retain sole rights to any works submitted
  • Must be 4,000 words or less
  • Must use acceptable file types: doc, dox, rtf, pdf
  • Must use 8.5x11 page size, double-spaced throughout with 1-inch margins on top and bottom/1.25-inch margins on left and right sides
  • Must use Arial, Courier, or Times font, 12 point font size
  • Must be in the English language
  • Winners and Runners-up will allow the UNG Press first publication rights, after which rights will revert back to the authors
  • That promote hatred of any given race, religion, sex, or ethnicity will be disqualified

How to enter:

Submit one manuscript per author to Subject line must read ILSS Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Contest Submission

Note: UNG Press/ILSS cannot be held responsible for any failure of the delivery of entries due to any electronic or Internet outage issues. By entering this contest, you agree that you have read, understand, and agree that contest judging is subjective and that you agree to accept and abide by the decision making of the judges in the scoring and judging of the fiction you enter. By submitting your fiction, you agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless UNG/ILSS selected officers, judges, instructors, and staff associated with this contest.

Student Involvement

There are three possibilities for U.S. and international undergraduate student involvement:

  1. Students are invited to attend the entire symposium, or parts of the symposium of interest to them, at no cost. Please follow the symposium registration instructions in the “Registration info” tab. 
  2. Students may submit abstracts for papers on which they are conducting research. Undergraduate research abstracts will be evaluated competitively along with other submissions for opportunities to present their work during one of the symposium panel presentations.
  3. Students may submit abstracts for PechaKucha presentations of their ideas concerning the implications of the pandemic’s impact on national security. Papers are encouraged, but not required. PechaKucha presentation abstracts are due by 24 February 2021 to symposium organizer Keith Antonia at Six students will be selected to present on the afternoon of 8 April. The PechaKucha timed presentation format is as follows:
    • Use Powerpoint
    • Use 20 slides, including the title slide (no more, no less)
    • Title slide should contain your name, academic major, the name of your institution, and title of your presentation
    • Set each slide to automatically advance at 20 seconds
    • Total presentation is 6 minutes and 40 seconds
    • Images are preferred over text; text should be very limited
    • Avoid bulleted lists
    • No animations or video
  4. Students may submit articles pertaining to their panel presentation or PechaKucha presentation abstracts after the symposium for possible inclusion in a peer-reviewed symposium monograph to be published by the University of North Georgia Press. The deadline for article submissions will be July 7, 2021.

Examples of PechaKucha presentations

Reading List

National Security Implications of covid-19: A Framework
Geipel, G.L. (2020). National Security Implications of COVID-19: A Framework. Real Clear Defense

The symposium organizers are assembling a reading list as a reference for symposium participants and others who may be interested in the topic.

Registration Info

Registration will open by mid-February.

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