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Army War College to co-host security symposium Nov. 14-15

The upcoming symposium will be the third hosted by ILSS; the 2016 symposium was about economic security and the 2017 symposium covered cybersecurity.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has teamed with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute to present a two-day symposium about leadership in a complex world.

Set for Nov. 14-15 on the Dahlonega Campus, the free event features experts from around the world and focuses on the influence of private military security companies on international security and foreign policy.

"The Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies hosts annual symposia which are designed to stimulate critical thinking, expand knowledge, and enhance the reputation of UNG as a nationally prominent institution in strategic studies," said Dr. Billy Wells, senior vice president for leadership and global engagement and a retired Army colonel. "This year, UNG is co-hosting the symposium with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute and we have an impressive lineup of speakers and panelists to discuss the increasingly complex and important role of private military security companies in international security and foreign policy."

From UNG, the Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the UNG Press are co-hosting the event, which includes guest speakers who are experts in the field, as well as panel discussions, and presentations of posters and scholarly papers.

Dr. Edward Mienie, executive director for strategic studies program and partnerships at UNG and an associate professor of strategic and security studies, will present his paper that examines national security from a human security perspective.

“Private military and security companies have become increasingly relied-upon by nation-states over the past two decades to support military operations during conflict,” Mienie said. “But as private, for-profit corporations assume more and more of the duties that national militaries and government intelligence agencies once performed, the question arises whether private military and security companies are contributing more to national security, or to state fragility.”

Mienie noted that especially in the sphere of cyber operations, “mission creep” has expanded the definition of conflict.

“The definition of conflict has morphed and expanded to include the modern concept of ‘hybrid conflict,’ in which a nation and its citizens are under constant cyberattack at a level short of the traditional definition of war,” he said.

Speakers include:

  • Molly Dunigan is a senior political scientist and associate director of the Defense and Political Sciences Department at the RAND Corporation, and a lecturer in Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Politics and Strategy. Her research interests focus on private military and security contractors, civil-military relations, irregular warfare, counterinsurgency, maritime security, and civilian deployment.
  • Erik Prince is executive director and chairman of Frontier Services Group, a private equity firm he founded. A military veteran and private equity investor, Prince has business interests in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America in the fields of logistics, aviation services, manufacturing, natural resources development, and energy.
  • Eeben Barlow, CEO of STTEP International, is a political and security adviser to several African governments. He served in the South African Defence Force in conventional, unconventional and covert units and has been a trainer of special forces units.
  • Sean McFate is an author, novelist and expert in foreign policy and national security strategy. He is a professor at the National Defense University and Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division and later became a private military contractor.
  • Birthe Anders is a senior fellow with the Harvard University Humanitarian Initiative and non-resident fellow at West Point’s Modern War Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in war studies from the Department of War Studies, King's College London, and a Diploma in Political Science and Law from Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany. Her research focuses on private military and security companies, non-governmental organization security, and civil-military relations.
  • Laura A. Dickinson joined GW Law in 2011 as the Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law. Her work focuses on national security, human rights, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law.

Topics for the panel discussions scheduled across both days include Influences in Foreign Policy; Governance, Laws and Ethical Standards; and Nation-State Stability and Leadership Changes.

After the conference, extended papers from the abstracts selected for presentation at the symposium will be published by the UNG Press in a peer-reviewed and edited symposium monograph.

Visit the symposium website to register and for more information, including a schedule of events, speaker bios, a list of posters to be presented, and a suggested reading list on the topic.

The symposium will be the third hosted by ILSS; the 2016 symposium was about economic security and the 2017 symposium covered cybersecurity.

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