Leaders in global security and public policy met Thursday morning at the Newseum to discuss the future of warfare, technology and cyber threats.

Listen to the session here:


Participants included:

David Abshire, President, Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
Gordon Adams, Distinguished Fellow Stimson Center, School of International Service, American University
Courtney Banks, Chief Executive Officer, National Security Associates Worldwide
Patrick Clawson, Deputy Director for Research Washington Instute for Near East Policy
Paul Cofoni, President and Chief Executive Officer, CACI International Inc
Joseph Collins, Professor, National War College
Paul Davis, Senior Principal Researcher, The Rand Corporation
Andrew Exum, Fellow, Center for a New American Security
Nathaniel C. Fick, Chief Executive Officer, Center for a New American Security
Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
Jane Harman, Representative, United States House of Representatives
Shane Harris, Senior Writer, Washingtonian
Jim Kessler, Vice President for Policy, Third Way
Patrick Lang, Author, Retired Army Officer
Jim Marshall, Representative United States House of Representatives
Mark "Puck" Mykleby, Special Strategic Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff United States Marine Corps
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, Department of State
Frances Townsend, Partner Baker Botts L.L.P.
Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator for Rhode Island, United States Senate

The Conversation:

The discussion began with general agreement on the way security issues have changed in the wake of globalization.  Threats to the United States are no longer just attacks from foreign governments, but attacks from small groups embedded deep within other countries. Because these groups aren't centralized, they are increasingly difficult to stop with force.  At the outset of the conversation, our experts agreed that the United States needs clear legal policies to confront the new dangers that have emerged as warfare has changed.

Economic stability plays a critical role America's future security; most nations define their interest and power in terms of domestic economics, and many of the problems that America must confront will be insurmountable without a stable economy.  A cyber attack targeting vital aspects of U.S. infrastructure, like communications systems, power companies, and banks, is a potentially debilitating threat to America.

"We're not going to be able to deal with any of these problems unless we have a strong and vibrant economy." -- Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus & Board Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

One important way to increase cyber safety is through implementation of laws and policies, which the cyber world largely lacks. Such legislation would help the U.S. government legally combat cyber attacks from foreign enemies by making sure the rules of engagement apply to the cyber world. Our growing dependence on electronics makes us more vulnerable, and we must implement a legal, regulated plan to protect ourselves.

"We have to make sure the rules of engagement that pertain to geographical warfare can pertain to the cyber world."  -- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Five Big Ideas from our Global Security Experts:

   1. The "fog of law" can be as dangerous as the fog of war, and clear legal standards must be enacted, understood, and followed as war is redefined in the future.
   2. The ability to wage war successfully hinges on a strong domestic economy.
   3. America is currently at risk of a cyber attacks, and is ill-prepared to deal with such attacks effectively.
   4. New laws, regulations, and policies must specifically be applied to the internet to protect America from a potential cyber attack.
   5. The American government is moving away from counterinsurgency strategies in favor of development strategies.