2013 Archives

SMU Tower Center National Security Conference:
Regional threats, strategy in lean budget times

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England to deliver keynote address

October 29, 2013

DALLAS (SMU) – The SMU John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies will host its sixth annual national security conference, Oct. 30-31, with an emphasis on emerging regional threats and national security under conditions of budget austerity.

soldier“The Tower Center National Security Conference brings together a stellar group of senior military officers, policymakers and academic security specialists who can speak to the big picture as well as the nuts and bolts of the defense budget,” said Joshua Rovner, director of studies for the John Goodwin Tower Center. “We hope to encourage a serious discussion about the future of international security, the range of U.S. strategic responses and the difficult choices that will be necessary under fiscal austerity.” 

On Oct. 30, the conference will open with a keynote address by Gordon England, president of E6 Partners, LLC and the 29th U.S. deputy secretary of defense. His address, “The Changing Intersections of Technology, Culture and Leadership”, will examine the evolution of technology and its effect on markets, cultures, countries, companies and workers.

England served as the 72nd and 73rd secretary of the Navy and as the first deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to joining the federal government, England served as president of the General Dynamics Fort Worth Division (later Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company); as president of General Dynamics Land Systems; and as corporate executive vice president of General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology Sector, Ground Combat Systems Sector and the International Sector. 

On the second day, the conference focuses on national security under budget austerity featuring three panel discussions and a keynote address by Peter Feaver, Duke University professor of political science and public policy and director of the Program in American Grand Strategy. He also is director of Duke’s Triangle Institute for Security Studies. From June 2005 to July 2007, Feaver served as special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform on the National Security Council staff at the White House, where his responsibilities included national security strategy, regional strategy reviews and other political-military issues.

All three panel discussions will seek to combine an objective assessment of emerging regional threats with a discussion of defense spending in a time of fiscal austerity. Panel one will examine national security threats and opportunities. The second panel will discuss national security capabilities and choices, and panel three will close with a debate on money and politics as it relates to national security.

“Debates about national security need to take budget realities into account,” said Rovner. “At the same time, debates about defense spending can’t just be about number crunching. Instead, they must start with a broad understanding of national interests, threats to national security and the menu of possible strategic responses.”

The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies was created to commemorate the late U.S. senator whose life was dedicated to public service and education. In the spirit of John Tower’s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, and the practice of politics. The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center will pursue its mission in a nonpartisan manner.

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