On October 18, 2016, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and National Defense University’s Center for Complex Operations co-hosted a Hemispheric Forum and book release event for Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, a new publication from CCO Press. In panel discussions and subsequent question-and-answer sessions, the book’s authors engaged with a diverse audience comprised of civilian and military officials and scholars drawn from the national security and defense policy communities. Forum participants also included students representing 19 countries in the Americas who are enrolled in the Perry Center’s Strategy and Defense Policy (SDP) course.
Ms. Caryn Hollis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, provided opening remarks in which she asked whether DoD and its partners are “ready and able to envision, detect, and prepare for future trends in the evolution of illicit networks.” DASD Hollis noted that her office is preparing a forthcoming Department of Defense (DoD) strategy to counter drug trafficking and other illicit threat networks. She stated that DoD seeks to: strengthen U.S. and partner nations’ capabilities to combat drug trafficking and other illicit networks; directly support efforts to disrupt and neutralize illicit threat networks so they lose the capacity to conduct sustained operations; and support and enable U.S. and international efforts to reduce drug trafficking and other transnational criminal activity. To accomplish these goals, DASD Hollis outlined the following primary objectives: synchronize strategy and planning efforts among DoD and other U.S. Government partners; enhance domain awareness; build partner capacity; encourage cooperation and collaboration among partners with respect to intelligence and information sharing; and support and enable the operations of U.S. and international law enforcement partners to disrupt and disable illicit threat networks.
The Beyond Convergence forum featured two panels comprised of distinguished national security scholars and practitioners. The first panel, moderated by Ms. Hilary Matfess, Research Associate at the Institute for Defense Analyses, examined the nature of the evolving global threat environment and how the evolution of illicit threat networks continues to present unique challenges to security and governance. Panelists included: Mr. Douglas Farah, President of IBI Consultants, LLC, and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Complex Operations; Dr. Phil Williams, Wesley W. Posvar Chair and Director of the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, University of Pittsburgh; and Rear Admiral (Ret.) James C. Olson, U.S. Coast Guard, United States Interdiction Coordinator and Senior Policy Advisor, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The second panel, moderated by Mr. Michael Miklaucic, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Complex Operations, discussed how security professionals’ thinking and approaches must evolve to effectively respond to these challenges, and how the embracing of new paradigms can lead to new opportunities for security cooperation and collaboration. Panelists included: Ms. Clare Lockhart, co-founder and CEO of the Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE); Mr. Chris Fussell, Managing Partner at McChrystal Group; Professor Celina Realuyo, Professor of Practice, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.
Admiral Kurt Tidd, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, closed the forum by comparing and contrasting “our” networks— those comprised of public and private sector specialists that collaborate to build a safer, more secure hemisphere—with illicit threat networks that seek to disrupt our security. He echoed preceding speakers’ callings for new ways of thinking about illicit networks and encouraged audience members to imagine how defense agencies could evolve to confront them. Admiral Tidd then responded to questions from live and online participants, while emphasizing the need for collaboration to address worldwide flows of illicit drugs, weapons, and money.