*Please note the change of date*

NSF members and participants. The likely prospect of significant snow in the Sierras and here in the Valley beginning Wednesday night and continuing through Thursday has caused us to postpone Keith Hansen’s talk to Friday, January 27th. Here is the revised time:

National Security Challenges 

Facing the Trump Administration:

Threats and Uncertainties

with

Keith Hansen

Former National Intelligence Officer

for Strategic Programs & Nuclear Proliferation

The Ramada, Friday, January 27, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

No need to RSVP now—we’ll have the official announcement out later this week.

Please join us for this most timely presentation on….

National Security Challenges

Facing the Trump Administration:

Threats and Uncertainties

with

Keith Hansen

Former National Intelligence Officer

for Strategic Programs & Nuclear Proliferation

The Ramada, Thursday, January 19, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Donald Trump will be sworn in as President on January 20, and will be facing a number of threats and challenges his national security team must immediately address. That includes cyber warfare, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, Russian aggression, Chinese island-building, Iranian (Shia) and Sunni state rivalries, non-state movements in the region (ISIS. Al-Nusra, etc.), and North Korean instability and nuclear weapons provocations.

Keith Hansen will lay out the primary challenges facing the Trump national security team, and will address possible actions and policies the new administration may take. In his 30-year government career, Hansen served as the NIO for Strategic Programs & Nuclear Proliferation, as the Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence, and as a participant in several arms control negotiations, including SALT II, INF, and CTBT.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served. We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.

You are encouraged to RSVP by clicking HERE. You may also RSVP by e-mailing info@nationalsecurityforum.org. Just a reminder, after the forum, we will be offering membership applications for the July 1, 2016– June 30, 2017 period.  Forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.

Please note the change of date for January!

 Save the Dates for these Timely and Exciting Presentations….

National Security Challenges 

Facing the Trump Administration:

 Threats and Uncertainties

with

Keith Hansen

Former National Intelligence Officer

for Strategic Programs & Nuclear Proliferation

The Ramada, Thursday, January 19, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Donald Trump will be sworn in as President on January 20, and will be facing a number of threats and challenges his national security team must immediately address. That includes cyber warfare, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, Russian aggression, Chinese island-building, Iranian (Shia) and Sunni state rivalries, non-state movements in the region (ISIS. Al-Nusra, etc.), and North Korean instability and nuclear weapons provocations.

Keith Hansen will lay out the primary challenges facing the Trump national security team, and will address possible actions and policies the new administration may take. In his 30-year government career, Hansen served as the NIO for Strategic Programs & Nuclear Proliferation, as the Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence, and as a participant in several arms control negotiations, including SALT II, INF, and CTBT.

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BIO THREATS

Infectious Diseases and National Security

with

Dr. James Wilson

UNR Research Professor and

Director, Nevada Center for Infectious Disease Forecasting

The Ramada, Friday, February 10, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The United States faces severe challenges from a possible attack using bio weapons by terrorist groups from nation states.  In addition, the U.S. needs to be prepared to counter naturally occurring infectious diseases, which have become key national security concerns, regardless of attribution.

UNR Research Professor and Director, the Nevada Center for Infectious Disease Forecasting, Dr. James Wilson, believes that the United States will face growing threats with wide spread impacts from infectious diseases of major significance.  He will assert that the federal government has failed to provide sufficient warning of such incidents in the past, and that has cost many American lives.  At one point, Wilson believes, our President was placed at great direct risk.

Wilson concludes that public health is in a “state of slow collapse”.  A major failure has been the absence of serious involvement from the intelligence community, working with the bio-medical sectors.  The need for such cooperation is critical– now more than ever.

Dr. James Wilson (MD) led the efforts in the Bush administration to create the nation’s first comprehensive warning system for infectious disease-related national security events.  He led teams that provided advance warning for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and identification of the United Nations as the source of the Haiti cholera disaster in 2010.

No Need to RSVP Now—Just Mark the Dates on Your Calendars.

Please note the January 10th Deadline!

NSF Participants,

The National Security Forum is seeking to create a position of part-time executive director to administer and guide the operations of the organization.  Dr. Tyrus W. Cobb, the original founder and long-time de-facto director, wishes to reduce his daily role in the organization over the next several years.  His expertise and strong connections within the national security community will continue to be of great importance to the organization, but the day-to-day operations, including communications, programming and fundraising duties, will be conducted by the executive director.

Anyone interested in applying for the position can find more information at:

http://www.nationalsecurityforum.org/position-announcement-executive-director/

All interested parties, please submit your resume to Carina Black at cblack@unr.edu by January 10th.

New president faces too many icebergs, too many Titanics

By Harlan Ullman, UPI.com, Dec. 27, 2016

In the early morning hours of April 15 nearly 101 years ago, the super ship of her day, RMS Titanic, struck an iceberg. An enormous gash was torn in her starboard side below the water line. The “unsinkable” ship flooded and sank. Of the 2,243 passengers and crew, about 1,500 died, making this one of the greatest maritime disasters in history.

When viewing world events today, catastrophe and crisis are seemingly everywhere. Syria; conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen; the resilience of the Islamic State; Russian “active measures” in Europe and the United States to disrupt elections; China’s fortifying of islets in international waters; and the rise of populism and nativism provide a surfeit of potential Titanics and icebergs, especially with a president-elect as unconventional as Donald Trump. Parallels with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, that precipitated a world war, wrongly labeled “great,” may not be farfetched.

Miscalculation between Russian and American and coalition aircraft operating over Syria and in European international air space or between Chinese and Americans — recall the knockdown of a U. S. Navy P-3 aircraft in international waters forcing a landing on Hainan in April 2001 — is not impossible. Nor is the promised retaliation by President Barack Obama to Russian hacking by Cozy and Fancy Bear — Russian sources of some of these attacks — out of the question. And massive terrorist attacks far beyond what happened in Berlin last week could create huge crises. Imagine a September 11-type of attack with biological weapons killing hundreds of thousands.

This explosive mix of looming multi-crises could be ignited by miscalculation, mistake or misperception let alone willful act. Trump has electrified the Twitter world with his post-election conversations with the president of Taiwan and the prime minister of Pakistan. The first raises questions about the viability of the longstanding “one China” policy that sustains Taiwanese independence by acknowledging it is part of China. The latter can be taken as a snub of India. And both suggest a pivot away from China possibly toward Russia.

The appointment of Chinaphobe Peter Navarro to a key trade position in the White House, along with the refusal to name Russia as a real threat by the president-elect, supports this possible policy shift. As both Secretary of Defense-designate Jim Mattis and National Security Adviser-to-be Mike Flynn regard the Islamic State and related Islamist terror groups as the main danger, Russia can be a necessary ally to win this fight. Of course, the anti-Chinese thrusts may be negotiating gambits as Trump loves the “art of the deal.”

The president-elect has been better at deal making than at actually running a large business. Still, Trump is relying on business skills rather than governing experience for key Cabinet officials and social media to telegraph his plans and reactions. Whether this change in the style of governing could become a potential Titanic ship of state sailing amongst many political and strategic icebergs is a crucial question.

A grand bargain with Russia and Vladimir Putin may be high on the Trump agenda. Yet, Trump’s tweet for “expanding” greatly our nuclear capability as a threat or bargaining ploy with Putin is reckless. And his asking Boeing if the costs of Super Hornet F-18 war planes could be cut to induce Lockheed to drive down the price of the more advanced and expensive fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter ignores the difference in capabilities. And because this is a multinational buy, if Lockheed cannot comply and fewer F-35s are bought, unit prices will soar, forcing allies to cancel, driving costs even higher.

In another vein, suppose the 45th president decides Washington is too provincial or boring and spends most long weekends at Trump Tower in New York? Not only the expense but the inconvenience of halting air and land traffic for a presidential arrival will further roil commuting and burden local citizens with permanent inconveniences caused by this preference to weekend in New York. That, too, could be a self-inflicted political iceberg.

Two other realities are potential icebergs. As Jack Kennedy famously said, “There is no school for presidents.” Newly elected presidents are never fully prepared for the demands of office. And every president since Truman has stumbled, often badly, in their first year or two in office.

Five short blasts on a ship’s whistle signal danger. Count on hearing hear many such blasts over the coming months.

Harlan Ullman is UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave Distinguished Columnist and a senior adviser at Washington, D.C.’s Atlantic Council and Business Executives for National Security. His last book is “A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace. This article reprinted with the author’s permission.