Please join us for this most interesting presentation on….

The Nevada Terawatt Facility

Training Students in the Field of High-Energy-Density Science

with

Dr. Aaron Covington

The Ramada, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The Nevada Terawatt Facility (NTF) performs high quality research in the area of high-energy-density (HED) physics, the study of matter under extreme conditions of temperature and density. It is one of the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Science Centers as part of the nuclear stockpile stewardship programs.

Located at the former Stead AFB, the NTF was established by UNR in 2000. The primary focus of the NTF is to conduct research that focuses on the study and behavior of matter subject to conditions of extreme temperature and density. This rapidly developing field explores the “4th state of matter”, called plasma, under conditions similar to those occurring in the interiors of stars, nuclear fusion reactors, and lightning bolts. Dr. Covington will discuss the science behind the work of the NTF, as well as the very advanced pulsed-power generator and Leopard Laser that are two of the highly specialized tools needed to conduct these experiments.

Dr. Aaron Covington is the Director of the Terawatt Facility and is a professor in the Department of Physics at UNR.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.
Please RSVP by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.

Summary of the presentation on….

Iran’s Shia Expansionism in the Greater

Middle East

By Dr. Eliot Assoudeh

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been a political riddle. Its charismatic leader, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini – rejecting liberal democracy, communism, and theocracy alike – introduced the Islamic Republic as a ‘third way.’ The populist, authoritarian regime marked the departure of mass politics in modern Iran; not only unnerving both East and West with challenges to international norms, but unsettling regional neighbors with the export of its revolutionary ideology.

As with right-wing revolutionary movements of the 20th century, the Islamic Revolution ran counter to the legacy of the French Revolution and modernity; yet in a reactionary way it was revolutionary and modern, developing into a complex Shia nationalism that diverges from traditional interpretations of Islam and resetting the political stage. The Islamic Republic is guided by a political religion that holds various myths (Islamic justice, sacralization of politics, anti-imperialism, and rule of the jurist), which constitute its canon (the Imam’s Path) along with a charismatic leader (Ayatollah Khomeini), a messenger (Shia-Iranians), and sacred texts (Khomeini’s writings).

According to Ayatollah Khamenei, the current and second Supreme Leader, there are five goals of the Islamic Revolution aimed toward Shia cultural and geographical expansion: the revolution, the formation of the Islamic system, the Islamic state, the Islamic nation, and Islamic civilization. Stemming from Manichean philosophy, revolutionary elites of Iran generally believe there are only two political parties: the Party of God and the Party of Satan. With this in mind, the Islamic Republic’s initiation of the international movement of Hezbollah (which means Party of God), with its headquarter in Tehran, takes on new meaning.

To establish ideological and cultural strengths to fuel post-revolution expansion, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) established the “Office of Liberation Movements” to support oppressed Shia minority groups. Lebanese Hezbollah was the first militia group Tehran established in the wake of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The rise of a Shia government to power in Iraq after the US-led toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 resulted in a Shia awakening across the region. Iran’s support for Shia militias in Iraq strengthened after the US surge in 2006, and again following the outbreak of Syrian civil war.

Iranian elites identify Syria as a new front for opposition to the US-led West. The IRGC recruits Shia fighters for Syria from Hezbollah branches in Afghanistan and Pakistan, rewarding mercenaries with Iranian citizenship and social welfare. Mullahs also work to redefine Syrian demographics, repopulating formerly Sunni-dominated lands with Shia settlers. In 2015, Tehran added Yemen to its sights, an area hardliners believe is crucial to the return of the Mahdi—the Shia savior.

Identifying new Islamic civilization as the final product of the revolution, Khamenei emphasizes that the Shia-Iranian way of life is an epilogue to it, centered on a culture of sacrifice, martyrdom and loyalty to rule of the jurist. To achieve this goal, the regime has developed discourse centered on increasing awareness of Islamic principle, and confronting hegemonic forces that may arise to contend with the plan.

Iran’s clearly expansionist ambitions gave rise to sectarian violence and tit-for-tat Islamism between Shia militias and their Sunni rivals – Wahhabis and Salafists. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis has emphasized, unless its containment is given greater priority in our foreign policy, the Islamic Republic remains a major impediment to long-term stability for the Middle East.

Iranian-born Eliot Assoudeh was born in Iran and recently completed his PhD degree from the University of Nevada-Reno.

The link to Dr. Assoudeh’s presentation is below:

NSF_CultEng_May 2017 (Final)

Save the Date for These Exciting Upcoming Forums….

The Nevada Terawatt Facility

Training Students in the Field of High-Energy-Density Science

with

Dr. Aaron Covington

The Ramada, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The Nevada Terawatt Facility (NTF) performs high quality research in the area of high-energy-density (HED) physics, the study of matter under extreme conditions of temperature and density. It is one of the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Science Centers as part of the nuclear stockpile stewardship programs.

Located at the former Stead AFB, the NTF was established by UNR in 2000. The primary focus of the NTF is to conduct research that focuses on the study and behavior of matter subject to conditions of extreme temperature and density. This rapidly developing field explores the “4th state of matter”, called plasma, under conditions similar to those occurring in the interiors of stars, nuclear fusion reactors, and lightning bolts. Dr. Covington will discuss the science behind the work of the NTF, as well as the very advanced pulsed-power generator and Leopard Laser that are two of the highly specialized tools needed to conduct these experiments.

Dr. Aaron Covington is the Director of the Terawatt Facility and is a professor in the Department of Physics at UNR.

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The USS Zumwalt

The Navy’s Stealth Guided Missile Destroyer

with

Captain Scott Tait

The Ramada, Friday, August 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The Guided Missile Destroyer, the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), was conceived more than 20 years ago as a land attack ship, primarily to replace the Iowa-class battleships in supporting amphibious landings. A key part of its design charter included innovation in propulsion, weapons, signatures and manning. The program to design and build these ships has been turbulent, but the result is a warship with the most modern technologies integrated in a single hull since HMS Dreadnought went to sea in 1906!

The USS Zumwalt is the first of this new class of warships. Although originally designed with a primary focus on land attack, she is a multi-mission combatant with potent offensive capabilities against air, surface, subsurface and land targets. The Zumwalt will bring significant advantages in the Navy’s traditional missions of sea control and power projection.

Captain Scott Tait will discuss USS Zumwalt, the benefits her innovations are bringing to our Navy, and the way forward for these already-iconic warships. Tait is the Commanding Officer of the USS Zumwalt. His sea tours have included operations in the western and southern Pacific, Middle East, and Europe, as well as shore commands with the US European Command, the Pacific Fleet staff, and the Joint Staff (J5, Asia). He holds Masters degrees from Stanford University and from the US Naval War College.

No need to RSVP now– just please mark your calendars!

 

Please join us for this timely presentation on….

ROUHANI, THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS,

AND

A NEW SHIA REGIONAL ORDER

with

Dr. Eliot Assoudeh

The Ramada, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Iran’s population is one of the best educated in the world, and certainly in the Middle East. No wonder then that the ruling elite continues to struggle in its desire to impose an Islamic political culture and system following strict Shia dictates. And that the Mullahs face more serious confrontations outside of Iran, especially against the Sunni Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Persian Gulf Emirates.

Dr. Eliot Assoudeh will discuss internal Iranian political conflicts, with a focus on Ayatollah Khamenei’s dictate to impose a “Cultural Revolution” in Iran. Assoudeh, who just received his doctorate from UNR, will discuss Khamenei’s vision of “Cultural Engineering” in Iran, and compare that to President Rouhani’s role in this attempt to impose more religious discipline. And, what is the stance of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), as well as the Basij?

Dr. Assoudeh was born in Iran and speaks Farsi fluently. He has written and spoken extensively on Iran’s regional policies and what he describes as “Shia expansionism”.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.

Please RSVP by clicking HERE For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.

When Pride Becomes Folly

  • By Jeff Saperstein

Special Commentary for the National Security Forum

This year marks the 100th anniversary of US entry in WW1, which claimed 116,000 American lives during just one year of combat. The “Great War” is mostly forgotten, but there may be an important lesson for today: it is not just how does a war begin, but how and when it ends that may matter most.

Human conflict and war is as old as recorded history. Glorified in Homer’s Iliad (Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships) to Joshua conquering the land of Canaan. War has been glorified.

Today, most of us have a different attitude. We have learned that armed conflict may sometimes be necessary, but for us glory is neither the purpose nor reward. War technology and weaponry of war has made the consequences of unrestricted conflict immeasurably more destructive. We hope conflict the US engages in become a means to end a conflict, or targeted to eliminate implacable foes dedicated to our destruction, rather than unconditional surrender of one nation winning, while the other totally loses in humiliation.

WWI is mostly remembered as a set of mistakes that triggered a war few wanted, but alliances among countries in Europe ensnared them into a war that commenced in August, 1914 and was supposed to end quickly as did the previous Franco-Prussian War of 1871. However, much had changed in the forty plus years of limited conflict by cavalry and cannon.
Between August and December 1914 France alone lost more than 300,000 soldiers killed. The industrialized machinery of war had enabled unprecedented murder. So if the European countries had blundered into such a war, why did they not stop after several months? Why did the war go on for four years, resulting in twenty million men losing their lives, until the 1918 Armistice?

The English poet Wilfred Owen, who lost his life in battle in 1918, voiced the cynicism of the era; he participated in what seemed like a never ending, meaningless conflict in trench warfare that not only destroyed much of Europe’s youth, but poisoned the belief in their ethos and culture. His words in “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young” still have power and resonance:

 “So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron, But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps, and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son, And half the seed of Europe, one by one.”So “the Ram of Pride” is the folly that can protract wars beyond any hope for gain.Each generation of Americans since that War have been engaged in major conflict that defined their respective eras. For my generation, the Vietnam War was such a conflict like WWI that split the nation. Many who opposed the war believed that the war was both ill-founded and unwinnable. Good men were sacrificing their lives not for our national safety, but for our national pride.Lyndon Johnson famously said, I do not want to be the first President to lose a war, while his friend Senator Russell Long advised, “Declare Victory and get the hell out of there”.One of the few Western Democracies who has experienced similar trans-generation conflict is Israel. In the brief 70 years of its existence every generation has fought multiple wars. The average Israeli man today may have fought in four separate conflicts. With reserve duty for 30 years after the three years of compulsory military service, it is not unusual for everyone to have seen active combat.

So perhaps we can gain some insight in the transformation of one of Israel’s great warriors, Ariel Sharon. Feared by Israel’s enemies and beloved by the soldiers under his command. As a military leader he was often brutally effective, but as a statesman he became wise. He famously said of conflict with the Palestinians, “Let’s do what we have to do, but let’s not do more than we have to do.”

Similarly, Colin Powell, during the first Iraq conflict  “Desert Storm”, labelled his doctrine as defined specific objectives with overwhelming force, knowing what the limited end game is intended to be and stopping when it is achieved.

It is with hope and pride that I see the current generation of American military leadership in Generals Mattis, McMaster, Petraeus, and others who have emerged from long conflicts to be both strategic and competent to use American force carefully, and with forethought to action, consequence and realistic outcome.

Let’s hope moving forward that the follies of past conflicts that should have ended, but for the Ram of Pride, will be lessons learned by American leaders who may need to put our soldiers in harms way, but judiciously.

Jeff Saperstein is a Marin-based Career Coach and University Lecturer in Communications. He is an NSF member and contributor.