Category Archives: Newsletter

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.

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.

Summary of the presentation on….

“A Looming Global Debt Crisis?”

with

Dr. Jerry O’Driscoll

 

CATO Institute Senior Fellow and former Vice President at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, Jerry O’Driscoll, addressed the creeping crisis of rapidly rising government debt at all levels, and in many countries.  Jerry surveyed the growing debt that has observers of many industrialized countries deeply concerned.

In the United States, federal debt is at a 66-year high as a share of the economy. It is forecast to continue growing. Though varying by state, most have worrisome debt levels. This is especially true when one factors in unfunded pension obligations.

Dr. O’Driscoll stressed that as the burden of debt grows at all levels of government, more resources must be devoted to just servicing that debt.  That leaves fewer resources for investments that enhance productivity and stimulate economic growth.

In his presentation, Jerry included a number of graphs that starkly illustrated the rising challenge represented by soaring public debt.  It is so bad that the debt burden will at least partially offset any estate a person may be planning on leaving. The soaring public debt at all levels also imposes a serious, rising burden on younger Americans.

In the Q&A period, O’Driscoll was asked to differentiate between debt held at the national, state, and local government entities.  Only the federal government has the option to print more money, which the United States and most other countries have been doing for some time. This practice has not lead to a commensurate rise in lending, but has created a risk of inflation.

As O’Driscoll pointed out, politicians can’t agree on what steps to take to address the crisis.  Thus, entitlement programs, compensation for government employees, and, especially, rapidly rising healthcare costs are leading U.S. government entities to the verge of insolvency. However, O’Driscoll reluctantly concluded that until a real crisis occurs; e.g. the collapse of a major city or state, it is unlikely that anything will be done.

Local and state governments need to take the first step of a “12-step program” and admit they have a problem.  Until they do, not much will change.

A number of questions related to China, which on the one hand is a major holder of US. debt and on the other itself is increasingly assuming a greater debt burden.  O’Driscoll noted that as the Chinese economy slows, leaders have resorted to the “tried and true” method of simply issuing more debt and printing more money.  It is becoming more difficult to maintain economic growth with these strategies.  O’Driscoll was also asked if China used debt as a weapon.  “Yes”, he replied, but noted that on the other hand the United States in a way has “China over a barrel” because China owns so much of our debt!

Dr. O’Driscoll was asked if he were Trump’s economic czar, what would he recommend doing to reign in the national debt. The first step he said would be to mandate a balanced budget!  And in doing so he said this meant reigning in spending on the major outflow categories– healthcare, defense, and social security.  He recommended attendees look at the CATO Institute website titled, Downsizing Government (here is the link: www.downsizinggovernment.org

Surveying the international scene, O’Driscoll said several countries were on the verge of serious financial crisis, including Venezuela and Italy. Venezuela is closer to a debt crisis, but Italy is by far the larger economy. Should these economies be unable to service their debts, there could be a ripple effect that will negatively impact the global economic order.

Attendees agreed that Dr. O’Driscoll’s presentation was informative and enlightening, but it was anything but upbeat! His PowerPoint slides are attached.

Dr. Tyrus W. Cobb  

http://www.nationalsecurityforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Looming-debt-crisis-1.pdf

Please save the dates for these very timely and certainly provocative discussions….

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?

Please save the date for what will certainly be an interesting presentation and discussion! 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”.

//////////////////////////////////////////

The Nevada Terawatt Facility

Training Researchers 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. He has expressed a readiness to welcome members of the NSF, if there is interest, to come to the Terawatt facility to view the experiments first-hand.
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Note: There will also be a program in August on the Cyber threat with Todd Shipley, and General John Abizaid will meet with the NSF to discuss the Ukrainian-Russian confrontation and developments in the Mideast on September 7. The General has been serving as a senior advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Ukraine military.

No need to RSVP now. Please just reserve these dates.