April 9-11, 2013
ADM William McRaven
Admiral William McRaven is the ninth commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. USSOCOM ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and, as directed, conducts operations worldwide. Admiral McRaven served from June 2008 to June 2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headquartered at FortBragg, N.C. JSOC is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics. Admiral McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as commander, SOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces. Admiral McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for Operations at JSOC; commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group One; commander of SEAL Team Three; task group commander in the U.S. Central Commander of responsibility; task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield; squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group; and, SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team Four. Admiral McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff; assessment director at USSOCOM, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group One. Admiral McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish, and was the first graduate from the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.
Born in 1945, Mr. Armitage graduated in 1967 from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served on a destroyer stationed on the Vietnam gunline and subsequently completed three combat tours with the riverine/advisory forces in Vietnam. Fluent in Vietnamese, Mr. Armitage left active duty in 1973 and joined the U.S. Defense Attache Office, Saigon. Immediately prior to the fall of Saigon, he organized and led the removal of Vietnamese naval assets and personnel from the country.Deputy Secretary Armitage has held a number of positions in the public service with a wide breadth of international experience, working extensively in both Asia and the Arab World. His most recent government posting was as Deputy Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He is now the President of Armitage International.
SES, William J.A. Miller
William J.A. (Joe) Miller, is currently the Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy for the United States Special Operations Command, as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Since his appointment on 20 August 2007, he has been responsible for the development of all Special Operations planning and the synchronization of the Department of Defense's planning efforts against terrorism. He has completed over 30 years of service to the defense of the nation. Mr. Miller was comminsioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Calavry upon graduation from the University of Florida. After completion of the basic officer training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Benning, Georgia, he completed a 26 year career in the United States Army. Mr. Miller led and commanded Soldiers, U.S. and allied, from the platoon through Brigade level and has extensive operation experience, including numerous deployments in Europe (Kosovo and Bosnia) and the Middle East (Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan). Mr. Miller is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and he was a War College Fellow in the Advanced Operational Studies Fellowship at SAMS after Task Force Command. Mr. Miller earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with honors from the University of Florida, a Master of Sciene in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from SAMS. Mr. Miller currently resides in Tampa, Florida with his wife LTC (Ret) Carolyn S. Smith and their son JJ.
Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross is a Counselor at the Washington Institute who specializes in Arab-Israeli Relations, Iraq, Democratic Reform, and the Peace Process. From 2009 to 2011 he served as a special assistant to President Obama and the National Security Council senior director for the Central Region and as a special advisor to Secretary of State Clinton on Iran. From 2001-2009 he served as the Washington Institute’s Ziegler Distinguished fellow. Ambassador Ross has been a leader in the Middle Eastern peace process, serving under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, helping to facilitate the 1995 Interim Agreement, 1997 Hebron Accord, and the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty. Under the first President Bush, Ross served as the director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and worked as a leader in U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, arms control, and the 1991 Gulf War coalition. Under President Reagan he served as the director of Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Staff. He was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton and Secretaries Baker and Albright awarded him the State Department’s highest honors. Ambassador Ross is a graduate of UCLA, has received UCLA’s highest medal, and was named UCLA alumnus of the year. His publications have appeared in various journals, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. He is the author of numerous books, most recently Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East.
Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. From 2010 to 2012, she held the Class of 1960 Distinguished National Security Chair at the US Naval Academy. From May 2001 to January 2009, she served as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs; in February 2007, she was appointed the President's Special Envoy to Northern Ireland. She received the Secretary of State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal for her work in these positions. Other government appointments include: Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House. From 1997-2001, she served on the Presidentially-appointed U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.Ambassador Dobriansky also served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations and was the Council's first George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies. From 1994 to 1998, she served on George Mason University’s Board of Visitors. She is Chair of the National Board of Directors of the World Affairs Councils of America.She received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.
Ambassador Michael A. Sheehan
Ambassador Michael A. Sheehan Michael A. Sheehan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn-in as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC) in December 2011. He is the Secretary of Defense’s principal civilian advisor on programs, policies, and resources for special operations. In addition, the office oversees Defense Department policies and programs regarding counternarcotics, humanitarian assistance, security force assistance programs for building partner capacity, and stability operations. Mr. Sheehan has over thirty-years in public service; much of it involved in counter terrorism, counter insurgency, peacekeeping, and law enforcement operations. Mr. Sheehan is a 1977 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served in a variety of infantry and special forces assignments. In the infantry, he commanded a mechanized company in an armored brigade in Korea with multiple tours on the Demilitarized Zone (1983-85). As a special forces officer, Mr. Sheehan served in a variety of counter terrorism and counter insurgency capacities. He commanded an Operational Detachment -Alpha in a hostage rescue unit in Panama (Company C, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)) and participated in numerous training and advisory deployments in Latin America including Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. In addition, Mr. Sheehan graduated from the Colombian Commando course, Lancero. He is Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces, Jungle Warfare, and Jumpmaster qualified, and is a recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge. In 1985 and 1986, Mr. Sheehan was the brigade counter insurgency advisor for the Fourth Brigade in Chalatenango, El Salvador, one of the most combative regions in the country. While on active duty, Mr. Sheehan served in the field on peacekeeping missions in Somalia (1993-94)
Middle East/ North Africa Panel
Dr. Josh Landis, Ph. D.
Dr. Joshua Landis is an Associate Professor in the Department of International and Area Studies and Director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is President of the Syrian Studies Association and writes “Syria Comment”, and internet blog and newsletter about Syrian politics and events which attracts over 50,000 viewers a month. Dr. Landis contributes to numerous thinktanks including the Woodrow Wilson Institute, Middle East Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, and Brookings Institute. He has appeared as an analyst on numerous TV and radio programs including PBS News Hour, al-Jazeera, NPR, BBC, and Frontline. He publications include works in Foreign Policy, Middle East Policy, and Time Magazine. He is also a recipient of the best teacher prize at his university. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College (BA), Harvard University (MA), and Princeton University (Princeton).
Aaron David Miller
Aaron David Miller is an American Middle East expert who is currently the Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar at the Wilson Center. He has served as an advisor to six Secretaries of State when he worked for the United States Department of State from 1978 to 2003. Much of his work focused on the Arab-Israeli peace process. Mr. Miller has served as a fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations and as a resident scholar at the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies. In 2003 Mr. Miller became the President of Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit organization which develops young leaders in conflict plagued regions around the world. He held the post until becoming ga Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center in 2006. His most recent book is The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace. His guest appearances include CNN, FOX News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, NPR, BBC, Al-Jazeera, the World Economic Forum, and Harvard University. His articles have been published in many prominent newspapers and journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.
Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain is currently the President of the Middle East Institute, a non-partisan analytical and education center dedicated to the study of the Middle East. From 2004 to 2007 she served as a supervisor with the UN humanitarian organization. Her U.S. Foreign Service experience spans a 29-year career including her Ambassadorship to Pakistan from 2001 to 2002 when she worked to secure Pakistan’s cooperation and aid following the September 11 attacks. Ms. Chamberlain’s experience also includes serving as the Director of Global Affairs and Counter-terrorism at the National Security Council from 1991-93 and as Deputy in the Bureau of International Counter-Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs from 1999-2001. Her other US Foreign Service experience includes work with the US Agency for International Development, the Ambassadorship to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and postings in Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Laos, and Zaire. She serves on the board of the American Academy for Diplomacy and the Hollings Center and has appeared on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CBS, ABC, BBC, FOX, NPR, NBC, and al-Jazeera.
Moderator: Dr. Michele Dunne
Michele Dunne is director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Dr. Dunne has served in the White House on the National Security Council staff, on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and in its Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and as a diplomat in Cairo and Jerusalem. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She holds a doctorate in Arabic language and linguistics from Georgetown University, where she has served as a visiting professor of Arabic and Arab studies. She co-chairs the Working Group on Egypt, a bipartisan group of experts established in February 2010 to mobilize US government attention to the forces of change in that country. Her numerous publications include “Egypt’s Democratic Transition: Five Myths about the Economy and International Assistance” (Legatum Institute and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011), and“Egypt: From Stagnation to Revolution” (in America’s Challenges in the Greater Middle East, Palgrave McMillan 2011).
Australian Ambassador, Kim Beazley
The Honorable Kim BeazleyMr Beazley is the Australian Ambassador to the United States. He was elected to the Australian Federal Parliament in 1980 and served for 27 years. He held various ministerial posts in the Australian government including Defense, Finance, Transport and Communications, Employment Education and Training, Aviation, and Special Minister of State.He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1995-96 and Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1996-01 and 2005-06. Mr. Beazley’s other work includes the Winthrop Professorship in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Western Australia and Chancellor of the Australian National University. In 2009 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Parliament of Australia.
Singapore Ambassador, Ashok Kumar Mirpuri
Ambassador Ashok Kumar Mirpuri is the Ambassador from the Republic of Singapore to the United States. He was appointed to the US Ambassadorship in July, 20912. From 2006 to 2012 he served as the Ambassador to Indonesia, 2002 to to 2006 as the High Commissioner to Malaysia, and from 2000 to 2002 as the High Commissioner to Australia. Mr. Mirpuri joined the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984. In 1994 he was appointed Director of the Ministry’s Policy Planning % Analysis Directorate I in Southeast Asia. In 1998 he served in the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta in 1998 as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission. Mr. Mirpuri is a recipient of the Public Administration Gold Medal by the Singapore Government in 2010.
The Honorable, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal
Dr. Dino Patti Djalal is the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, a career diplomat, speech writer, activist, and author. He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia in 1987. His posts include London, Dili, and Washington D.C. He was appointed as Director for North American Affairs from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to 2010 he served as the Special Staff for International Affairs and Presidential Spokesperson for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Dr. Djalal donates significant amounts of time to youth activism and is the founder of Modernisator, a youth leadership movement. He is the author of seven books including Harus Bisa!, an Indonesian best seller.
The Honorable, Y.J. Choi
Y.J. Choi was appointed by President Lee Myung-bak as the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States in March 2012.Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 1972, he has held numerous positions as a Korean diplomat and UN official. He most recently served as Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Cote D'Ivoire from 2008 to 2011. Prior to this, a career diplomat, he served as Permanent Representative of Korea to the United Nations from 2005 to 2007. A career diplomat, he also served as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2004 and Ambassador to the Republics of Austria and Slovenia in 2002. Between 2000 and 2001, he was the Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations. As Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations from 1998 to 1999, he was given the responsibility of overseeing the planning and support for seventeen peacekeeping operations. His most recent publications include East and West: Understanding the Rise of China (2010).
Moderator: Mary Kissel
Mary Kissel is a member of The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board in New York. From 2005 to 2010, she was editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal Asia, based in Hong Kong. She joined the Journal in Hong Kong in 2004 as writer of the Money & Investing section's Heard in Asia column. Previously, she worked for Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, in New York and London.
Ms. Kissel has a master's degree in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor's in government from Harvard University. She is a native of south Florida.