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Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership
Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership
John McCain with a group of people

McCain Conference Information

 22nd Annual McCain Conference

30-31 March, 2023

Topic Forthcoming


Speakers for 2023 Conference To Be Announced


Speakers for 2022 Conference

Lieutenant General Michael S. Groen Director, JointArtificial Intelligence Center 

Lieutenant General Michael S. Groen assumed his current position as the Director, JointArtificial Intelligence Center on 1 October 2020. As a member of the JAIC team, he leads the transformation of U.S. Joint warfighting and departmental processes through the integration of Artificial Intelligence.

Prior to this nomination, General Groen was assigned to the National Security Agency and served as the Deputy Chief of Computer Network Operations, leading this premier Computer Network Exploitation organization. In 2018/2019, he served as the Director for Intelligence, Joint Staff (J2) in direct support of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Joint Staff. Prior to his Joint Staff assignments, General Groen served as the Director of Marine Corps Intelligence (DIRINT) where he championed the redesign of intelligence capabilities into a Marine Corps Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Enterprise (MCISRE). General Groen has served in a variety of operational, ground, air, and naval units. His service has included Central America, the Western Pacific, the Philippines, the Balkans and Iraq.

General Groen is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. He has received multiple Master’s Degrees from the University of Southern California (Systems Management) and from the Naval Postgraduate School (Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics.) General Groen is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Naval War College.

Mr. Paul Scharre, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security

Dr. Paul Scharre is the Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security. He is the award winning author of Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War. He previously worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he played a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies. Prior to joining OSD, Scharre served as a special operations reconnaissance team leader in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion and completed multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from King’s College London.

Mr. Brett Vaughan, Chief AI Officer, US Navy

Mr. Brett Vaughan assumed the role of Navy Chief AI Officer in December 2019. Prior to that he was, and still holds, the position of Artificial Intelligence Portfolio Manager for the Office of Naval Research. Prior to joining ONR, Mr. Vaughan served as Science and Technology Integration and Innovation Lead on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff. Prior to joining the Department of the Navy, Mr. Vaughan spent a twenty-year career with the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA). He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, earning a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies; and also holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University.

Ms. Jennifer Edgin, SES, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Information, Headquarters Marine Corps

Ms. Jennifer Edgin is the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Information at Headquarters Marine Corps. Ms. Edgin was selected to the Senior Level in September of 2013 serving as the Chief Technology Officer and War Room Director. She began her career as a Test Engineer at the Naval Service Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, completed a rotational assignment at Naval Sea System Command Strategic Plans and Programs, and later transitioned to Naval Sea System Command, managing submarine overhaul and maintenance periods. Ms. Edgin holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University and a Master of Science Degree in Engineering and Technology Management from George Washington University.

Lt Col Joe Chapa, USAF, Chief Responsible AI Ethics Officer, US Air Force

Air Force LtCol Joseph Chapa holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford. His areas of expertise include just war theory, military ethics, and especially the ethics of remote and autonomous weapons. He currently leads the US Air Force's AI Cross-Functional Team in Air Force Futures, and is the Department of the Air Force Chief Responsible AI Ethics Officer. He is a senior pilot with more than 1,400 pilot and instructor pilot hours. His book, Is Remote Warfare Moral? with PublicAffairs Books will be out in July, 2022.

Dr. Christopher Lowrance, Chief Autonomous Systems Engineer, US Army AI Integration Center

LTC Christopher Lowrance is presently a graduate student at the US Army War College (AWC). He received his commission as a Distinguished Military Graduate and Signal Officer from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 2000. Prior to the War College, he was assigned at the Army Artificial Intelligence Integration Center, where he served as the Chief Autonomous Systems Engineer leading modernization projects at the intersection of AI, autonomy, and robotics. Preceding the AI2C, he served as an Associate Professor and Deputy Program Director of Electrical Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. LTC Lowrance holds a Doctorate degree from the University of Louisville in Computer Science and Engineering.

Dr. James Giordano, Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry, Georgetown University

Dr. James Giordano is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center, and leads the program in Military Medical Ethics of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics. The author of over 300 publications, 7 books, and 20 government whitepapers on neurotechnology, biosecurity, and ethics, he is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine.

Dr. Nick Evans, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Dr. Nick Evans is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he conducts research on the ethics of emerging technologies, with a focus on national security issues. Before joining UMass Lowell, he completed postdoctoral work in medical ethics and health policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and also worked at The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, and the Australian Defence Force Academy. He is the author of The Ethics of Neuroscience and National Security.

Dr. Heather Roff, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Naval Analysis

Dr. Dave Barnes, Chief AI Ethics Officer, US Army Artificial Intelligence Integration Center

Dr. Dave Barnes recently retired at a BG from the Army after nearly 32 years of distinguished service, most recently serving as Professor at the West Point’s Department of English and Philosophy, and as Chief AI Ethics Officer for the US Army’s Artificial Intelligence Integration Center. He is a DARPA Senior AI Ethics Advisor, a Senior Advisor for the JAIC Responsible AI Subcommittee, a Non-resident Fellow at the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, and the author of The Ethics of Military Privatization. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, and earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Dr. Duncan Purves, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Florida

Dr. Duncan Purves is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Florida. He specializes in ethics, especially ethical issues concerning artificial intelligence and the treatment of non-human animals; and has done significant work on theoretical issues related to the nature and normative significance of harm. He currently has a National Science Foundation grant to investigate the ethical dimensions of predictive policing algorithms, and has authored several influential articles, including “Robots and respect: a response to [Rob] Sparrow.”

Mr. Mitt Regan, McDevitt Professor of Jurisprudence, Georgetown University Law Center

Mr. Mitt Regan is McDevitt Professor of Jurisprudence and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center. Before joining Georgetown, he served as a law clerk on the US Supreme Court (to Justice Brennan) and on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (to then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg). His latest book is entitled BigLaw: Money and Meaning in the Modern Law Firm. And thankfully, Mitt is a Senior Fellow at the Stockdale Center.

Dr. Henrik Syse, Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Dr. Henrik Syse is a Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), where he focuses on ethical questions related to conflicts. He holds a doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Oslo, and since 2009 has served as Chief Co-Editor of the Journal of Military Ethics. He has also worked as Head of Corporate Governance at Norges Bank Investment Management, was a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, serving as its Vice Chair for the last four years of his term. He has authored several monographs and volumes, including Natural Law, Religion, and Rights.

Mr. Mark Metcalf, Lecturer in the McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia

Mr. Mark Metcalf is a retired surface warfare officer and naval cryptologist, and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Defense Language Institute, and the Naval Postgraduate School. Upon leaving active duty, he spent the next several decades as a project manager, systems engineer, technical analyst, and translator supporting a range of Government sponsors. Since 2014, he has taught courses at the University of Virginia in Chinese Literature and at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce. His primary research interests include the translation and analysis of PLA texts that discuss contemporary applications of China’s historical strategic thought, as well as Chinese perspectives regarding the role of military ethics in modern warfare. Mark has graduate degrees in Chinese studies from the University of Arizona and the University of Cambridge.

Ms. Anna Nadibaidze, Ph.D. Candidate, Center for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark

Ms. Anna Nadibaidze is a PhD Research Fellow at the Center for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark. Her doctoral research is part of a project funded by the European Research Council: “Transforming Norms Research through Practices: Weaponized Artificial Intelligence, Norms, and Order.” She is the author of “Russian Perceptions of Military AI, Automan and Autonomy.

Dr. Peter Lee, Professor of Applied Ethics, University of Portsmouth

Professor Peter Lee is Professor of Applied Ethics at the University of Portsmouth. His research spans the ethical and other aspects of drone operations in military, policing and wider security contexts, and the ethics of autonomous weapon systems. His latest book is Reaper Force: Inside Britain’s Drone Wars, and he is currently an Expert Adviser to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones. Peter holds a PhD in War Studies from Kings College London and served as a Royal Air Force chaplain.

Dr. Greg Reichberg, Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Gregory M. Reichberg is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). He leads Warring with Machines: Military Applications of Artificial Intelligence and the Relevance of Virtue Ethics, a four-year project funded by the Research Council of Norway. His writing work includes the monograph Thomas Aquinas on War and Peace, and the volume Robotics, AI, and Humanity: Science, Ethics, and Policy. In 2021 he was appointed consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, headquartered in Vatican City, where he focuses on disarmament, the ethical implications of new military technologies, and broader issues of war and peace.

Dr. Phil Root, Director of the Strategic Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Dr. Phil Root Director of the Strategic Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. His previous positions at DARPA included Program Manager within their Tactical Technology Office, where he explored the intersection of AI, autonomy and military operations.  Before coming to DARPA, Root was the director of the Center for Innovation and Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Root spent the first decade of his career as an Apache helicopter pilot in Germany and Korea. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, and received his doctorate from MIT.

Dr. Missy Cummings, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University

Dr. Missy Cummings is a Professor in the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, and is the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory and Duke Robotics. Her research interests include human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human- autonomous system collaboration, and the ethical and social impact of technology. She is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, was a fighter pilot, and received her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Tony Pfaff, Research Professor for Strategy, the Military Profession and Ethics, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College

Tony Pfaff is the Research Professor for Strategy, the Military Profession and Ethics at the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College. He recently served as Director for Iraq on the National Security Council Staff. A retired Army colonel, he served in Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, as philosophy professor at West Point, as the Defense Attaché in Baghdad, and on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff as Senior Army and Military Advisor. He is the author of dozens of articles on ethics, leadership and military strategy, and hold a philosophy Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

Dr. Jovana Davidovic, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Iowa

Dr. Jovana Davidovic is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Iowa, where she also holds a complimentary appointment at the Law School and the Center for Human Rights. Her research focuses on military ethics and philosophy of international law, including ethics of AI, algorithmic auditing and the changing character of war. She has also worked extensively as an ethics consultant for international banks, Big Four professional service firms, and humanitarian organizations, most recently serving as the Chief Ethics Officer for BABL AI, an algorithmic bias auditing and ethics consultancy.

Dr. Leonard Kahn, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans

Leonard Kahn is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans. His teaching and research are primarily in moral theory and applied ethics, especially the intersection between just war theory and the ethics of technology. He has edited three books and numerous articles and book chapters. His book reviews (some of which were co-written with his Loyola undergraduates) have appeared in the journals Ethics, Philosophy in Review, and Metapsychology.

Dr. Richard Dean, Professor of Philosophy California State University Los Angeles

Dr. Richard Dean is a Professor of Philosophy at California State University Los Angeles. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and taught at Rutgers University and the American University of Beirut before taking his current position. His main areas of research include Kant’s ethics, contemporary normative moral theory, and various areas of applied ethics, including an emergent interest in the ethics of AI. He is the author of The Value of Humanity in Kant’s Moral Theory, and the editor of Respect: Philosophical Essays.

Dr. Patrick Smith, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Technology, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente

Dr. Patrick Smith is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Technology in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente. Before coming to the Netherlands, Patrick was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the McCoy Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University, and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at the National University of Singapore. He works primarily on the intersection between global justice and emerging climate technologies, and on the application of just war theory to emerging military technologies, especially cyberwarfare and lethal autonomous weapon systems. His book Climate Revolution: The Ethics of Radical Environmental Action is due to be out in the summer of 2023.



Registration is complimentary. You will be our guest for breakfast and lunch Thursday and Friday (You can dine on your own in town on Thursday and Friday evenings. Thursday afternoon, there will be a reception with hors d'oeuvre). Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations. Some options are linked directly below (blue text):

The Airport Shuttle


Lodging on Academy grounds
Call: 410-293-3906 or 410-293-4655.

Navy Lodge

Adjacent to the Annapolis Naval Station, a short drive from the Academy
30 rooms available.
Call: 410-757-7900.

Graduate Hotels Annapolis

126 West Street
Call: 410-263-7777

Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis

174 West Street, Annapolis
Call: 410-263-7700
Fax: 410-990-9529

Country Inn and Suites

2600 Housely, Annapolis, a short drive from the Academy
Call: 888-201-1746, 410-571-6700
Fax: 410-571-6777

Historic Inns of Annapolis

58 State Circle
Call: 410-263-2641