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Round Tables

What are Round Tables?
The NAFAC Round Tables are the foundation of our conference and provide a forum for students from all over the nation and the world to share ideas and discuss specific aspects of the general conference theme. Our round table topics vary from regionally specific topics such as our Arctic table, to thematic ones such as the round table discussing cyber. Delegates will spend the majority of the business day with their round tables discussing their topics. Each round table will be led by a Midshipman moderator, who is their to formulate ideas and guide discussion. The delegates, two from the Naval Academy and the rest from other schools, will then debate and argue the merits of their ideas and topic papers. There will be two senior advisers, who are academics or professionals in a field related to the topic,  on hand to provide insight and contribute their knowledge and experience to the discussion. One midshipman reporter will on hand to take notes and provide a daily recap of discussion.
Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime

Moderated by: 2/C John TrezzaTrezza

Power Projection and Sea Control in a Multipolar World

Times are changing. Thanks to competitors like China and Russia, the US Navy will be challenged in ways unseen since the end of the Cold War. Should the Navy be concerned that it may no longer be able to operate whenever and wherever it wants? And what does this mean for the Navy’s power projection capabilities? This roundtable will answer these questions by addressing potential threats to American maritime supremacy and examining how they will change the nature of naval power projection.

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Breaking the Ice

Moderated by: 1/C Sarah ClaudyClaudy

Competing for Security, Governance, and Economic Opportunity in an Emerging Arctic

Climate change is freeing both resources and waterways in the Arctic. As it becomes accessible, this increasingly important region will become a battlefield of international competition. Breaking the Ice: Competing for Security, Governance, and Economic Opportunity in an Emerging Arctic will question the future of the Arctic and its implications on foreign relations. Discussion will be broken into three parts: Russian Militarization and NATO Mitigation; The Arctic Council: How to Govern the Top of the World; and Cold, Hard Cash: Economic Opportunity in the Far North (primarily regarding oil exploration and commercial shipping). This roundtable treats the Arctic region as a global “blank slate” in which security, governance, and economic decisions must be innovative and their consequences may be unprecedented.

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Chess in the Desert

Moderated by: 1/C Kyle Pettyspettys

Regional and Great Power Proxy Wars in The Middle East and North Africa

Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a struggle for power across the Middle East and North Africa, each positioning itself on opposing sides of a complex network of conflicts and uprisings throughout the region in attempts to achieve dominance. This roundtable will be broken down into three main questions which, when answered, will allow for a comprehensive analysis of the issue. First, how has Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s wealth, ideology, and support of militias and terrorist organizations influenced the domestic politics of their neighbors? Second, what role or responsibility, if any, does a global power such as the United States have in the conflicts of the region, and what are the international implications? Third, how do natural resources and strategic choke points create an undercurrent beneath these conflicts and entice foreign actors?

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Crouching Tiger, Rising Power

Moderated by: 1/C Kelsie MaxwellMaxwell

The Growth and Influence of the World's Largest Democracy

India is the largest democracy in the world with the fourth highest GDP, but at the same time, according to the CIA World Factbook, 75% of its population earns less than $78 each month.  In this roundtable, India: Crouching Tiger, Rising Power, we will analyze how India is able to balance its growing power in the world playbook with development at home.  The discussion will be broken down into three subtopics: democracy, development, and diplomacy, as we attempt to unravel the mysteries of India’s soft power and competition with China and come up with a better understanding and possible solutions for improving the disparity between its external growth and internal needs.

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Defining the Undefined

Moderated by: 1/C Stephen Phillipsphillips

What does great power mean? Are we in a new era of great power competition?

For the past quarter century, the United States has maintained dominance over its allies and enemies politically, economically, and militarily. As countries like Russia and China begin to posture for power, the unipolar system must be critically evaluated to determine if a future of multipolarity or unipolarity is more desirable. What makes a great power and are there more on the horizon? Will U.S. dominance continue to come into question and should the U.S. attempt to remain the global hegemon? Debate the answers to these questions and more on Roundtable One: Defining the Undefined.

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Duck and Cover

Moderated by: 3/C Andrew ShuShu

The Proliferation of WMDs

Weapons of mass destruction generate dilemmas as well as possibilities for global power distribution. Even as the future of warfare moves away from conventional weaponry, the devastating power and limited quantities of WMDs nonetheless deem them critical in the global landscape. Duck and Cover: The Proliferation of WMDs will question the effectiveness of current nonproliferation efforts and their effects on the balance of international power. Conversation will focus on five main points: construction capabilities and destructive threat, cooperation in nonproliferation, compromise with volatile states, denial of non-state acquisition, and global power concentration.

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The Final Frontier

Moderated by: 2/C Charlie LohmannLohmann

Corporatization, Cooperation, and Competition in Space

Space is a vast realm that remains relatively unexplored and unexploited by humans. However, in today’s world there is a new space race, one that pits nation versus nation and government versus private companies. The first man on Mars might not be from a government-funded space program, but rather a private company run by billionaire entrepreneurs! Space offers militaries complete global coverage and communications, so in today’s tense times what should be done about the silent fight being waged with satellites and rockets?

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The Friendly Scramble for Everywhere

Moderated by: 2/C Michael McKinneymckinney

Building Spheres of Influence through Foreign Aid, Investment, and Disaster Response

Effective use of soft power used to be the exclusive domain of the United States, but increasingly countries like Russia, China, and India, for example, have come to more heavily rely on soft power as well.  Russia’s export of Russia Today and other state-sponsored media, Chinese investment in Africa, and the growing international appeal of Bollywood from India are a just a few examples of recent developments in soft power, and the motivations range from the benign to the subversive.  Also, the perfect storm of increasing populations and climate change will generally make natural disasters more frequent and more costly.  In responding to natural disasters, the United States also no longer has a monopoly.  Are these developments symptoms of general U.S. decline?  And is soft power a place for cooperation or competition between the great powers?

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The McDonald's Effect

Moderated by: 2/C Ben Barsambarsam

The Responsibilities, Governance, and Effects of Multinational Corporations

The McDonald’s Effect: The responsibilities, governance, and effects of multinational corporations is a roundtable that will examine the role of business in a new era of great power competition. Rather than focus on a specific region, or a specific aspect of governmental or military power, we will focus on the wild card of the global marketplace. In this way, roundtable 3 is unique in the conference. We will discuss what role MNCs should play in government relations, and what role governments can/should play in the operation of MNCs. With three midshipman delegates and two senior advisers—both with experience in international business—we look forward to getting the conversation going.

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The Panda or the Dragon

Moderated by: 3/C Luka Bakicbakic

The Chinese Dream and the Future of Chinese Power

The notion of China’s rise is often taken for granted without truly taking into consideration what it means. This is of particular concern given that historically the emergence of a great power in opposition to the status quo has led to conflict. When it comes to considering the future relations between the United States and China, academia is harshly divided along pessimistic versus optimistic lines. On one end, China’s unprecedented economic growth indicates that it is poised to emerge as a new global superpower that is capable of challenging the United States’ hegemony. On the other, China still lags far behind the United States in various capabilities and has yet to prove itself a reliable and stable power in the international community.

Who will the next century belong to? Will the United States be able maintain its hegemony or will China re-balance the global power structure?

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The Ring of Fire

Moderated by: 1/C Christian WhiteWhite

Political and Military Tension in East Asia

While the United States has reigned as the dominant world power since the Cold War, China has enjoyed an ascension to the world stage in the past decade. This relationship between the two countries follows a trend labeled as the “Thucydides Trap”, where a current power and rising power eventually eventually fall into conflict. While these two great powers collide, internal conflicts within the region, if handled poorly, have the potential to spark global conflict. The region known as the Ring of Fire is burning hotter than ever.

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The Rise of the Machines and Little Green Men

Moderated by: 3/C Kayla GansrowGansrow

From Science Fiction to Science Fact and the Future of All Levels of Warfare

Fight to win. This roundtable will seek to examine the role of hybrid warfare and advancements in military technology, such as artificial intelligence, in the future of all levels of warfare. The contemporary implementation of hybrid warfare will be examined through a discussion of its discharge by various world actors including Hezbollah, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China in recent conflicts. This discussion will be used as a springboard to address other important questions such as: What is the role of hybrid warfare and low intensity conflict in a multipolar world? How will artificial intelligence and drone technology change the strategy and tactics of war or how willing nations are to go to war? What are the ethical questions and responsibilities that arise from these advancements in military technology? How will cyberspace operations be used as an instrument of soft power? What actions should the United States and her allies take to be best prepared to face these future threats?

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Springtime for Putin

Moderated by: 2/C Cathryn DeLongdelong

The Reawakening of the Russian Bear

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has steadily been seeking to become the influential and feared power she once envisioned herself to be. Now the United States finds itself on opposite sides of many issues from Russia such as the occupation of Ukraine and the support of dictatorships in the Middle East. Russia has been expanding her military and reaching her tentacles of influence deeper into our country and countries around the world. What future do they envision and what is to be done about it?

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Too Close for Comfort

Moderated by: 3/C Noah EngelEngel

Controlling Maritime Chokepoints and Trade Routes

The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the technology we depend on all transit between various regional economies along traffic-laden trade-routes.  The most contested regions, that are most heavily trafficked, are referred to as chokepoints.  Globalism depends on the unimpeded flow of energy and commodities through a handful of geographic bottlenecks whose security is underwritten by an international infrastructure of military, political, and economic backing.  What are the second and third order effects of a loss of chokepoint integrity?  How can nations improve cooperative security in contested sea-lanes?  As the global economy continues to grow, what are viable measures to securely increase trade volume in already congested straits?

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hormuz_traffic       hormuz_iranian

straitofmalacca       malaccahotspots

Virtually, Anything Goes

Moderated by: 3/C Sydney FrankenbergFrankenberg

The Primacy of Cyberspace, Rules for Cyber Warfare, and the Internet of Things

There exists an inherent struggle in attempting to apply pre-digital age institutions of power, and their associated norms, to a problem of which the very idea did not exist 50 years ago. Issues of sovereignty over the Internet occur due to its initial design as a packet network system to both remain indiscriminate and indifferent to national boundaries and borders. Today in 2017, our hindsight is 20/20 in recognizing the many vulnerabilities that the innate insecurity of the web presents, but it remains difficult to add security to an item that was not initially designed to be secure. International conflict over the use of the Internet was inevitable; a time bomb built into its own creation. The present continues to host an unforeseeable future, where politicians in countries around the world see the Internet as a threat to their power and have voiced a desire for a new global entity to oversee international cyber interactions.

This table will focus on the questions of who should have the ability to govern Cyberspace and on how such an ability could be enforced. The nature of the conference’s theme will allow for the posing of questions regarding the developing nature of cyber warfare and strategy as well as that of cyber espionage, and even the vulnerability of technology’s physical infrastructure systems. It will invite debate on the benefits and security implications of the growing levels of interconnectedness among devices, also known as the IOT.

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Why Can't We Be Friends?

Moderated by: 1/C Alexis Opfermanopferman

Great Power Cooperation and the Role of International Organizations and Agreements

Great power cooperation has changed significantly since the end of the second World War, a time period marked by the creation of many transnational organizations, including the UN, NATO, and the IMF. International organizations and agreements have taken on increasing importance with the emergence of global issues, such as terrorism, migration, and natural disasters. These issues have called into question the role of great powers in international relations to respond to pressing security and humanitarian concerns from refugee crises to nuclear non-proliferation agreements. This roundtable will investigate these global issues in light of present and rising great powers.

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