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The National Defense University Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) invites you to join us on 17-18 June
for online Annual Symposium panels exploring how the convergence of geopolitics and emerging technology will shape today’s WMD issues.

While COVID-19 transmission mitigation measures will preclude execution of this year’s event on the National Defense University campus, portions of the planned 2020 symposium agenda will be adapted to a webinar format accessible online to the government and non-government counter WMD community. (Message from the Center Director)

The symposium, “WMD 2020: Great Power Competition and Technology Challenges,” takes stock of the new imperatives driving defense planning. The emergence of great power competition comes at a time of rapid and globally-distributed technological innovation that increasingly shapes the strategic and operational threat environment. For those in the security community focused on WMD threats, the nexus of great power competition and dynamic new technologies is generating a shifting landscape of risk. The symposium seeks to promote a better understanding of this landscape by bringing together the perspectives of policy, operational, and technology experts, as well as senior leaders from the United States and its allies and partners.

As we kick-off our series of virtual 2020 symposium events on 17-18 June, please join us in exploring how the convergence of geopolitics and emerging technology will shape WMD issues such as: Great Power Nuclear Competition, Chemical Warfare Threats in Great Power Competition, Biotechnology and Defense Innovation, and Disinformation and WMD.

All online symposium content will be UNCLASSIFIED.

Symposium Details

Login Guidance
Everyone who has registered for access to a virtual symposium event (or events) will receive a message containing a hyperlink to a Blackboard Collaborate virtual meeting room. Note that if you have signed up for multiple events, you will receive a separate hyperlink for each. You do not need to have a Blackboard Collaborate account or have the software installed on your computer to access the event via the provided link.

Users can access Blackboard Collaborate through a web browser. However, do not access Blackboard Collaborate using Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge as we have observed significant connection issues with users attempting access using these web browsers. If available, we recommend using Chrome or FireFox when joining Blackboard Collaborate events.

Link to Blackboard Collaborate Instructions

If you will be joining the event through a government computer, we recommend avoiding the use of your VPN service. While it is possible to connect, we have observed that VPN users often lose connectivity and experience poor video and audio quality.

After Registration for Virtual Panel(s):

  • Participants will receive a confirmation email from EventBrite.

  • On 15 June 2020, participants will receive separate emails for each registered panel containing the unique hyperlink required for access. (If registered for multiple panels, participants will receive multiple emails). A reminder email will be sent the morning of the panel in question.

  • Registrants do not need to download Blackboard Collaborate software to gain access to and participate in the virtual event.

Please do not forward hyperlinks for accessing Symposium events to those who have not registered via our website.

Discussion Policy

All online symposium content will be UNCLASSIFIED.

The National Defense University maintains a strict policy of non-attribution. Participation will strictly follow Chatham House Rule, which is "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed." (Full Chatham House Rule). For the full NDU non-attribution policy, click here. We understand that registrants will access the event from distributed locations and we ask all participants to exercise best judgement in helping to maintain National Defense University’s non-attribution policy.

Virtual Event Participant Protocols
As with our on-campus events, we encourage audience engagement with our panelists and speakers through moderated questions and answers following formal remarks. Blackboard Collaborate offers two tools for asking questions.

  • First, using the hand-raise feature, participants may wait to be called upon by a facilitator or moderator. Once called upon, the participant will unmute their speaker and ask their question.

  • Second, participants may type their question using Blackboard Collaborate’s chat feature. A moderator will collate questions provided in chat and read them aloud to the group for panelist responses.

Do not use the chat feature as a conversation tool with other participants or with the moderators. The chat feature may be used to ask technical support questions during the event or to ask substantive questions of panelists following the conclusion of formal remarks.

Note that moderators will have the ability to enable and disable certain user tools (e.g., video conferencing, mute functions) inside Blackboard Collaborate, which they may do to improve the overall user experience for the group.

Symposium Agenda   print friendly

DAY ONE – Wednesday, 17 June
1030–1200 (EDT)   Great Power Nuclear Competition

  • Ms. Elaine Bunn, Expert Consultant, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University (Chair)

    Mr. Paul Bernstein, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University, “Prospects for U.S.-Russia nuclear competition” (Confirmed)

    Dr. M. Taylor Fravel, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Prospects for U.S.-China nuclear competition” (Confirmed)

    Mr. Bruce Sugden, Research Analyst, Institute for Defense Analyses, “Great power nuclear competition: a framework for analysis” (Confirmed)

    Dr. Scott Sagan, Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University (Discussant) (Confirmed)

1300–1430 (EDT)   Chemical Warfare Threats in Great Power Competition

  • AMB. Robert Mikulak, Expert Consultant, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University (Chair)

    Ms. Amanda Moodie, Policy Fellow, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University, “The role of regulatory regimes in maintaining norms of non-use” (Confirmed)

    Dr. Jonathan E. Forman, Science and Technology Advisor, Global Security Technology and Policy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, “New and novel chemical warfare-related technologies and the challenges they pose” (Confirmed)

    Mr. Richard J. Beedham, FRSB, Visiting Fellow, Cranfield University, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom “Non-traditional use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes” (Confirmed)

DAY TWO – Thursday, 18 June
1030–1200 (EDT)   Biotechnology and Defense Innovation

  • Dr. Diane DiEuliis, Senior Policy Fellow, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University (Chair)

    Dr. Michelle Rozo, Assistant Director for Biotechnology, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, “Defense Department research, development, and prototyping of biotechnology” (Confirmed)

    Dr. Kavita Berger, Principal Scientist, Gryphon Scientific, “Great Power Competition in biotechnology – focus on China” (Confirmed)

    Dr. Thomas M. Connelly, Jr., Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, American Chemical Society, “Safeguarding the bioeconomy” (Confirmed)

1300–1430 (EDT)   Disinformation and WMD

  • Ms. Sarah Jacobs Gamberini, Policy Fellow, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University (Chair)

    Ms. Laura Rosenberger, Senior Fellow and Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, “Disinformation and influence operations” (Confirmed)

    Mr. Joby Warrick, National Security Reporter, The Washington Post, “Disinformation and Novichok use in the United Kingdom” (Confirmed)

    Ms. Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Disinformation and Syrian chemical weapons use” (Confirmed)