Speakers and members of ALWAC

Notes of guest speaker events at ALWAC

by Jeremy Lewis, PhD

Speeches, 2018-19

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Images from 2018-19 events are found here in high resolution; and on AWAC's Facebook page.

See Alabama World Affairs Council at Alwac.org


Tuesday, 11 September 2018. Dr. Pano Yannakogeorgos, “A World at War With Itself: The Cyber Threat and Globalization” 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018. Dr. Grant Hammond, “The Revolution in Security Affairs” [Brought forward to here]

Thursday 18 October 2018. Stefan Schluter, "Anti-Semitism and Populism in Europe." Special luncheon event, sponsored by the American Council on Germany.

Thursday 15 November 2018, change of speaker and date: Dr. Joshua Busby, "Climate Change and National Security: What Do We Know?"

Tuesday, 12 February 2019. Dr. William “Drew” Wagstaff, “China Ascendant”

Tuesday 12 March 2019: Adam Segal, "China"

Tuesday, 9 April 2019. Sarah Chayes, "Corruption"

Tuesday, 7 May 2019. Air War College Professors, Regional Reports

Special Programs


All programs are from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, Gold Room, 2nd Floor, Whitley Hall, Troy University Montgomery, 231 Montgomery St. Montgomery, AL

Tuesday 11 September 2018: Dr. Pano Yannakogeorgos, “A World at War With Itself: The Cyber Threat and Globalization” 
Technological advancement has resulted in a compression of time and space. The consequence has meant an unprecedented global interconnectedness and interdependence never before known among peoples and locales. A vulnerable and unstable cyberspace infrastructure is the critical underpinning of this hyper-interconnection. The integrity of this domain is essential to national security, public safety, and modern civic intercourse worldwide. The aim of this talk is to familiarize the audience with conflict that takes form in cyberspace. It is always evolving, the terrain is blurred between public and private entities, the weaponry is in a constant state of upgrade, and adversaries are indistinct and ubiquitous.  

Dr. Pano Yannakogeorgos (Ph. D. Rutgers University) is the founding Dean of the Air Force Cyber College at Air University. His expertise includes the intersection of cyber power, national security, and military operations; international cyber policy; and Eastern Mediterranean security. His most recent publication is The Cyber Threat and Globalization: The Impact to National and International Security (Rowman Littlefield, 2018).

Prepared remarks
Cyberspace, Globalization and Prosperity
Physical barriers no longer limit connected activity, unlike in Alexander the Great’s empire [map].
Character of cyberspace:
Connectivity required
Does have national borders like any other domain
Not likely to have military control of the whole battlefield.
Internet penetration trends increasing between 2010 and 2016 [on side by side charts].
Mobile broadband has become more affordable of fixed broadband in countries below top level of income.
15-24 age cohort coming into internet, and most involved age in cyberattacks.
Same age that military, corporate and criminal organizations seek to recruit.
Operational tech increasingly connected e.g. for power grids, reduces costs.
But remote control increases vulnerability.
Internet of Things (IOT) to alleviate hunger, increase health care [image of solar powered wifi enabled soil moisture sensor to farmers; improves human condition in poorer world but vulnerable].
Transport vehicles of all kinds now mean millions of lines of code.

Cyber vulnerabilities and Threat proliferation 
Microprocessor; software rushed out before tested for vulnerability.
Exploits known and unknown.
Zero-day exploit; exploit kit; markets for selling exploits; tools for finding vulnerable systems.
Shodan: a search engine for vulnerable things.
Searches lead to Advisory notices being circulated as warning.
Heartbleed exploit of SSL layer; as of today thousands of devices vulnerable in US alone.
Access vector is people: spearphishing.
Modern botnets from networks of compromised machines.
Used for spam, DDoS, stealing data, fraud – but taken down via their Command and Control (C & C).
US has robust criminal law enforcement to disrupt criminal threats.
Spies are now joined by groups trying to disrupt political activity.
Full spectrum attacks are only feasible by nation state actors.

Solution is for IT sector to build more robust defenses.
Anonymous not a network but a loose set of tribes around the world, hacktivists trying to change political practices.
AP 2013 falsely tweeted explosion at WH, stock market affected – Syrian E-army used phishing attack.
Surface web is small compared to dark web hacker networks.
TOR can create alternative domain name in onion network.
Criminal activity using bitcoin and blockchain to avoid law enforcement.
International response to investigation.
Investigation finds Belarus a black hole, Aussie cooperative and EU protective of privacy rights.
Spies stealing corporate secrets for profit. Hacking into banks.
Terrorist misuse of web. US using law enforcement tools to pressure foreign state hackers.
Russians 2007 attacked Estonia that uses online ID card, crippling country for a time. NATO however responded by setting up a cyber center in Estonia.
Perceptions issue. Who downed the MH17 Malaysian Boeing? Estonians answered according to whether watching Russian TV and most said USA responsible.
Maersk shipping line, Ukrainian power system.
Spanish C-130 lost when essential files were accidentally wiped.
2014 Iranians indicted for DDoS attacks on hydro-electric systems.
IT industry now developing more secure products.

Question Time
Strategies all defensive – what about US hostile approach? Best is still defensive, reducing vulnerabilities, keep military trained for going back to basics using paper if system disrupted.

EU Data Protection Regulations? A cultural angle. OPM was breached but response was that breach did not result in losses. Same with Experian. Europe different because of sensitivity to 1930s when governments caused harm to citizens. Cookie notices are result of GDPR.

What is cyber equivalent of nuclear deterrent? Defense science board report 2013: deterrence by punishment, denial and resilience. Attributing actions to individuals is difficult but used as a deterrent. PETYA went worldwide but not controlled. Nation states use proxies to hide their tracks, so hard to counter attack them with force. Should not take aggressive action because US is vulnerable.

What is the impact of different media outlets on end of net neutrality on underlying infrastructure.

What is happening in Montgomery? Gunther annex is base of defense info systems, a key hub for internet activity. Corporate internet exchange locally to speed business connections.

Next generation internet (5G) is more than previous increases in speed, is revolutionary change in tech – and for first time, China leading this stage – previously US and Europe vying for tech generations.

Lawyers will be able to protect consumers from insecure products and companies that suffer breaches.

Tuesday 16 October 2018: Dr. Grant Hammond, “The Revolution in Security Affairs” [Brought forward to here]
Prepared remarks Question Time

Stefan Schlüter, “Rising Anti-Semitism and Populism in Europe,” Luncheon speaker (special event), Thursday, 10/18/18 Prepared remarks Question Time

Thursday 15 November 2018, change of speaker and date: Dr. Joshua Busby, "Climate Change and National Security: What Do We Know?"
Prepared remarks
Busby, who emphasizes he is a political scientist, not a natural scientist, has been a reviewer on the NSC assessment of climate change.
Recently his article on which these remarks are based, has been published in Foreign Affairs.

Temperature anomalies since 1980 have been increasingly common, on track for average to be 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the century's average.
Emissions have been dramatically increasing [the "hockey stick" effect graph]
GlobalChange.gov graph of increasing average global surface temperature on land and sea.
National security threats traditionally come from one state to another -- but a better definition is a problem so severe as to be existential.
Climate change poses both direct and indirect threats.
Direct threats:
Low-lying islands are facing a sea level rise as early as 2040.
Some seats of government are vulnerable to severe coastal weather.
Arctic resources are already subject to disputes over flag-planting, sea lane control and hydrocarbon resources.
Half of US bases will have to be adapted to climate change, including Norfolk, VA.
Military resources are being diverted to internal threats of hurricanes and fires. Storm Harvey in Texas took 700 vehicles, many helicopters and thousands of personnel.
Puerto Rico was left without power for months after hurricane Maria. 20,000 soldiers served in logistics, water supply, ports and airports, but still about 3,000 civilians died. Delivered 1.4 million meals [slide].
Pakistani floods killed 2,000, where US sent $390 Million in relief.
Typhoon Haiyan brought a US response of 2400 tons of relief supplies.
Climate change is a threat multiplier, as in NSC's 2008 exercise, NIA.
Navy climate change roadmap, 2009
ODNI water security report, 2012
All of these report there will be problems and stresses over the next couple of decades, but not extremely risky till 2030 or 2040.
Arctic strategy, 2013
QDR 2014
DOD Adaptation Roadmap 2014 -- expects further need for relief missions
Presidential Memo Sep. 2016, Climate Change and National Security
2017 Gen. Mattis testimony
2018 NDAA "Climate Change is a direct threat to the national security of the US."
DNI Coates: long-term trends ... likely to fuel economic and social discontent, and possibly upheaval, through 2018.
What do we know? Academic works
IPCC Fifth Assessment: "Evidence on effects ... is contested." There is little academic agreement about the direct effects.
[Beyond this point, our file of copious notes was damaged and unreadable. Apologies to our readers.]

Question time

Tuesday 12 February 2019: Dr. William "Drew" Wagstaff, "China Ascendant"

Tuesday 12 March 2018: Dr. Adam Segal,  “Technology and Innovation”

Tuesday 9 April 2018: Ms. Sarah Chayes, "Corruption and its impact"

Tuesday 7 May Air War College Professors, Regional Reports

Special Programs and other Activities

Spring term, offered late January - mid March, the FPA's Great Decisions Program
Register at ALWAC.org for this seminar series, featuring excellent readings and lively, local speakers. Topics and study booklets (with expert articles, maps and photos) are produced by the Foreign Policy Association and published the first week in January. The program begins in 23 January and runs for 8 consecutive weeks, on Wednesdays, 2-3:30 pm, with approximately 20 enthusiastic people  participating. Location is 106 Bartlett Hall, behind our usual Whitley building at 231 Montgomery St. Discussion leaders come from the faculty of Air University and other local colleges.

Collaboration with Global Ties Alabama
an educational, charitable institution based in Huntsville which assists the U. S. Department of State in arranging and hosting participants in the Fulbright Scholars exchange and visitors program and placing visiting groups of scholars and students with those in the local area for dinners or brief home stays as they visit the Capitol, historic sites in the Montgomery area, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and local universities.

Interaction with some of the International Officers stationed at Maxwell AFB for a year and their families

Revised 12/30/18 by Jeremy Lewis