The Scowcroft Institute Hosts Two Speakers for the National Security Leadership Program

July 18, 2010

In June 2010, the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs welcomed two speakers to campus as part of the National Security Leadership Program (NSLP).  The NSLP, sponsored by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Bush School, and the Dwight Look College of Engineering, was created to provide key Livermore personnel with advanced education in national security issues.  It is a year-long, 12-credit-hour program that includes courses, seminars, and other activities leading to a graduate certificate from Texas A&M University.  Throughout their year in the program, the participants are designated as Fellows of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs.

On June 8, David Mosher spoke to the NSLP students and other guests regarding the challenges of bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements for weapons reductions.  Mr. Mosher walked the audience through what varying numbers of nuclear weapons could do to both U.S. and Russia populations and infrastructure.  He then predicted that the bi-lateral reduction agreements between the two countries would most likely stop at each having 1,000 nuclear weapons because further reductions would mean delving into missile defense systems, which would introduce major new complications in the negotiations.  Mr. Mosher then introduced the challenges of multi-lateral agreements, with China being the third country to consider weapons reductions.  He explained that multi-lateral agreements would be difficult to achieve because China does not have the same level or quality of weapons currently held by the U.S. and Russia.  China may want to have an equal number of nuclear weapons but the U.S. and Russia are unlikely to agree that an increase in Chinese nuclear weapons is a good strategy for their own defense.

David Mosher is a Senior Policy Analyst for the RAND Corporation and specializes in national security, terrorism, and homeland security issues.  His research focus includes ballistic missile defense, nuclear proliferation, and the terrorist acquisition and use of nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons.

On June 22, Peter S. Usowski addressed the NSLP students and other guests on the topic of today’s Intelligence Community and the challenges it must address.  According to Dr. Usowski, one major challenge is information creation in the technological age.  While technological advances such as cell phones and the internet can generate an abundance of information for intelligence work, the sheer volume of that information has made data collection complicated.  Dr. Usowski outlined the need for better information filters and more people who can sift through the information.  Another challenge identified by Dr. Usowski was maintaining a balance between the war fighters and the national policy makers.  Real-time intelligence can make a significant difference on the ground but there must also be a discussion of long-term implications of the information being provided and potential consequences. 

Peter S. Usowski is the Director of the Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Dr. Usowski studies the CIA experience and makes that information available to intelligence officers.  He previously served as CIA’s Assistant Inspector General for Investigations as well as in various analyst and leadership positions in the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).

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