The Week at CSIS: The Speeches, Discussions, and Events from June 19 – June 23

CSIS hosts over 2,000 events a year, from major public speeches to small briefings. Join us here for an inside look at the events of the week.

6.19: U.S.-India Defense and Security Cooperation: Promise and Momentum

CSIS hosted “U.S.-India Defense and Security Cooperation: Promise and Momentum,” a panel discussion with a senior delegation from the Delhi Policy Group.

In recent years, the U.S.-India defense partnership has undergone a positive transformation. New agreements have been forced like the “Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). New cooperative programs have been created like the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative. And our exercises have become more complex, and mission-oriented. But practical cooperation remains nascent, and progress requires strong commitments of time and resources from the leaders of both nations. Ahead of the first Modi-Trump summit later in June, this panel explored the reasons underpinning the relationship, and steps both sides can take to continue recent progress.

From left to right: Brig. Arun Sahgal (Retd.), Delhi Policy Group; Lt. Gen. Anil Ahuja (Retd.), Integrated Defence Staff

6.20: The Russian Military-Industrial Complex

This discussion with Mathieu Boulegue, a partner at the risk management and strategic research consulting firm AESMA, covered the current state and future evolution of the Russian military-industrial complex. Matthew addressed a variety of key issues in the Russian defense industry, including the growing “civilianization” of the defense industry, the role of the Military-Industrial Commission in the decision-making process for the industry, and the recent evolution of industrial strategies in the defense sector.

From left to right: Olga Oliker, CSIS; Mathieu Boulegue, AESMA

6.20: The USIA Experience: Lessons for the Proposed USAID/State Department Merger

This expert panel discussion examined the proposed major organizational restructuring of the State Department and USAID through the lens of the previous merger of the State Department and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA).

In response to President Trump’s request for reorganization proposals, the Department of State’s leadership is quietly reviewing various options to streamline the United States’ diplomatic and development operations. One of the proposals under consideration is a merger of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Kenton Keith, Former Director of the USIA’s Office of North African, Near Eastern, and South Asian Affairs

While there are certainly changes that can be made at both organizations, a State Department/USAID merger — where personnel, procurement, programmatic, and budgeting functions are combined — would be a huge mistake. To understand the risks and downsides of such a move, the panel looked to the experience of the merger of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) into the State Department in 1999.

6.20: Book Launch: The Retreat of Western Liberalism

In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times Washington columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of American economic and geopolitical decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.

In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism — of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance toward society’s economic losers, and complacency about our system’s durability — attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed.

From left to right: John Hamre, CSIS; Ed Luce, Financial Times

At the event, combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the literature and economic analysis, Luce offered a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.

6.21: Africa’s Regional Economic Outlook: Restarting the Growth Engine

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa slowed significantly in 2016 — with average growth rates the lowest in two decades — in large part due to low commodity prices, a sluggish global economy, climate shocks, and insecurity. The IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa examines the prospects for an economic rebound in 2017 with a particular focus on fiscal policy adjustments, debt management, and investments in human capital development and diversification. The report also takes an in-depth look at informal economies in Africa and policy priorities in managing both challenges and opportunities. Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the IMF’s African Department, led a discussion on how best to support and harness Sub-Saharan Africa’s tremendous potential for economic growth.

From left to right: Abebe Aemro Selassie, IMF; Jennifer Cooke, CSIS

6.21: Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook 2017

The CSIS Energy and National Security Program was pleased to host the launch of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) New Energy Outlook 2017. The report is BNEF’s annual economic forecast for the world’s power mix to 2040. Built over nine months, it is the result of a major collaboration of more than 65 market and technical experts from BNEF’s 11 offices around the world.

Seb Henbest (NEO Lead Author and Head of Europe, Middle East, & Africa; BNEF) and Elena Giannakopoulou (Lead Energy Economist; BNEF) presented on the NEO 2017 findings, followed by Q&A and discussion.

This year, NEO 2017 highlights the long-term ramifications of competitive offshore wind and what cheaper batteries mean for the uptake of electric vehicles, consumer photovoltaic systems, and managing peak demand, among other stories.

Click here to read last year’s edition, NEO 2016.

From left to right: Sarah Ladislaw, CSIS; Seb Henbest, Bloomberg New Energy Finance; Elena Giannakopolou, Bloomberg Energy Finance

6.21: Small Satellites, Big Missions

CSIS hosted a two-session event to highlight and amplify awareness of the implications of emerging space technologies, particularly those provided by smaller space systems. These discussions examined implications from the perspective of both changes in the way space missions are executed and in the way that transportation to space is provided.

The first panel focused on implications of small satellites for key missions, including dual-use military and commercial missions, providing advantages in resiliency, agility, deterrence, and coverage. Following a brief coffee break, the second panel focused on implications of the growing small satellite market for the space launch industry.

From left to right: Todd Harrison, CSIS; William Jeffrey, SRI International; Col. Steve Butow, DIUx; Bhavya Lal, Science and Technology Institute; Aaron Rogers, Disruptive Space Missions
From left to right: Col. Steve Butow, DIUx; Bhavya Lal, Science and Technology Institute; Andrew Hunter, CSIS; Marco Caceres, Teal Group Corp.; Steve Nixon, Stratolaunch; Richard Dalbello, Virgin Galactic

6.21: Book Launch: I Was Told to Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet

The CSIS Transnational Threats Project hosted the book launch for Souad Mekhennet’s “I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journal Behind the Lines of Jihad.”

The daughter of Muslim immigrants to Germany, Souad Mekhennet is a renowned reporter who has traveled around the world to investigate extremism and salafi-jihadists first-hand. As both a westerner and a Muslim, Souad Mekhennet “has sought to provide a mediating voice between these cultures, which too often misunderstand each other.” From the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 hijackers were radicalized to Iraqi cities plagued by sectarian discord, Mekhennet brings the reader through her first-hand experiences behind the lines of jihad. This book gives groundbreaking insight into the motivations, lifestyles, and stories of current day Salafi-jihadists with whom Mekhennet has come into direct contact.

Souad Mekhennet

At the event, Mekhennet discussed the implications for policymakers, analysts, and the wider international community battling extremism today.

6.22: EU Efforts and Transatlantic Cooperation in Combating Antimicrobial Resistance

This conversation with H.E. Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety was about transatlantic Antimicrobial Resistance cooperation. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics. The EU and the United States recognize AMR as a serious threat to public health worldwide and have created the Transatlantic Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) to coordinate efforts in the fight against AMR. In this discussion, participants reflected on the achievements of TATFAR and the way ahead for EU-U.S. cooperation in this vital endeavor.

From left to rIght: H.E. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Union Health and Food Safety Commission; Jean Patel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

6.22: Statoil Energy Perspectives 2017

The CSIS Energy and National Security Program hosted Eirik Wærness, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2017.

The Energy Perspectives report summarizes different narratives about global energy demand and energy mix for the future decades, scenarios, based on different assumptions about regional and global economic growth, conflict levels and implications, technological development and energy and climate policies. In the 2017 version, models have been adjusted with last year’s developments in the energy and climate policy area, technology costs and maturity, more thorough assessments of GDP forecasts, as well as included adjustments made to historic global CO2 emissions. The modelling runs to 2050 with 2014 as baseline year, and provides a forecast for global energy demand and energy mix, economic growth, CO2 emissions, and more.

From left to right: Adam Sieminski, CSIS; Eirik Wærness, Statoil

Mr. Wærness spoke about the report and presented ideas about the future of global energy.

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