Speakers

December 7, 2021

December 8, 2021

December 9, 2021

Editorial Speaker

Colin Kahl

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

Department of Defense

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Editorial Speaker

Colin Kahl

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

Department of Defense

Dr. Colin H. Kahl was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on April 28, 2021.  In this role, he is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for defense policy and leads the formulation and coordination of national security policy within the Department of Defense.  Dr. Kahl ensures the integration of defense policies and plans to achieve desired objectives.  He is responsible for efforts to build partnerships and defense cooperation with U.S. friends and allies. 

Dr. Kahl was most recently the co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the inaugural Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.

He served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President from October 2014 to January 2017 where he advised President Obama and Vice President Biden on all matters related to U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs, and represented the Office of the Vice President as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee.  Dr. Kahl has formerly served in the Department as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East. In this capacity, he was the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and six other countries in the Levant and Persian Gulf region. In June 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates. 

Dr. Kahl was previously an assistant and associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota.  He served as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on issues related to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and responses to failed states.

Dr. Kahl received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan (1993) and his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University (2000).

Editorial Speaker

Brig. Gen. John Olson

Mobilization Assistant to the Chief of Space Operations

United States Space Force

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Editorial Speaker

Brig. Gen. John Olson

Mobilization Assistant to the Chief of Space Operations

United States Space Force

Brig. Gen. John M. Olson is the Mobilization Assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, Headquarters United States Space Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. He assists and advises the Chief of Space Operations with responsibilities that include developing space forces, known as Guardians; acquiring military space systems; maturing space power doctrine; and organizing space forces to present to the joint Combatant Commands. General Olson is the Space Force lead for Joint All Domain Command and Control and the Advanced Battle Management System.  He also leads Space Force initiatives in technology, innovation, data, infrastructure, mobility, logistics, and energy to advance, support, protect, and defend U.S. and allied interests in space. He develops strategy, plans, policy, and priorities for architectures, research, development, testing, force design, operations, and sustainment of technologies, capabilities, and systems with partners and allies for leadership in space. Brig. Gen. Olson also flies as an Airborne Emergency Action Officer leading strategic deterrence and operations missions aboard the Looking Glass Airborne Nuclear Command Post.

General Olson graduated with military distinction from the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Illinois and the University of Tennessee, and a Doctorate in Systems Engineering from Auburn University. General Olson has held numerous air, space, acquisition, test, weapons, political-military, intelligence, and technology command, staff, and leadership roles. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and a former European and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer. Gen. Olson deployed to Southwest Asia, supporting air and space operations for operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and New Dawn in Iraq, Odyssey Dawn in Libya, and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.The general transitioned to the Air Force Reserve in 2004 after joining NASA, where he served as a Senior Executive Service civilian leader in several roles for almost a decade.  In his civilian capacity, he served as a CEO, President, Vice President, and General Manager in both public and private corporations for 9 years, following 25 years of federal service culminating as the Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Prior to his current assignment, General Olson served as the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, 16th Air Force, Air Forces Cyber, and Joint Forces Headquarters-Cyber at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland where he help lead 49,100 Airmen responsible for Information Warfare.    

Editorial Speaker

Jake Sullivan

Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor)

The White House

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Editorial Speaker

Jake Sullivan

Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor)

The White House

Jake Sullivan is the 28th Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor). In the Obama-Biden Administration, he served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Biden, Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During his time in government, Sullivan was a lead negotiator in the initial talks that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal and played a key role in the U.S.-brokered negotiations that led to a ceasefire in Gaza in 2012. He also helped shape the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy at both the State Department and the White House. 

In the years following his service in the Obama-Biden administration, Sullivan was a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he helped conceive and design a bipartisan task force project on a foreign policy for the middle class. He also held teaching posts at Yale Law School, Dartmouth College, and the University of New Hampshire. He co-founded and co-chaired the advisory board for National Security Action, a nonprofit national security advocacy organization, and served on the advisory boards of a number of organizations involved in foreign policy and national security. Sullivan was a senior policy advisor on Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. 

He holds a B.A. in political science and international studies from Yale College; a M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He clerked for Judge Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He grew up as the second of five children in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a proud product of the Minneapolis public schools. He and his wife Maggie Goodlander have a permanent home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Editorial Speaker

Rep. Jim Langevin

D-RI, Member

House Armed Services Committee

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Editorial Speaker

Rep. Jim Langevin

D-RI, Member

House Armed Services Committee

Congressman Jim Langevin (LAN'-jih-vin) is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Subcommittee and also serves on the Subcommittees on Seapower and Projection Forces and Strategic Forces. He is also a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Intelligence & Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation. A national leader on securing our nation’s technology infrastructure against cyber threats, Langevin co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus to increase awareness around the issue and serves as a member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.  He has authored or co-authored dozens of pieces of cybersecurity legislation, including most recently the National Cyber Director Act.

As co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, Langevin advocates to improve and increase access to training that gives students and workers the skills that best fit the needs of expanding industries. He has successfully fought for strong CTE funding under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act and, in Rhode Island, has worked to foster employer-educator partnerships and career training programs across a variety of career fields.

A voice for those facing serious challenges, Langevin championed passage of a bipartisan bill to expand services for families caring for their elderly and disabled loved ones. He is a strong advocate for inclusion and independence for people with disabilities and helped pass the ADA Amendments Act that strengthened the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Langevin was inspired to enter public service by the tremendous outpouring of support he received during the most challenging time of his life, after a gun accident paralyzed him at age 16 and left him a quadriplegic. He is driven by a belief that everyone deserves a fair opportunity to make the most of their talents.

After serving as secretary for the state’s Constitutional Convention in 1986, Langevin won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, and in 1994, became the nation’s youngest Secretary of State. His leadership resulted in reforms to Rhode Island’s outdated election system and a landmark report documenting widespread violations of the state’s Open Meetings Law. He served in that role until winning election to Congress in 2000.

Editorial Speaker

Bryan Clark

Senior Fellow

Hudson Institute

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Editorial Speaker

Bryan Clark

Senior Fellow

Hudson Institute

Bryan Clark is a senior fellow and Director of the Center for Defense Concepts and Technology at Hudson Institute. He leads studies there in naval operations and fleet architecture, electronic warfare, autonomous systems, military competitions, 5G telecommunications, microelectronics, and command and control.

Before joining Hudson Institute, Bryan was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), where he led studies for the DoD Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on new technologies and the future of warfare. During his 25-year Navy career, Bryan was an enlisted and officer submariner, serving in afloat and ashore submarine operational and training assignments including tours as chief engineer of two nuclear submarines and special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations and director of his Commander’s Action Group.

Editorial Speaker

Ron Epstein

Senior Equity Analyst

Bank of America

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Editorial Speaker

Ron Epstein

Senior Equity Analyst

Bank of America

Ronald J. Epstein is a managing director in Equity Research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch covering Aerospace/Defense and Multi-Industrials with large aerospace components. He actively covers companies listed in the United States, Canada and Brazil.  He joined Merrill Lynch in 2001.

In the Institutional Investor All-America Research poll, he has ranked as a top three analyst in Aerospace & Defense Electronics for the last nine years and number one for the last three years. Previously, he worked as a research scientist in applied aerodynamics technology at Boeing Phantom Works. He was also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, teaching fluid dynamics and control systems.

Epstein has a BA with highest honors from Skidmore College, an MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University.

Ron, his wife Catherine and their three children, Henry, Catherine and Oliver, reside in Chatham, NJ.

Editorial Speaker

Kristine Liwag

Executive Director

Morgan Stanley

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Editorial Speaker

Kristine Liwag

Executive Director

Morgan Stanley

Kristine Liwag is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. She is the Senior Aerospace & Defense equity analyst. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2020, Liwag was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 12 years in the Aerospace & Defense Team and covered Smid-Cap Aerospace & Defense companies and Aircraft Lessors. Liwag holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Editorial Moderator

Kevin Baron

Executive Editor

Defense One

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Editorial Moderator

Kevin Baron

Executive Editor

Defense One

Kevin Baron is the founding executive editor of Defense One. Baron has lived in Washington for more than 20 years, covering international affairs, the military, the Pentagon, Congress, and politics for Foreign PolicyNational JournalStars and Stripes, and the Boston Globe, where he ran investigative projects for five years at the Washington bureau. He is a frequent on-air contributor and previously was national security/military analyst at NBC News & MSNBC. Baron cut his muckraking teeth at the Center for Public Integrity and he is twice a Polk Award winner and a former vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Baron earned his M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University, B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond, and studied in Paris. Raised in Florida, Baron now lives in Northern Virginia.

Editorial Moderator

Tara Copp

Senior Pentagon Correspondent

Defense One

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Editorial Moderator

Tara Copp

Senior Pentagon Correspondent

Defense One

Tara Copp is senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense One. Copp has reported through the Middle East, Asia and Europe to cover defense policy and its impact on the lives of service members. Her investigative reporting on military aviation accidents and on skyrocketing veteran cancer rates drove Congressional hearings and legislation. Before returning to journalism, she worked as a senior defense analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, focused on readiness and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a Plan II graduate of the University of Texas and earned her masters in Security Studies at Georgetown University.

Editorial Moderator

Jacqueline Feldscher

Senior National Security Correspondent

Defense One

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Editorial Moderator

Jacqueline Feldscher

Senior National Security Correspondent

Defense One

Jacqueline Feldscher is senior national security correspondent at Defense One. Previously, she was national security and space reporter at Politico. Before that, Feldscher covered defense issues in Congress and at the Pentagon for the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, and Navy Times, covering the Navy and Coast Guard. She’s a graduate of Boston University, and holds a master’s in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Editorial Moderator

Patrick Tucker

Technology Editor

Defense One

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Editorial Moderator

Patrick Tucker

Technology Editor

Defense One

Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of THE NAKED FUTURE: WHAT HAPPENS IN A WORLD THAT ANTICIPATES YOUR EVERY MOVE? (CURRENT, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist for nine years. Tucker has written about emerging technology in Slate, The Sun, MIT Technology Review, Wilson Quarterly, The American Legion Magazine, BBC News Magazine, Utne Reader, and elsewhere.

Editorial Moderator

Marcus Weisgerber

Global Business Editor

Defense One

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Editorial Moderator

Marcus Weisgerber

Global Business Editor

Defense One

Marcus Weisgerber is the global business editor for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of Inside the Air Force. He has reported from Afghanistan, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, and often travels with the defense secretary and other senior military officials.