Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
MPA

The U.S. Military in a Dangerous World: How Much is Enough?

The U.S. Military in a Dangerous World

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5:30 p.m.

Friedman Auditorium, Metcalf Research Building, 190 Thayer Street

A Taubman Center Public Policy Forum – free and open to the public. Registration required: please register here.

The U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven nations combined. Yet military spending, as a percentage of GDP, is the lowest it has been in fifty years; and is only one-fifth what we spend on entitlements and debt service. Many policymakers worry that we don’t have the armed forces — people or technology — that we need to achieve our international and security objectives. So perhaps the right question is: what role should America play in a dangerous world? And what resources does that demand? What is necessary to defeat ISIS? Keep the sea lanes open? Prevent genocide in Africa? Three of America’s smartest, most experienced “players” will address these questions and more.

Panelists

R. Nicholas Burns is the Goodman Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is Faculty Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and chairs the programs on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and a Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group. Before retiring from his twenty seven year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Burns served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2005–2008), Ambassador to NATO (2001–2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001), and State Department Spokesman (1995–1997).

Carl M. Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator, retired from the Senate in December 2014. In his 36-year Senate career, Senator Levin was greatly esteemed on both sides of the political aisle for his integrity, resourcefulness and diligence. In 2016, Time magazine named him one of the 10 best senators. In the Senate, Levin served as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, becoming a leading voice on military and foreign affairs; as chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on investigations, which involved the analysis of complex financial and tax matters. Prior to his Senate service, Levin was President of the Detroit City Council. He recently joined Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn in Detroit as senior counsel. In addition, Wayne State University Law School has established the Levin Center. The Center will focus on the understanding of how in-depth bipartisan legislative oversight can lead to significant and meaningful changes in public policy and institutional behavior. Senator Levin received a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Swarthmore College.

Dr. Paula Thornhill directs RAND Corporation’s Project AIR FORCE Strategy and Doctrine Program. She retired from the U.S. Air Force as a brigadier general in 2009. During her career, she served as the Air Force Institute of Technology Commandant, Dayton, Ohio; 50th Support Group Commander, Schriever AFB, Colorado; and special assistant to the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dr. Thornhill has a DPhil in history from Oxford University. She is a member of the USAF Academy Board of Visitors and an adjunct professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Moderator

Jeff Robbins, a Brown alumnus, served as chief counsel to the minority of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and as deputy chief counsel to the minority of the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. He was appointed by President Clinton as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission for two years and also served as president of the World Affairs Council of Boston for three years. Robbins is an attorney with Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo. He has written opinion articles on American foreign policy for the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and the Times of Israel.

Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy