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CNA Talks

Our podcast, CNA Talks, covers the topics of today from foreign policy and defense to policing, education and more. Each episode features a discussion on current affairs led by our in-house experts. CNA is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance.

The views expressed here are those of the commentators and do not necessarily reflect the views of CNA or any of its sponsors.

Episode 11

for Episode 11 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

Despite experiencing setbacks over the last 16 years, Al Qaeda has proven to be a learning organization that has evolved and expanded. On this episode of CNA Talks, experts Jonathan Schroden, Julia McQuaid, Pamela Faber and Zack Gold discuss the findings released in CNA's independent assessment of U.S. government efforts against Al Qaeda.

Biographies

Dr. Jonathan Schroden is director of CNA's Center for Stability and Development and CNA's Special Operations Program. He is an expert in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, stability operations, operations assessment, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Julia McQuaid is director of CNA’s Program on Transnational Challenges. She is an expert on international security issues, including terrorism and counterterrorism, armed groups, transnational threats, maritime security, partner capacity building, program evaluation, performance assessments, and water stress as a driver of conflict and instability.

Pamela Faber is an associate research analyst at CNA. Her research is at the intersection of security and development in conflict and post-conflict regions with a regional focus on Africa.

Zack Gold is an associate research analyst at CNA focused on non-state armed groups. He is an expert in Egyptian security and U.S. democratization, development, and security policy in the Middle East.


Episode 10

for Episode 10 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

Artificial Intelligence and unmanned systems are rapidly changing the dynamics of warfighting and military power. With Russia, China, and other nations investing in and testing these capabilities, the United States has to understand what capabilities other countries have and how their governments could seek to use them. On this episode of CNA Talks, experts Larry Lewis, Samuel Bendett, and Kevin Pollpeter discuss unmanned military systems, how Russia and China are developing and employing their capabilities, and what the United States should do in response.

Biographies

Dr. Larry Lewis is the Director of the Center for Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence at CNA. His areas of expertise include lethal autonomy, reducing civilian casualties, identifying lessons from current operations, security assistance, and counterterrorism. Lewis spent a decade analyzing real world operations as the project lead and primary author for many of DOD's Joint Lessons Learned studies. He has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Rice University.

Samuel Bendett is an Associate Research Analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses' International Affairs Group, where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves Russian defense and security technology and developments, Russian geopolitical influence in the former Soviet states, as well as Russian unmanned systems development, Russian naval capabilities and Russian decision-making calculus during military crises. Bendett received his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University and B.A. in Politics and English from Brandeis University.

Kevin Pollpeter is a Research Scientist at CNA. Before joining CNA he has served as deputy director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) project on the Study of Innovation and Technology in China, deputy director of the East Asia Program at Defense Group Inc., and a researcher at RAND. A Chinese linguist, he holds an MA in international policy studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at King’s College London.


Episode 9

for Episode 9 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

As initial search and rescue operations in Houston shift to long-term recovery efforts, three CNA experts discuss the various challenges Houston will face based on their experiences with large-scale disaster recovery efforts.  Monica Giovachino moderates as Jason McNamara and Dawn Thomas share perspectives gathered from years of experience working at FEMA and studying disaster response, including major concerns from housing and mass care to considering important questions for federal and local agencies as one of America’s largest cities begins to recover and rebuild.

Biographies

Monica Giovachino is the Managing Director for CNA's Safety and Security division and has more than 15 years of experience supporting preparedness programs for federal, state, and local agencies. She has led evaluations of complex, national exercises, as well as real-world incidents, including the 2013 mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and the 2017 shooting at the Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA.

Jason McNamara is the Senior Director of Emergency Management Programs at CNA and is an established emergency management and homeland security expert. He previously served as the Chief of Staff for FEMA, where he helped implement organizational reforms that contributed to FEMA responding effectively to some of the busiest, and most costly, disaster seasons on record.

Dawn Thomas is an Associate Director in CNA’s Safety & Security Division.  She has contributed to the analyses of real-world operations, including the federal response to Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Navy response Hurricane Katrina, and the HHS response to Hurricane Rita.  In addition, she has worked with state, local, regional, and federal entities in preparing for and responding to catastrophic events.

Related Materials


Episode 8

for Episode 8 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

In Episode 8 of CNA Talks, Dr. David Knoll moderates a conversation about a newly released paper, Decade of War: Applying Past Lessons to the Counter-ISIS Campaign. He is joined by the report’s author, Dr. Larry Lewis, and analyst Zack Gold to discuss the rapid adaptation of technology and information operations by non-state armed groups; how legitimate nation states can respond to non-state armed groups which are not bound by truth; and how lessons learned from adversaries can be most effectively integrated into future tactics across the US military.

Biographies

Dr. David Knoll, host of this episode, is a research analyst at CNA, where he focuses on military innovation, irregular warfare, non-state armed groups, the Middle East and North Africa.

Dr. Larry Lewis is a principal research scientist at CNA whose focus areas include reducing civilian casualties, lethal autonomy, counterterrorism, human rights, arms transfers and security assistance, and IHL compliance. His other areas of expertise include counterinsurgency and high value targeting in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Colombia, and elsewhere.

Zack Gold is an associate research analyst at CNA focused on non-state armed groups. He is an expert on Egyptian security, Islamist political and violent organizations, and U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Related Materials


Episode 7

for Episode 7 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

Tune in to hear CNA's Tim Beres, David Kaufman, Monica Giovachino, and Jason McNamara discuss CNA Safety and Security's work on homeland security, domestic preparedness, and emergency management over the last two decades. The four experts discuss the Oklahoma City bombing, the Tokyo subway sarin gas incident, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the impact of these events on homeland security preparedness, as well as the planning and economic implications of natural disasters.

Biographies

Tim Beres, host of this episode, is Executive Vice President of CNA's Institute for Public Research. Before joining CNA, he served as a career member of the Senior Executive Service in DHS, and he held a variety of senior leadership positions directing and implementing national homeland security programs in DHS and DOJ.

David Kaufman is Vice President and Director of CNA's Safety and Security division. Prior to CNA, he served as FEMA’s Associate Administrator for Policy, where he worked to institutionalize a long range vision and planning capability for the emergency management community nationally, and with DHS to evaluate the risks of climate change impacts on DHS operations.

Monica Giovachino is the Managing Director for CNA's Safety and Security division and has more than 15 years of experience supporting preparedness programs for federal, state, and local agencies. She has led evaluations of complex, national exercises, as well as real-world incidents, including the 2013 mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and the 2017 shooting at the Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA.

Jason McNamara is the Senior Director of Emergency Management Programs at CNA and is an established emergency management and homeland security expert. He previously served as the Chief of Staff for FEMA, where he helped implement organizational reforms that contributed to FEMA responding effectively to some of the busiest, and most costly, disaster seasons on record.

Related Materials


Episode 6

for Episode 6 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

This week listen to CNA analyst Dr. William Rosenau discuss Latin American security with CNA’s Dr. Ralph Espach and guest scholar Dr. Joseph Tulchin. The three experts talk about the United States’ bilateral relationships with Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba; the domestic situation in Venezuela; Cuba and regional security; Central America; post-FARC Colombia; and environmental security.

Biographies

Dr. William Rosenau, host of this episode, is a senior research scientist at CNA. He has over 25 years of experience in defense analysis and is an expert on political extremism, propaganda and political warfare, counterterrorism, and policy history.

Dr. Ralph Espach is director of Latin American Strategic Affairs at CNA. He is an expert in U.S.-Latin America security relations, climate change and security, and security cooperation monitoring and assessment. His 2016 book, “The Dilemma of Lawlessness” from the Marine Corps University Press, examines the effects of organized crime in Guatemalan border communities. His research focus is on Central America, Brazil, Colombia, and maritime security.

Dr. Joseph S. Tulchin is a scholar of Latin American affairs with published research on hemispheric relations, citizen security and the governance of cities. His latest book, Latin America in International Politics: Challenging US Hegemony, was published last year by Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Related Materials


Episode 5

for Episode 5 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has received a lot of attention for their innovative tactics on and off the battlefield including their messaging, media activities and technology use. How innovative are they really? And, how should the U.S. and allies react? Listen along as Dr. Eric Thompson talks with four of CNA's experts to discuss what you need to know about ISIS's tactics. Topics include:

  • ISIS's use of social media
  • ISIS's use of drones, car bombs and tunnels
  • The importance of holding territory
  • ISIS's affiliates
  • The effects of and reasons for barbarity
  • The transfer of knowledge online
  • The role of virtual technology

Biographies

Dr. Eric Thompson, a Middle East political and military affairs specialist, is vice president and director of CNA's Center for Strategic Studies. His most recent work addressed counterterrorism operations, security cooperation activities, military-to-military relations with Egypt, interoperability with Turkish and Algerian maritime forces, and coalition building for military operations in the CENTCOM region.

Dr. Jonathan Schroden is director of CNA's Center for Stability and Development and CNA's Special Operations Program. He is an expert in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, stability operations, operations assessment, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Dr. David Knoll is a research analyst at CNA, where he focuses on military innovation, irregular warfare, non-state armed groups, the Middle East and North Africa.

Pamela Faber is an associate research analyst at CNA. Her research is at the intersection of security and development in conflict and post-conflict regions with a regional focus on Africa.

Zack Gold is an associate research analyst at CNA focused on non-state armed groups. He is an expert in Egyptian security and U.S. democratization, development, and security policy in the Middle East.


Episode 4

for Episode 4 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

This week CNA Board member and George Mason University professor Laurie Robinson sits down with a few of CNA's policing experts to discuss the most pressing topics in justice and policing today. The conversation covers everything from police reform and evidence-based research to body-worn cameras and police departments' use of social media. Hear what some of today's top criminal justice experts think about training, transparency and accountability, community policing, crisis intervention, and federal support of the police.

Biographies

Laurie Robinson, host of the episode, is the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law, & Society at George Mason University. She has been involved in national criminal justice policy for more than three decades. She has twice served as a Senate-confirmed, Presidentially-appointed Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, the Department's research, statistics and grants agency.

Dr. James "Chip" Coldren is managing director of the Justice Group in CNA's Safety and Security division. He has over 35 years of research experience with justice system reform, evaluation of police, crime prevention, corrections, juvenile justice and restorative justice programs.

Dr. Laura Kunard is a senior research scientist for justice programs in CNA's Safety and Security division. Laura is an experienced researcher, project manager and police trainer with expertise in police reform, police interactions with people with mental illness and procedural justice practices.

James "CHIPS" Stewart is director of public safety in CNA's Safety and Security division. CHIPS is a nationally recognized expert in criminal justice system assessment, community policing, use of force and collaborative reform.

Zoë Thorkildsen is a research analyst in the Justice Group within CNA's Safety and Security division. Her expertise is in criminal justice and policing, program evaluation, and research design and analysis.

Related Materials


Episode 3

for Episode 3 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

In episode 3, Dr. Dov Zakheim sits down with three CNA experts to discuss maritime issues in Asia. Bringing together a wealth of research knowledge and real-world experience in the region, Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, U.S. Navy (ret), Mark Rosen and Catherine Lea discuss China’s maritime capabilities, the South and East China Seas, relations between the Philippines, China and the United States, Russia’s role in Asia, the relationship between the Indian Navy and the U.S. Navy and much more.

Biographies

Dr. Dov Zakheim, host of the episode, is a senior fellow at CNA. Previously, he served as Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, U.S. Navy (ret) is a senior fellow at CNA. He is an expert on maritime security issues along the Indo-Pacific littoral and the maritime dimension of China’s national strategy. During his navy career, Rear Admiral McDevitt spent his operational time in the Pacific and held four at-sea commands including an aircraft carrier battle-group. He was the Director of the East Asia Policy office for the Secretary of Defense during the George H.W. Bush Administration.

Mark Rosen, an international and national security lawyer, is senior vice president, general counsel and board secretary at CNA. He has authored numerous international and operational law studies and is an expert on maritime disputes, law of the sea, law of armed conflict, international agreements and arms control.

Catherine Lea is a senior research scientist at CNA. She directs studies focused on Asian maritime security, U.S. basing posture in Asia and gaming future operations in the Asia-Pacific for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Her expertise includes the U.S.-Japan alliance, Marine Corps Pacific posture and future operations in anti-access, area-denial environments.

Related Materials


Episode 2

for Episode 2 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

To recognize National Career and Technical Education Month 2017, CNA Education experts discuss the importance of CTE and its role in workforce development.

Podcast topics included:

  • Promising trends in CTE and innovative, successful practices in CTE classrooms
  • Successful industry-CTE partnerships and the next frontier for CTE
  • The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and legislative reforms at the federal, state and/or local levels that support improvements in CTE
  • CNA Education work related to high-wage, high demand jobs and the gaps within the CTE research realm

Biographies

Liza Cordeiro, host of this episode, is CNA Education’s senior advisor for marketing. She leads all public relations, marketing, advertising, and new media strategies, with a focus on increasing national awareness of research, technical assistance, and other products developed by CNA Education.

Lul Tesfai is a senior policy director of CNA’s Education division. Her expertise includes policy and strategy development for adult career and technical education (CTE) programs. Lul most recently served as director of policy for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

Kevin Oshinskie is a project associate at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). He facilitates projects and activities that help ACTE build stronger strategic partnerships with other organizations and companies, including public awareness activities such as CTE Month.

Related Materials


Episode 1

for Episode 1 overview, biographies and related materials.

Overview

In light of this month’s presidential transition, six CNA analysts sat down to discuss foreign policy advice for the next administration. From Asia to Europe to the Middle East, the commentators covered some of the key areas of concern for the upcoming year and beyond. Topics included:

  • North Korea’s nuclear capabilities
  • Russia’s relationships with NATO, Syria and Turkey
  • The Iran nuclear deal
  • Chinese national interests
  • The South China Sea
  • Cyber threats

Listen in for informed analysis on China, North Korea, Russia and more.

Biographies

Dr. Dov Zakheim, host of the episode, is a senior fellow at CNA. Previously, he served as Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Dr. Michael Connell is a Middle East specialist and the director of CNA’s Adversary Analytics Program.

Dr. David Finkelstein is the vice president and director of CNA's China Studies division and an expert on Chinese and Asian affairs.

Ken Gause is the director of CNA's International Affairs Group. He is CNA's senior foreign leadership analyst and has spent the last 20 years developing methodologies for examining leadership dynamics of hard target regimes.

Michael Kofman, a CNA analyst, has extensive experience analyzing Russia’s military and foreign policy and is an expert on security issues in the former Soviet Union.

Alexander Alden, a CNA analyst, is an expert in strategic planning, defense policy, deterrence and assurance, military modernization, arms transfers, security cooperation, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

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Fiona Gettinger
Communications Associate
703.824.2388
gettingerf@cna.org

communications@cna.org
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