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Food Systems and National Security: The Science in Strategy

On Thursday, May 23rd, visionaries and practitioners from in and around government will gather at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. to address the needs of the country through the lens of food systems and food security. Sponsored by the US Army War College, the Wilson Center and the NASA Harvest Consortium.

Date & Time

May. 23, 2019
8:45am – 5:00pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Get Directions


On Thursday, May 23rd, visionaries and practitioners from in and around government will gather at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. to address the needs of the country through the lens of food systems and food security. Sponsored by the US Army War College, the Wilson Center and the NASA Harvest Consortium, this workshop, entitled “Food Systems and National Security: The Science in Strategy,” will build on Congressional and Executive Branch initiatives and studies that aim to detect, assess and respond to complex and dynamic food system risks to U.S. national security. Though food is central to this discussion, insights will stretch across all manner of complex problems affecting the homeland.

Keynote speeches, panels and breakout groups will focus on building partnerships within and beyond the US Federal Government to define, assess and resolve institutions fit for purpose to detect and evaluate a) events with potential large scale effects on the global food systems we depend on for export; and b) events that potentially affect domestic networks, which are highly complex. In both domains, domestic and international, discussions focus on the markets, practices, logistics and power arrangements capable of stabilizing and improving the reliability of food and resource networks for all humans in the face of a rapidly destabilizing global climate.

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Please note portions of the event will not be available on livestream. Those that are available are noted below.

0830 – 0900

Registration and Coffee


0900 – 0915

Welcome & Introductions


Welcome and Overview of the Workshop

Anne Bowser, Wilson Center

Goals and Origins of the Workshop

Molly Jahn, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Launch of the USAWC study commissioned by GEN Milley

COL Parker Frawley, US Army War College

0915 – 1030

Session 1


Opening remarks and Introduction of LTG Cardon (Ret.)

      The Honorable Sharon K. Burke, former Assistant Secretary of Defense

0915 – 0945

Session 1 Keynotes





Security implications of the “global food system” relevant to the US Department of Defense

LTG Edward C. Cardon (Ret), Director, Office of Business Transformation, Office of the Under Secretary of the Army, former Commanding General of U.S. Army Cyber Command


Food systems as critical infrastructure: Vulnerabilities, Risk and Resilience

Dr. Igor Linkov, Senior Research Physical Scientist, Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center


0945 – 1030

Panel Perspectives




MODERATOR: Professor Molly Jahn, University of Wisconsin

Dr. Rod Schoonover, US Department of State

Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Professor, Hofstra University

Mr. Phil Karsting, Policy Director, World Food Program USA, former Administrator, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

Dr. Franziska Gaupp, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Vienna, Austria

1030 – 1045


1045 – 1200

Session 2


The Devil You Don’t Know:  Anticipating and Managing Risk in Complex Systems

1045 – 1105

Session 2 Keynote Address


Threats, resources and politics:  Implications of climate change for the U.S. Military

Professor Andrew Hill, US Army War College


Session 2 Panel Discussion


Models for Risk: How other complex systems can inform DoD-relevant risks to the U.S. and global food system

 MODERATOR: Professor Andrew Hill

Mr. Dennis Lockhart, former head, Atlanta Federal Reserve

Dr. Frank O'Sullivan, MIT Energy Initiative

Dr. Dustin Brisson, UPenn professor of biology and expert in infectious disease

Dave Wade, Director for Medical Preparedness in the Resilience Policy Directorate of the National Security Council

Dr. Ardath Grills, Associate Director for Innovation, Development, Evaluation, and Analytics (IDEA), Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, CDC

1200 – 1300


Lunch Addresses:  There is No Such Thing as a New Normal

Leo Holt, CEO, Holt Logistics Corp, “Supply chain vulnerabilities”


David Kaufman Vice President and Directory, Safety and Security, Center for Naval Analyses

“Supply chain resilience:  Lessons from Hurricane Maria”

1310 – 1355


Session 3


Building Domestic Resilience: Governance, Data Streams and New Institutions for US Domestic Food System Stability

“An exploration of opportunities to initiate or further develop cooperative military to military relationships to build partner capacity to avoid, minimize, or control global and regional food system shocks.”

MODERATOR:  Bob Greenberg, G&H International

1310 - 1355

Session 3 Keynotes


Improving the Culture of Preparedness and Preparing the Nation for Catastrophic Events

Eugene Shearer, FEMA Logistics Management Directorate Supply Chain Advisor

The National Critical Functions Approach to Developing a New Risk Index

Matt Masterson, Senior Cybersecurity Advisory, Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)


Innovation as a Force Multiplier to Improve Preparedness and Build Resilience

David Alexander, Senior Science Advisor, Resilience, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T)


Further discussion will occur in Breakout 3

1355 – 1615

Breakout Groups & Report-Back


Session 5

Fireside Chat and Audience Discussion

Innovations in Institutions, Technologies and Socio-cultural systems that could better prepare us for emergent risks and threats

MODERATOR: Bob Woodruff, ABC

Andrew Zolli  Director of Global Impact, Planet

David Bray, Executive Director, People-Centered Internet


Closing Remarks


Hosted By

Science and Technology Innovation Program

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) serves as the bridge between technologists, policymakers, industry, and global stakeholders.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.