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Virginia Tech convenes panel of experts on Capitol Hill to consider: '15 Years After 9/11: Are We Safer?'

November 9, 2016

TSA officer talking to woman and child at airport
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer assists passengers at an airport checkpoint. Security at airports in major cities was heightened after the terrorist attack on 9/11. Photo courtesy of TSA.

Virginia Tech is convening a panel of experts on national security, military affairs, and foreign policy to ponder the question, “15 Years After 9/11: Are We Safer?” The panel discussion is set for Tuesday, Nov. 15, on Capitol Hill.

Former congressman and School of Public and International Affairs Professor of Practice Jim Moran will moderate the discussion from 3 to 5 p.m. at 2226 Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and current member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, will provide opening remarks.

The event is sponsored by Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. It is open to the public but space is limited; an  RSVP to events.president@vt.edu is requested by Friday, Nov. 11.

After 9/11 the federal government created the Department of Homeland Security and reorganized law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Security at airports and in major cities heightened. Learning to prepare for disasters of this scope emerged as a major focus among government agencies and scholars.

The threat of terrorism remains a foremost issue. As we look to a new presidential administration, will there be new emphases on national security threats? Will there be policy differences?  What would a new approach look like? How can we can work with Europe and other countries that face similar threats?

Experts on the "15 Years After 9/11: Are We Safer?" panel will offer their perspective on these and other issues. The panelists are:

·    Monte B. Hawkins, senior director for Transborder Security at the National Security Council Staff at the White House. Hawkins will discuss how the U.S. is countering violent extremism, the "borders out" policy, and how travelers are screened.

·    Gen. Mark Kimmit (U.S. Army, ret), former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy. Having just returned from Iraq, Kimmit will provide an update from Mosul and address the ramifications of driving out ISIL.

·    Ariel Ahram and Patrick Roberts, associate professors, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech. Ahram will focus on the results of pressure being put on the Islamic state and particularly how it might result in new domestic terror threats. Roberts will discuss the status of Department of Homeland Security-sponsored fusion centers and approaches to terrorism risk assessment.

Virginia Tech has a strong commitment to increasing the security and resilience of communities, the nation, and the world. Integrated Security — focused on advancing and assuring the security of vital social, political, and financial networks while balancing the crucial needs and expectations of privacy and governmental oversight — has been identified as one of the university’s Destination Areas, which are pockets of disciplinary and interdisciplinary strength that set Virginia Tech above others.

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