National Security Conference | Making Strategy under Budget Austerity: Regional Threats and Practical Responses

Sponsored by the Raytheon Company

Thursday, October 31, 2013 (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Meadows Museum (map)

2013 NSC Web

The sixth annual Tower Center National Security Conference seeks to combine an objective assessment of emerging regional threats with a frank discussion of defense spending in a time of fiscal austerity.  Good strategy starts with a thorough understanding of policy goals and the means required to achieve them, but it also requires a clear-eyed view of budgetary and political reality. Speakers at this year’s conference will offer strategic analyses of important regions in a time of transition.  Europe was critical to the United States during the Cold War, but attention shifted to the Middle East after the fall of the Soviet Union.  In recent years the United States has vastly reduced its presence in the Middle East and is increasingly focused on Asia.  But nature of the so-called “pivot” to Asia is still somewhat uncertain, meaning that speakers will have an opportunity to debate critical but unsettled questions about national security priorities and appropriate military responses.  Finally, they will offer practical recommendations about how to cope with new problems with limited budgets.

Agenda & Speakers


Registration & Breakfast


Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Gen. Peter Chiarelli, USA (Ret.)

Panel 1– Threats & Opportunities

  • Chair: Joshua Rovner, Tower Chair for National Security, SMU
  • Adm. Patrick Walsh, USN (Ret.), former Commander, Pacific Fleet
  • Gen. H.R. McMaster, Commander, Maneuver Center of Excellence
  • Jeremy Shapiro, Brookings Institution

Panel 2– Capabilities & Choices

  • Chair: Celeste Ward Gventer, Associate Director, Strauss Center, UT-Austin
  • Gen. Carter Ham, USA (Ret.), former Commander, AFRICOM
  • Gen. Buzz Moseley, USAF (Ret.)
  • Gen. Peter Chiarelli, USA (Ret.)

Keynote Lunch

“Making Strategy under Budget Austerity: Regional Threats and Practical Responses”Keynote Speaker: Peter Feaver, Founder of Program in American Grand Strategy, Duke Universityu1572Peter D. Feaver (Ph.D., Harvard, 1990) is a Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University. He is Director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and also Director of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. Feaver is author of Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (Harvard Press, 2003) and of Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States (Cornell University Press, 1992). He is co-author: with Christopher Gelpi and Jason Reifler, of Paying the Human Costs of War (Princeton Press, 2009); with Susan Wasiolek and Anne Crossman, of Getting the Best Out of College (Ten Speed Press, 2008, 2nd edition 2012); and with Christopher Gelpi, of Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force (Princeton Press, 2004). He is co-editor, with Richard H. Kohn, of Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security (MIT Press, 2001). He has published numerous other monographs, scholarly articles, book chapters, and policy pieces on grand strategy, American foreign policy, public opinion, nuclear proliferation, civil-military relations, and cybersecurity. From June 2005 to July 2007, Feaver served as Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform on the National Security Council Staff at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy, regional strategy reviews, and other political-military issues. In 1993-94, Feaver served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy review, counterproliferation policy, regional nuclear arms control, and other defense policy issues. He is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, blogs at, and is a Contributing Editor to Foreign Policy magazine.

Panel 3– Money & Politics

  • Chair: Gen. Montgomery Meigs, USA (Ret.), President & CEO, BENS
  • Pete Geren, former Secretary of the Army, President, Sid Richardson Foundation
  • Nora Bensahel, Deputy Director of Studies, CNAS
  • Dennis Ippolito, Chair, Department of Political Science, SMU