Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA)

Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008, and serves on the Senate Banking, Budget, Commerce and Intelligence committees. Halfway through his first term, Senator Warner has established himself as a national leader in efforts to find bipartisan consensus to create balanced solutions to reduce the federal debt. He also has been a champion for military men and women, their families, and our military veterans. Senator Warner also is a leader in Congress in efforts to promote private-sector innovation and to help our nation's small businesses and start-up companies succeed.
Senator Warner organized the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six, which has worked since 2011 to produce a comprehensive plan to gradually cut at least $4 trillion from the $16 trillion national debt. The Gang ultimately expanded to include 45 Senators and 100 members of the House, and Senator Warner continues to lead this important bipartisan push for responsible deficit and debt reduction.

Senator Warner was chosen by his colleagues on the Budget Committee to lead a bipartisan task force that has successfully worked to eliminate unnecessary program overlap and wasteful duplication within the federal bureaucracy. Senator Warner has also intervened on behalf of military families to improve older, dilapidated military housing in Hampton Roads, and his efforts prompted the Veterans Administration to significantly improve its services to female military veterans. Senator Warner enlisted the help of several of Virginia's leading technology companies to produce a comprehensive blueprint, at no cost to the taxpayers, to correct  mistakes and mismanagement discovered at the Army's Arlington National Cemetery. After two Virginia Air National Guard pilots blew-the-whistle on chronic safety concerns with the new F-22 stealth fighter jet, Senator Warner intervened to protect the pilots from reprisals and prompted the Air Force to step-up its investigation into the cause of the F-22 safety issues.

Senator Warner also serves as co-chair of the Senate's bipartisan India Caucus, which works to increase economic and cultural ties with the world's fastest-growing democracy. He also is the honorary chairman of A Billion+Change, a philanthropic effort that has enlisted 200 U.S. companies to donate almost two billion dollars in volunteer service by willing employees in support of community and nonprofit organizations.

From 2002 to 2006, Senator Warner served as Governor of Virginia, where he worked in a bipartisan way to turn record budget deficits into a surplus. Governor Warner also focused on improving public education and expanding economic opportunity in every region of the state. He recruited 135,000 new jobs to Virginia during his four-year term. When Governor Warner left office in 2006, Virginia was consistently recognized as the nation’s “best-managed state," the “best state for business” and the state offering the best educational opportunities to its young people. Before entering public office, Senator Warner was an early investor in the cellular telephone business. He co-founded the company that became Nextel, and ultimately made early investments in hundreds of start-up technology companies that have created tens-of-thousands of private sector jobs.

Get to Know a Speaker: Danielle Pletka

As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011). Her most recent study, “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” was published in May 2012. She is currently working on a follow-up report on U.S.–Iranian competitive strategies in the Middle East, to be published in the fall of 2012.

Pletka was the Senior Professional Staff Member for Near East and South Asia, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 1992-2002. She was also a staff writer for Insight Magazine from 1987-92 and an editorial assistant for the Los Angeles Times and Reuters, Jerusalem from 1984-85.

Pletka received an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. from Smith College.

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassdor Ashok Kumar Mirpuri

Mr. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri took up his appointment as Singapore's Ambassador to the United States in July 2012.  Before that, he was Singapore's Ambassador to Indonesia from 2006 to 2012, High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2002 to 2006 and High Commissioner to Australia from 2000 to 2002.

Mr. Mirpuri joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1984. From 1987 to 1991, he was First Secretary (Political) at the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta. In 1994, he was appointed Director of MFA's Policy Planning & Analysis Directorate I (Southeast Asia). In 1997, Mr. Mirpuri was seconded to Shell International Ltd in the United Kingdom as Corporate Advisor (Asia Pacific). He returned to the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta in 1998 as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission.

Mr. Mirpuri graduated with an honours degree in Political Science from the National University of Singapore. He received his MA at the University of London's School of Oriental & African Studies under a Raffles Scholarship. He did the Programme for Executive Development at the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, USA.

Mr. Mirpuri was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by the Singapore Government in 2010.

Get to Know a Speaker: Brian Latell

Brian Latell began tracking Cuba for the CIA in the early 1960s. Today, as Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, he continues as one of the most distinguished and frequently quoted experts. For a quarter century he taught Cuba and Latin America as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. A former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America and Director of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence, he has written for the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal, Time, and many other American and international publications. His After Fidel has been published in eight languages.

Get to Know a Speaker: Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a resident fellow and senior director for strategy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He leads GMF’s EuroFuture Project which explores the economic, the governance and the geostrategic dimensions of the Eurocrisis from a transatlantic perspective. Formerly, Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff was senior director for policy programs. In this capacity, he oversaw all GMF programs and projects that deal with the cross-border challenges which globalization presents to the transatlantic community: Trade, Foreign Aid, and Food Security, Climate Diplomacy and Energy Policy, Immigration and Integration as well as the Global Economic Governance (G-20) initiative.

Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff has been an expert on transatlantic relations for more than a decade. Before arriving at GMF, he served as the Washington bureau chief of DIE ZEIT, Germany's intellectual weekly. Educated at Freiburg University in Germany with additional schooling at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, Kleine-Brockhoff was a fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He was a witness to the U.S. Congress, has published widely in Europe and the United States and appears frequently as a commentator on radio and TV. He is a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

Get to Know a Speaker: Stephen J. Hadley

Stephen Hadley completed four years as the assistant to the president for National Security Affairs on January 20, 2009. In that capacity he was the principal White House foreign policy advisor to then President George W. Bush, directed the National Security Council staff, and ran the interagency national security policy development and execution process.

From January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2005, Steve was the assistant to the president and Deputy National Security adviser, serving under then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. In addition to covering the full range of national security issues, Steve had special responsibilities in several specific areas including U.S. relations with Russia, the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, developing a strategic relationship with India and ballistic missile defense.From 1989 to 1993, Steve served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security policy under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Steve represented the Defense Department on arms control matters, including negotiations with the Soviet Union and then Russia, on matters involving NATO and Western Europe, on ballistic missile defense, and on export and technology control matters.

He was counsel to the Tower Commission in 1987, as it investigated U.S. arms sales to Iran, and served on the National Security Council under President Ford from 1974 to 1977.

During his professional career, Steve has served on a number of corporate and advisory boards, most recently as co-chair of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel. Other positions include service on the National Security Advisory Panel to the Director of Central Intelligence, the Department of Defense Policy Board, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace, as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as a trustee of ANSER (Analytical Services, Inc.), a public service research corporation.

Get to Know a Speaker: P.J. Crowley

Philip J. (PJ) Crowley is the 2011-2012 Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership. The chair is a joint effort among the United States Army War College, Dickinson College, and Penn State Law to advance the study of strategic leadership and enhance civilian-military dialogue by offering distinguished individuals the opportunity to contribute to the educational and research activities of the three institutions. 

President Barack Obama nominated Crowley to be Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State in 2009. Previously, he served as Special Assistant to the President for national security affairs and Senior Director of Public Affairs for the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration. Before joining the Department of State, Crowley was a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, with a particular policy focus on homeland security and combating terrorism. Crowley’s research and teaching interests focus on national security policy, public diplomacy, and the impact of the global media environment on conflict, policy, and politics. His appointment also enables him to teach at Penn State's School of International Affairs as well as Dickinson College and the U.S. Army War College.