On Tuesday, September 30, 2020, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies hosted day three of its annual Washington Security and Defense Seminar (WSDS). Panelists first focused on U.S. defense and military strategy, opening with Dr. Rosa Brooks, Professor of Law and Policy at Georgetown Law Center, and Dr. Hal Brands, Professor of Global Policy at the School of Advanced and International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. The session included discussion of non-traditional military roles, great power competition, and collaboration in addressing global threats.
Turning to US security and defense perspectives in Latin America, Ambassador Jean Manes, Civilian Deputy to the Commander and Foreign Policy Advisor at US Southern Command, and Sergio de la Peña, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, addressed counter-narcotics, external state actors, the important role of civilians in military institutions, and why illegal unreported unregulated fishing (IUU) matters to the region. Canadian Navy Commodore James Clarke, who serves as the Deputy Director of the Strategy, Policy and Plans Directorate at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), finished today’s sessions by addressing the importance of the Arctic in the context of renewed great power competition.
Mr. De la Peña’s participation in WSDS was one of his last official acts as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs. In appreciation for his exemplary support to the Perry Center through the years, Director LTG (ret.) Frederick Rudesheim presented Mr. De la Peña with a certificate declaring him an honorary Distinguished Member of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.
WSDS is a weeklong forum to provide advanced orientation of USG structure, policy, and processes to the local Latin America and Caribbean diplomatic community. Participants have the unique opportunity to hear perspectives from high-level policy experts from the US Government, academic community, and private sector in an academic non-attribution environment facilitated by the Perry Center. WSDS is directed by Professor Patrick Paterson and facilitated by Dr. Fabiana Perera, Dr. Bill Godnick, Dr. Luis Bitencourt, Dr. Boris Saavedra, Dr. David Spencer, Professor Celina Realuyo, and Mr. Walter Earle.