Perry Center Holds 2023 Washington Security and Defense Seminar
WSDS 2023 Masthead
Photo Credit: WJPC/Stratcom
05 Dec 2023

From 13-15 November, the Perry Center held its 2023 Washington Security and Defense Seminar. Seventy local diplomats from 21 countries in the Americas attended the annual forum, which provides an executive-level orientation of US policy development, particularly in relation to the Western Hemisphere. The US National Security Strategy was the cornerstone of the three-day seminar, covering foreign policy, development assistance, and military strategy. During the week participants had a unique opportunity to engage with more than 35 senior US officials, policymakers, and scholars.

WSDS 2023 inset image

A hallmark of the WSDS experience is the opportunity for robust participant engagement with speakers.

On the first day, US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro provided a keynote address that highlighted strategic priorities and partnerships. “We are committed to supporting you as you endeavor to reduce encroachment from illicit maritime activity, promote stability, and build resiliency in the face of an ever-changing climate,” he affirmed. The program also included remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Daniel Erikson on the topic of transformative cooperation and panels on addressing the US strategic approach to security, space and strategic competition, and supply chains and national security.

On the second day, participants engaged with top scholars and practitioners on the topics of integrated deterrence, intelligence as statecraft, and cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. They also learned about the Perry Center network of partners and alumni working throughout the Americas to improve citizen protection, bolster defense institutions, shape policy, and export security, as well as many opportunities for collaboration, professional development, and partnership. As a representative of the alumni community, Colonel Rodrigo Castro Cortes of Chile shared his experience with the group.

The final day of the seminar closed with renowned thought leaders Jenna Ben-Yehuda, Executive Vice-President of the Atlantic Council, and Rebecca Bill Chavez, President and CEO of the Inter-American Dialogue, who shared their perspectives on the state of democracy and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment Brendan Owens also joined participants to discuss climate and energy security. Other topics included civil-military relations, migration trends, and competition and geopolitics.

This year’s forum was led by course directors Dr. Arturo Sotomayor and Dr. Patrick Paterson. We thank all our distinguished speakers from the Army War College, Atlantic Council, Center for Strategic International Studies, Department of Defense, Department of State, Eurasia Group, George Washington University, Inter-American Dialogue, Johns Hopkins University, Migration Policy Institute, National Defense University, National War College, Naval War College, Nuclear Threat Initiative, RAND Corporation, and Woodrow Wilson Center.

Associated Event
Washington Security and Defense Seminar 2023