August has been full of exciting developments for SPSN. We held a faculty colloquium at the College for International Security Affairs (CISA) at the National Defense University (NDU). Several members of the NDU faculty and national security professionals from the DC area provided constructive critique on SPSN’s research thus far and offered suggestions on paths forward.
Summer researchers Alek Ball and Sam Romano presented their research before the faculty. Ball spoke on federal government interactions with contractors that hire translators on behalf of the US military. He proposed a threat assessment system for soft networks which would precede a specific action plan. Romano discussed non-traditional methods for soft network protection by non-government entities and presented a three pronged approach for his research: Pre-Conflict Protection, Conflict & Post-Conflict Protection, and International Legal Protections.
The colloquium’s feedback was valuable and constructive. Discussants offered insights on how to understand soft networks that operate in war-zones, and encouraged the researchers to consider different variables, such as the individual’s affiliations and education in order to better design a comprehensive protection scheme. These suggestions gave our team new considerations and helped affirm much of the previous research. We plan on holding another faculty colloquium in several months to continue assessing and strengthening the work.
This month, we also said goodbye to our summer researcher, Alek Ball. Alek was graciously hosted by CISA at NDU this summer. He took full advantage of his time on campus and was advised by faculty members Dr. Kirklin Bateman and Dr. Thomas Marks. He returns to continue his Masters degree in Peace and Justice Studies at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. Alek conducted valuable research during his time with SPSN and made an excellent team member. We will certainly miss him.
Thank you for supporting our work in strategically protecting soft networks. We look forward to sharing more updates with you as the research and policy development efforts progress.
The SPSN Team
- ‘How Much More Merit Do You Need Than Saving American Lives?’, The Atlantic, Priscilla Alvarez, 7/25/18
- ‘This Former Iraqi Interpreter Turned U.S. Soldier Says Agency is Blocking his Path to Citizenship‘, Army Times, Mike Schneider, 7/19/18
- Pacific Council on International Policy, 10/12/18, Los Angeles – Steve Miska and Sam Romano will present on research & policy development efforts.
- International Stability Operations Association, 11/12 – 11/14, Washington, D.C. – Steve Miska on a panel discussion about the strategic importance of Soft Networks