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Introduction: The Great Power Competition Conference Series

The University of South Florida (USF), in partnership with the National Defense University’s Near East and South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies and U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), hosts a semi-annual Great Power Competition Conference series to provide military and civilian policy-makers and thought leaders a broader understanding of the various national security challenges facing the United States in the 21st Century from near-peer global powers, i.e., China and Russia, as well as regional powers, such as Iran and North Korea, through a forum that brings together strategic thinkers, scholars, leaders, and subject matter experts.

Great Power Competition and Cybersecurity Conference

The third conference in the Great Power Competition series, scheduled for April 15-16, 2021, addresses the cybersecurity threat facing the U.S. and its allies and partners. The conference encompasses not only military and technological dimensions but also the social, economic, and political risks associated with cybersecurity threats and capabilities from potential adversaries who seek to steal information, cause disruption, and influence behavior in pursuit of global and/or regional goals. Their actions pose an acute threat to national and international security, critical infrastructure, economic stability, and social cohesion.

  • The event will examine the United States’ role in cyberspace from two perspectives: threat and response. First, speakers and panelists will discuss current and emerging cyberattacks conducted by various nation-states and their proxies: Who and what are the targets? Who is behind the attacks? What are the strategic, operational, and tactical objectives behind these attacks?

  • From there, we will explore national options for responding to these threats on the tactical, strategic, and doctrinal levels: How can we respond to these threats, and how should we respond? What are the obstacles to and consequences of strategic and tactical response options? What technological solutions are on the horizon? Should the U.S. adopt a more multi-domain offensive posture that eschews the current dominant “cyber vs cyber” paradigm?

To help answer these questions, the 3rd Great Power Competition Conference will examine the technological threats to critical infrastructure; cyber operations strategy, tactics, and doctrine; information influence operations; the weaponization of social media; and more.

The Inaugural Great Power Competition Conference


The inaugural conference, which was held on January 29-30, 2020 at the University of South Florida's Tampa campus, provided an innovative forum for strategic thinkers, scholars, leaders, and subject matter experts to discuss, collaborate, and provide perspectives on each of the Great Powers' ability to influence the political, security, and economic issues in the Central Region. 

The Great power Competition NARRATIVE

The Great Game

The Great Power Competition. Photo courtesy of tradingyourownway

Once a central point of competition in the 19th Century "Great Game" between the Russian and British Empires, with Afghanistan as the "pull-and-tug" buffer zone, the Greater Central and South Asia regions have once again become the theater for a great power competition for influences, resources, and interests with the new actors involving the Global Powers: the United States, China, and Russia along with the Regional Powers: Iran, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and the Central Asia and Arab countries. Read More...

The USF-NESA Collaboration

The USF-NESA Collaboration leads the initiative on the Great Power Competition Conference.  Read More...