Great Power Competition


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GPC7: The Current Rise of the Great Powers and the Battle for Influence in the Greater Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South Asia.
March 7-9, 2023
Marshall Center, USF Tampa Campus

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Conference Overview

GPC7 featured a keynote address from General (Ret) Frank McKenzie, former commander of U.S. Central Command, as well as addresses from Brigadier General (Ret) Peter Zwack, Gregory Ryckman from the DIA, David Lamm from NESA, Lieutenant General Dimitri Henry from the Joint Staff and Major General David Doyle, Chief of Staff at U.S. Central Command. The conference focused on the growing battle with Russia and China for influence in the Greater Middle East and implications for the Central Region.



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GPC6: Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: Implications for the Central Region
December 8, 2022
Patel Center for Global Solutions, USF Tampa Campus

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Conference Overview

Originally scheduled for September of 2022, GPC6 was postponed because of Hurrican Ian. Rescheduled for December, and consolidated into a one day event, GPC6 featured a keynote address from General Michael E. Kurilla, Commander of U.S. Central Command. Addresses were also delivered by General (Ret) Frank McKenzie, Executive Director of GNSI and former commander of U.S. Central Command,  as well as Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department, Marshall Billingslea.



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GPC5: The Future of U.S. National Security
April 28-29, 2022

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Conference Overview

GPC5 examined the position of the United States as a result of some of the dramatic changes to US foreign and domestic policy, law enforcement, intelligence gathering, counterterrorism, and military operations after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and extrapolating their impact for 2022 and beyond, considering how each of these areas may need to adapt (or not) for that uncertain future in the face of new and emerging threats from foreign adversaries.

Picking up where the September 2021 GPC conference left off, this event will feature commentary from the people who helped lead and implement some of the Nation’s most dramatic post-9/11 changes—geopolitically, institutionally, legally, and otherwise, from three perspectives: Where are we today, where might we be in 2032, and what does the US need between now and then to influence that future? Where appropriate, speakers will focus specifically on the CENTCOM AOR, exploring, for example, how will the nature of the threat change over the next decade, and what can the US do to prepare for it. In that regard, many laws, organizations, and policies were established in response to 9/11, but are they still viable today…and how might (or must) they change in the future? Where might the next 9/11 come from, and are we ready?



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GPC4: Two Decades of National Security Since 9/11
September 22-23, 2021

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Conference Overview

As the US turned the corner on the two decades since 9/11 and began withdrawal from 20 years of war in Afghanistan without a clear indication of what it achieved, an introspective approach was critical. This GPC Conference, the fourth in a continuing series, focused on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the United States’ subsequent military and diplomatic response.

The event took place on 22-23 September 2021, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The conference focused on the U.S. military, diplomatic, and strategic responses immediately following the attacks, as well as critical lessons learned over time and in light of current events in Afghanistan as they unfolded.

Day One of the September conference addressed the specific conditions leading up to the attacks, the attacks themselves and the immediate military and diplomatic reactions to them. Speakers reflected as well on these conditions and actions in relation to the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Day Two explored U.S. strategic responses to the attacks and began a dialogue on long-term outcomes, including impacts from the end of “the longest war” in Afghanistan. Participants focused on the ensuing Global War on Terror and the resulting lessons learned, not only in the

Middle East, but in relation to U.S. competition with near-peer nation states: Iran, Russia and China, and their proxies.

The GPC conference considered the connections between the attacks and the Great Power Competition, the ripple eff ects in the region, and the takeaways to pass on to the next generation of leaders and decision-makers.



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GPC3: Cybersecurity - The Fifth Domain
April 15-16, 2021

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Conference Overview

The third conference in the Great Power Competition series addressed the cybersecurity threat facing the U.S. and its allies and partners. The conference encompassed 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 examined the United States’ role in cyberspace from two perspectives: threat and response. First, speakers and panelists discussed current and emerging cyberattacks conducted by various nation-states and their proxies: Who and what are the targets? Who was behind the attacks? What were the strategic, operational, and tactical objectives behind these attacks? 

GPC3 also explored 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? 

Other discussions examined the technological threats to critical infrastructure; cyber operations strategy, tactics, and doctrine; information influence operations; the weaponization of social media; and more.



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GPC2: Contagion Effect: Radicalization, Unrest and Competition in the COVID-19 ERA
September 16-17, 2020

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Conference Overview

GPC2 featured keynote addresses from Lieutenant General Michael Nagata and Major General Alexus Grynkewich, along with plenary remarks from Lieutenant General (Ret)  Karen Gibson and Robert Jones. 

The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on U.S. objectives in the USCENTCOM region was uncertain. The dawn of the 21st century was already marked by notable changes in the international system prior to the COVID pandemic including challenges to the modern nation-state international system, emboldening of individuals and groups supported by advances in information and communication technology (ICT), and intensification of great power competition for influence.  

These dynamics, especially in post-conflict and fragile areas, provided a fertile field for violent extremist organizations (VEOs) to take advantage of vulnerable, aggrieved, and traumatized populations to fuel radicalization, recruitment, and unrest. The addition of an unprecedented number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the region exacerbated the many social and ethnic cleavages in the region that underpin regional instability. Layered on top of these concerns are sophisticated efforts by regional and global powers to yield economic, security, and cultural levers of power to influence and shape population groups across the grievance CENTCOM area of responsibility. 

As it was still early in the effort to understand how the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic will impact U.S. interests and capabilities in the region, this second conference in the Great Power Competition Conference Series considered how the COVID-19 Pandemic impacted U.S. military readiness, reach, and effectiveness. This GPC Conference expanded current considerations of popular radicalization and information and explored the threats and opportunities posed by the U.S. response to the pandemic across key challenges in the Central Region.



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GPC1: Great Power and Regional Perspectives in the Central Region
January 29-30, 2020
Marshall Student Center, USF Tampa Campus

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Conference Overview

The inaugural Great Power Competition Conference provided a 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 conference facilitated an understanding of Great Power and Regional Perspectives in the Central Region as it related to (1) regional perspectives on the Afghanistan peace process, (2) regional perspectives on Iran, (3) regional diplomacy and politics, (4) regional economic challenges and opportunities, (5) security, trends, threats, and areas of cooperation, and (6) U.S. leverage of the information environment to support a stable region. With this deeper understanding, according to the National Security Strategy, the U.S. can create the required competitive space and security capabilities to prevent China and Russia from "contesting America's geopolitical advantages and try to change the international order in their favor."