Experts discuss national security at Florida Law Review event Friday

Published: September 30th, 2013

Category: Feature

poucherheaderBy Matt Walker

From undercover spies infiltrating foreign countries to the timely debate over the use of drones, the topic of national security easily piques interest, intrigue and debate. This year’s Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series will delve into the challenging world of national security with a panel including a retired four-star general, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator, a former CIA spy, an academic, and a current U.S. senator.

“National Security in a Changing World: From the perspective of an academic, a general, a spy and Florida statesmen,” will be held on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. in the Curtis M. Phillips, M.D. Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida. The event is sponsored by the Florida Law Review and is free and open to the public.

“From the use of drones to the current debate over the role of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, our leaders are tasked with making critical decisions affecting our national security in a constantly changing world,” said co-symposium editor Mike Polatsek. “Our hope is that this year’s Poucher Series will provide an overview of current national security issues from numerous unique perspectives.”

The panelists are drone expert Professor Kenneth Anderson of the American University Washington College of Law; Gen. James T. Hill, U.S. Army (Ret.); former CIA operative Professor James Olson, lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service; former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham; and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.

“The Florida Law Review is honored to host such a knowledgeable and prestigious panel at this year’s Allen L. Poucher Series,” said co-symposium editor Samantha Sanfilippo.

The Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series was established by Betty K. Poucher in honor of her late husband, Allen L. Poucher Sr. A humanitarian who lived a life dedicated to service, Allen Poucher graduated from UF Law in 1942 and practiced law for more than 60 years. The Poucher Legal Education Series seeks to provide a venue for prominent legal, political and business leaders to discuss important issues facing our nation and world today.

About the panelists

Professor Kenneth Anderson

Anderson is currently a professor of law at American University in Washington, D.C. As a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Resolution and Peace, and as a member of the Hoover Task Force on National Security and Law, his published work strives to explain the implications of national security in the 21st century. Currently, Anderson’s research is focused on “target killing and drone warfare in armed conflicts, and robotics and the law.” Specifically, his work as a visiting fellow for the Brookings Institute was titled “Targeted Killing in U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy and Law.” Professor Anderson has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Magazine, and the international law blog Opinio Juris regarding national security issues facing the United States.

Senator Bob Graham

Graham served as the 38th governor of Florida and then represented the state as a senator from 1987 to 2005. Throughout his distinguished career in public service he has been heavily involved in shaping U.S. national security and foreign policy. He served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and was the chairman of the committee during the 9/11 attack and the time leading up to the war in Iraq. Graham was vocal about the Iraq war and authored a book describing his position on America’s war on terror titled Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia and the Failure of America’s War on Terror, which was published in 2004.  Additionally, he has served as the chairman of the Commission on Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism. Since his retirement, Graham has been extremely active in domestic and foreign policy, most recently serving as the co-chair of the National Committee on the BP-Horizon Spill and the CIA External Advisory Board.

Gen. James T. Hill, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Hill has had a distinguished military career, during which he served in the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Desert Shield. He served as the deputy chief of staff of operations for the entire United States Armed Forces Command from 1995 to 1997. Before his retirement, Hill was the commander of SOUTHCOM, which oversees all U.S. military forces and personnel in Central and South America. For his dedicated years of military service Hill has been awarded numerous decorations including: the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star with Valor, and multiple Purple Hearts. His first hand service, and more recent administrative knowledge, showcases the impact the constantly changing national security landscape has had on our armed forces at home and abroad.

Senator Bill Nelson

Nelson is currently serving his third term in the United States Senate. Nelson’s political career began in the Florida House of Representatives and was followed by six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served his country in the U.S. Army and has been into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986. Nelson has extensive experience dealing with foreign policy and national security issues through his current service on the Committee on Armed Services, and his past service on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Uniquely, Nelson made a trip to Syria in 2006 and has recently spoken out about the role the United States should be playing in the current Syrian crisis.

Professor James Olson

Olson served his country as a CIA deep cover clandestine agent during the Cold War. He worked for more than 25 years in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency program. Upon returning to the states he served as the chief of counterintelligence of the CIA at the Langley headquarters. For his CIA service Olson was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. Pulling from his first hand experiences in the CIA, Olson authored a book titled Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying. He currently is a senior lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.