Students and faculty at Utah Valley University had the incredible opportunity to attend Congressman Chris Stewart’s Security Summit on March 26, 2018. This event is an annual event where Representative Stewart invites national voices of security to Salt Lake City, Utah and allows each to address a wide variety of topics that range from national unity to security in areas like Tunisia. The topic of this year’s summit was the role of America in providing international security.
First to address the group of local and regional military leaders, citizens, students, and faculty was Byron York, an active author of articles in the Washington Examiner. Mr. York attempted to create a case for why the security and rule of law in the United States has been compromised by the collusion with Russia accusations and following investigation. He argued that submitting our nation’s highest official to this kind of scrutiny prevents law enforcement agencies and resources from doing their job. Following his presentation, he answered questions about the changes that could happen in the current administration following the changes in the National Security Officer, Secretary of State, and VA President.
Following to address the attendees was Jennie Johnson, a professor at Utah State University who spoke on importance of international diplomacy through the CIA and State Department. As a serving official in the CIA for over 30 years, Ms. Johnson addressed how the duty of the CIA remains to be to speak truth to power, providing credible evidence whether good or bad, to the senior policymakers in the United States. She argued that the role of the CIA is also to possess sufficient understanding of the enemies of the United States and to provide actionable intelligence that can then be used to prevent attacks on the United States. She then shifted into the State Department as well and explained the various categories of the State Department algorithm that provides insight into how other nations act. First, we must identify how the country sees itself and the United States. Next, you must understand the norms that the countries adhere to and the affect that these norms have on other states. Finally, you must create actionable intelligence that can be used to predict and prevent attacks against the United States. Finally, she argued that political theory summarizes that when one country strives to maintain hegemonic power, other countries will inevitably rise up against the hegemony. She posed the question of how U.S. policymakers will strive to maintain this standard.
Next to present was Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser MD, an accomplished surgeon who also represents the Muslim community on a national level. He argued that powers like Saudi Arabia that strive to represent change in the Islamic faith yet continue in totalitarian theocratic power represent a significant threat to United States security. He said that current U.S. policy is reminiscent of “whack-a-mole”, where the nation addresses problems as they come up. He claims that the United States must adjust to a preventative policy that will prevent jihadist terrorism before it happens. Other speakers in the conference included Representative Stewart’s Chief of Staff, who discussed China’s land grab, Iran’s global terrorist network, and intelligence community reform; the Ambassador to the United States for the Republic of Tunisia Faycal Gouia, who discussed the building of new democracy; and finally, Senator Tim Scott and Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina delivered a riveting message on national unity and how the only way that the United States can maintain national security is by remaining unified.
I believe this was a great opportunity for UVU students in the Sustainable Mountain Development Program to be able to better understand how national security issues can be solved for mountain communities. Unity with mountain regions and providing security for those areas will prevent the systematic and prevailing violence that seems to continually affect mountainous regions.
Andrew Jensen, member, Foreign Affairs club at Utah Valley University
STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS