By Lt. Cmdr. Katie Cerezo, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (CIWAG) at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosted its seventh annual symposium, "Retrospect and Prospect," June 23-24.
CIWAG was established in 2008 to promote interdisciplinary study of the challenges presented by irregular warfare and armed groups in the 21st century.
"This is a premiere forum for identifying trends in irregular warfare," said Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president, NWC, during the opening address. "We have a responsibility to ensure that the study of irregular warfare does not get lost in the broad, macro-level fiscal and operational environment, as well as a professional obligation to add new knowledge to the topic at hand."
CIWAG focuses on fostering interaction, collaboration and interagency coordination across professional military and civilian educational institutions in the U.S. and allied countries, linking theory to reality.
"Our 2015 symposium brings together more than 100 U.S. and international academics, military and civilian operators, and private sector representatives to discuss strategic and operational challenges associated with irregular warfare and armed groups," said Andrea Dew, CIWAG co-director.
The symposium's two keynote addresses were delivered by T. Boone Pickens, founder, BP Capital, and Vice Adm. Charles Michel, U.S. Coast Guard deputy commandant for operations. Pickens spoke on the U.S. energy sector as an instrument of national power and Michel spoke on all domain operations to combat maritime nodes of illicit networks.
Lectures and discussion panels during the two-day event included the use of Trojan software as a means of intimidation during conflict, lessons learned from counterterrorism operators, biological warfare and terrorism, the role of private-public collaboration in stability operations, maritime threats to homeland security, and the use of special operations forces in unconventional warfare.
"This symposium differs from previous years in that there is much greater emphasis on the impact of global economics and how fiscal policies create an environment and opportunity for armed groups to gain influence," said Marc Genest, CIWAG co-director. "We're looking at how all elements of power are used."