CHDS Washington Security and Defense Seminar has Election-Year Focus

October 12, 2008

CHDS' traditional seminar for accredited diplomats, the "Washington Security and Defense Seminar," held October 6-10 focused on the implications of the upcoming post-election transition between US administrations.

According to course director Dr. E. Richard Downes, in addition to the snapshots of how Washington formulates and implements its security and defense policy, the seminar also stressed the mechanics and policy implications of how Washington transitions from one administration to the next. "Unlike what occurs in many Latin American countries, the United States does not undergo a wholesale change of government officials," Downes said, pointing to a Congressional Research Service study that explained how the incoming Administration will name only about 7,000 individuals to key federal posts. Downes added that course speakers offered an intimate view of how key agencies prepare for the transition to assure a smooth functioning of government, in addition to providing insight into their agenices' roles in policy formation.

The course also provided a candid look into the inter-agency process and the contents of the National Security Strategy and National Defense Stategy, as well as an opportunity to exchange ideas with senior Washington policymakers and academics. More than 50 diplomats and miltiary attaches from 19 countries attended the seminar.