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Vanderbilt University launching Institute for National Defense & Global Security
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Chancellor Daniel Diermeier

Updated May 8, 2024: VU named Retired U.S. Army Gen. Paul Miki Nakasone the founding director of the university's Institute for National Defense and Global Security, with additional appointments as Distinguished Research Professor of Engineering Science and Management in the VU School of Engineering, as well as serving as special advisor to the chancellor. Release. Wiki. Our original April 8, 2024, story is below.-Ed.

VU Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said Wednesday the new Vanderbilt University Institute for National Defense and Global Security is to become operational this fall.

The chancellor's comments came yesterday as he convened Vanderbilt's third annual Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats, which continues on-campus today.

This year's Summit content is weighted toward discussion of the People's Republic of China, which numerous observers have labeled this nation's greatest politico-economic-military rival.

Thus far, the structure of the Summit and the speakers' savvy and calibrated candor have produced sessions that are not only meaty, but which also seem rich in "signals" for domestic influentials, international allies and global rivals who might be paying attention.

A sample of Day One topics includes AI, cybersecurity, crypto and digital bank currencies, semiconductors, fintech, biotech, military and intelligence operations, next-gen power sources, mineral supply chain, batteries and other storage, workforce, training, resilience, high-performance computing, quantum, and much more. Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel to varying degrees remained on the radar, but the primary focus was on China.

Christopher Wray

The event resumed earlier this morning with a session focused on China's deadly role in Fentanyl production and global distribution. At midday, panelists will weigh "a full spectrum national strategy" with respect to China.

All sessions are live-streamed here and will later be archived for access.

The Summit is to end this afternoon following an address by Christopher Wray, the eighth director of the nation's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Speakers are listed here.

Diermeier explained yesterday that the new institute will focus on accelerating ground-breaking innovation through multi-front collaborations, guided by mandates to:

Innovate, by enabling collaborating scholars and partners in the national security community to design solutions that address pressing problems, with initial priorities on issues and opportunities related to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and human performance.

Educate, with priority on preparing "service-minded students" and executives to become interdisciplinary leaders, while ensuring they have the information, training and tools they need to create needed outcomes.

Convene, through events such as the annual Summit, a parallel VU lecture series, and other opportunities to help defense and security practitioners and operators explore shared interests in vital issues.

Diermeier also stressed the institute's advisory role, emphasizing that the institute is "not just an academic exercise," and that all who engage -- faculty, executives eyeing front-line needs, defense and security professionals -- must remember that "it matters that we speak openly."

In various ways, Diermeier and other speakers also emphasized that success in addressing problems and opportunities must happen at a pace that is best achieved through versatile collaborations that bring results before threats can become kinetic realities.

Playing pivotal roles in support of the new institute are faculty, students and staff of the VU School of Engineering, the College of Arts & Science and VU's Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

Previous research and development work on the VU campus has, for example, included the Advanced Dynamic Spectrum Reconnaissance (ADSR) program, at the heart of which is an AI-enabled system that allows ground-forces' wireless communications networks to sense and avoid enemy jamming and reduce radio frequency emissions that could allow an enemy to target U.S. and allied forces.

In another example that VNC previously reported, VU-based engineers and entrepreneurs have contributed to work that has led to commercialization of new tools for soldiers deployed in the field.

The Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats continues today, and it is live-streamed here (scroll down to today's video).

VNC's previous Summit reporting here. VNC Diermeier reporting here. VNC

.last edited 16 May 2024

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Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, engineering, healthcare, Paul Nakasone, Summit on Modern Conflicts and Emerging Threats, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, VU School of Nursing

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