NSI 2020: Is Conflict with China Inevitable?

The National Security Institute was excited to host Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman for the next segment of our NSI 2020: China’s Rise series: Is Conflict with China Inevitable?

As tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to rise, geopolitical competition remains the focal point of U.S. foreign and defense policy. Thanks for joining us for a timely conversation with Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman, authors of 2034: A Novel About the Next World War, as they discussed with NSI Advisory Board member, Carmen Medina the political, economic, and military ramifications of the future conflict.



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Admiral James Stavridis is a retired four-star U.S. naval officer. He is currently an Operating Executive of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm, and Chair of the Board of Counselors of McLarty Associates, an international consulting firm. Previously he served for five years as the Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander with responsibility for Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, Syria, counter-piracy, and cybersecurity. He also served as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006-2009. He earned more than 50 medals, including 28 from foreign nations in his 37-year military career.


Elliot Ackerman is the author of the novels 2034, Red Dress In Black and White, Waiting for Eden, Dark at the Crossing, and Green on Blue, as well as the memoir Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and non-fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize among others. His writing often appears in Esquire, The New Yorker, and The New York Times where he is a contributing opinion writer, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Travel Writing. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.




Carmen Medina is a National Security Institute Advisory Board member and a retired Senior Federal Executive with 32 years experience in the Intelligence Community. She is a recognized national and international expert on intelligence analysis, strategic thinking, diversity of thought, and innovation and intrapreneurs in the public sector. Carmen was part of the executive team that led the CIA’s Analysis Directorate; in her last assignment before retiring she oversaw the CIA’s Lessons Learned program and led the Agency’s first efforts to address the challenges posed by social networks, digital ubiquity, and the emerging culture of collaboration.  Upon her retirement from the CIA, she received the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal.


About NSI 2020-1 – China’s Rise: Confronting China’s Challenge to the World Order:  This NSI project will focus on understanding China’s increasing ideological, economic, military, and strategic influence.  NSI 2020’s experts will seek to identify the diplomatic, economic, and military policies the United States government should pursue to effectively respond when U.S. interests and individual liberties are challenged by the Chinese Communist Party.  To learn more about China 2020, including papers, events, and other related commentary, click here.


For information about upcoming events or to watch past events, click here.