Summary:

National Security Lecture Series at DMGS

The Daniel Morgan Graduate School Lecture Series is specifically designed to bring together speakers with divergent opinions on national security with the goal of enabling the public to engage in robust and informed discussions. It has hosted some of the most distinguished and influential leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of the national security community. These members of the national security community have provided our students, faculty, and guests with first-rate analysis of some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Daniel Morgan Graduate School will continue to host speakers who can help prepare the next generation of leaders, scholars and, practitioners to develop actionable solutions to global and domestic security challenges.

Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS) was pleased to host a special panel on the changing energy geopolitics of Russia and the Middle East as part of our ongoing National Security Lecture Series. Panel members included Tom Cosentino, Brigadier General, US Army (Retired); Paul Michael Wihbey, partner at AN-AM Strategic Advisory and Adjunct Professor at the University of Port Harcourt; Rula Manasra, former Director of Regional Security and Government Affairs for the Middle East for Conoco Phillips; and Adam Seitz, Senior Researcher and Instructor on the Middle East from Marine Corp University.

Brigadier General Tom Cosentino gave insight into the economic impact of the Saudi-Aramco IPO and its implications for the U.S. investment community. He explained, “I don’t see a flood of American business investments into Saudi Arabia if they don’t embrace a culture of dynamic change.” Predicting that the Saudi ARAMCO IPO, which would be the world’s largest IPO, will not end up on the New York Stock Exchange, Consentino argued that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman must invest in a culture change if he wants foreign nations to contribute to the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy by investing heavily in its future.

Rula Manasra offered an inside view of ARAMCO and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia outlining the complex history of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. In her view, Saudi Arabia is at a historical moment as significant as the legendary meeting between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi king, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, the first time a U.S. president met a Saudi King. While Manasra acknowledged that there are always challenges in reforms, she concluded that the people of Saudi Arabia are eager and ready to support Mohammed Bin Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030. The Saudi ARAMCO IPO, she explained, will be essential for Saudi plans to go forward.

Adam C. Seitz brought his unique insight into regional security issues explaining how regional actors such as Yemen pose a threat to Saudi Arabia’s goals. Seitz postulated that Yemen’s strategy of “blackmailing their neighbors” is being exploited by Iran and could affect Saudi Arabia’s efforts to gain foreign investors.

 

Paul Michael Wihbey raised serious questions about Saudi Arabia Nation Vision 2030 and the viability of the Saudi Aramco IPO. He contended that President Trump’s recent tweet (featured above) represents the “penultimate expression of energy geopolitics.” Wihbey explained that the Saudi Aramco evaluation of $2 trillion depends upon oil maintaining “artificially high prices for non-market reasons,” which he views as unsustainable. Wihbey recommended that the Saudi ARAMCO IPO “open up to 20-25%, not 5%” in order to gain the full $100 billion required to fund Saudi Arabia Nation Vision 2030.

Preston McLaughlin, Colonel, USMC (Retired) and Professor of Military Strategy at DMGS moderated the panel discussion and presented various audience questions to the panel. Afterwards, DMGS students, faculty, and staff as well as visitors to our campus had the opportunity to network with the speakers. DMGS continues to host excellent panel discussions and lectures featuring national security leaders because of our continued commitment to excellence as we strive to secure our nation’s future by giving the nation’s next generation of national security leaders the knowledge that they will need to serve their country and protect their future.

Ronald A. Marks, M.A.

Speaker

Paul Michael Wihbey is a Research Fellow, Geopolitics of Energy & Natural Resources at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security. He was born in the US and raised and educated in Montreal. He has honorably served both nations in various capacities,  from leading a Canadian Parliamentary delegation to Lebanon, to energy related war-gaming lectures at the United States Marine Corps University, Command and Staff College, Quantico Virginia.

Ronald A. Marks, M.A.

Moderator

Colonel Preston McLaughlin was appointed an Associate Professor of National Security to the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in August 2017. He also currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Aquilae Consulting Services, LLC.  He previously served as the Deputy Program Manager for Operations and Support in the System High Corporation Support Team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Security & Intelligence Directorate from 2012-2016.