2017 Speakers

Cyber Security & Cyber Warfare

john-mcconnell-dni

Vice Admiral (Ret.) John M. “Mike” McConnell

President George W. Bush named Vice Adm. McConnell to become the second Director of National Intelligence in 2007. In that role, he managed the 17-agency, 100,000-person national Intelligence Community, working closely with the White House, Cabinet, Congress, international leaders, and the business community. From 1992 to 1996, McConnell served as Director of the National Security Agency (NSA). He led NSA as it adapted to the multi-polar threats brought about by the end of the Cold War. Under his leadership, NSA provided global intelligence and information security services to the White House, Cabinet officials, the United States Congress, and a broad array of military and civilian intelligence agencies. He also served as a member of the Director of Central Intelligence senior leadership team. In 1996, McConnell retired from the Navy as a vice admiral after 29 years of service – 26 as a career Intelligence Officer. He holds the nation’s highest award for service in the Intelligence Community. Adm. McConnell also served as the Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. He is currently Vice Chairman at Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Sarah Davidson Evanega

Sarah Davidson Evanega, a plant scientist and Cornell University professor who is a leading supporter of genetic engineering as a key tool to promote global food security and protect habitats, spoke on “GMOs: Fostering a Climate for Change.”

As Director for the Cornell Alliance for Science, Evanega oversees a global communications effort that promotes evidence-based decision-making in agriculture. She is also part of an interdisciplinary team that recently started up an online course on the science and politics of GMOs at Cornell University.

Polls show that many Americans are concerned about the presence of GMO’s in the food supply. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that 37 percent of American adults considered genetically modified foods to be unsafe while 88 percent of AAAS scientists had the opposite view.

Evanega points out that as global climate change continues to threaten agricultural systems, particularly in developing countries, crops that are genetically engineered to withstand harsh weather conditions or damage from insects are going to be critical to raising farm productivity and minimizing the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment, as well as addressing global food insecurity as the world’s population continues to expand.

 

 

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