Reimagining nuclear deterrence

U.S., Russian, and Chinese flags on desktop swinging balls

Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy

Reimagining nuclear deterrence

Friday, February 16, 2024
8:30AM - 12:30PM (EST)
Event Details

The 2024 Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy assesses U.S. deterrence posture in the aftermath of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and in the face of profound technological change.

The Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy is an annual Miller Center event that draws attention to topics of importance to American diplomacy and national security.

This event is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Battle family and the George & Judy Marcus Democracy Praxis Fund.

Audience members are encouraged to participate in these open, seminar-style discussions.

8:30–9:45 a.m. (EST)

Navigating the three body problem

The United States now faces an unprecedented situation. It must simultaneously deter both China and Russia as peer nuclear powers with novel attributes. The modern nuclear era is fundamentally different from the historical setting, and without urgent adjustments, the U.S. may be ill- prepared to address contemporary challenges. How should the U.S. manage its strategic posture to prevent future global conflict?

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Rebeccah Heinrichs, Frank Miller, Mara Rudman, Philip Potter (moderator)

10:00–11:15 a.m. (EST)

Assessing integrated deterrence

The Department of Defense has sought to foster "integrated deterrence" to address a complicated and multifaceted strategic environment. Has the U.S. successfully implemented the integrated, whole-of-government strategy they set out to achieve? Is integration the answer at all?

Keith Payne, Melanie Sisson, Becca Wasser, Admiral Charles Richard (moderator)

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (EST)

Eyes wide open: A threat-based view of the world

General John Hyten delivers a keynote address on the current, unprecedented threat environment faced by the U.S. and its allies, describing how we can manage adversaries with whom we also share global partnerships and discussing national security and strategic deterrence implications.

General John Hyten, Phil Potter (introduction)

Friday, February 16, 2024
8:30AM - 12:30PM (EST)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty is CEO of Wolverine Global, Inc. She served as the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and under secretary for nuclear security at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from 2018 to 2020, the first woman to hold this leadership position. Among her other government service roles, she served as the director of Combating Terrorism, National Security Council staff, as director of the DOE’s office of emergency response, and as acting director of the Office of Nuclear Weapons Surety. She began her professional career as a health physicist at NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Gordon-Hagerty holds a BS and an MPH in health physics from the University of Michigan.

Rebeccah Heinrichs headshot

Rebeccah Heinrichs

Rebeccah Heinrichs is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and the director of its Keystone Defense Initiative. She specializes in U.S. national defense policy with a focus on strategic deterrence. Heinrichs currently serves as a commissioner on the bipartisan Strategic Posture Commission, which was created in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. She also serves on the U.S. Strategic Command Advisory Group and the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness. She is an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics where she teaches nuclear deterrence theory and is also a contributing editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy. Heinrichs earned her MA in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College and her BA in history and political science from Ashland University in Ohio, where she now serves as a member of the University's board of trustees.

John Hyten headshot

John Hyten

Retired General John Hyten served as the 11th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retiring in November 2021 after a distinguished 40-year career in the United States Air Force. Hyten previously led Air Force Space Command from 2014 to 2016 and U.S. Strategic Command from 2016 to 2019. He is currently a senior principal at Pallas Advisors, a board member of the Space Foundation, an advisory board member of C3 AI, an enterprise AI software company, and a senior advisor to senior leadership at Blue Origin. He serves on the Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, mandated by the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which addresses U.S. nuclear policy and strategic posture. He attended Harvard University on an Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied sciences. He also holds an MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery and is a distinguished graduate from Squadron Officer School as well as Air Command and Staff College.

Frank Miller headshot

Frank Miller

Frank Miller is a principal at The Scowcroft Group in Washington, D.C. He previously served in the White House as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and as senior director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council staff. His White House assignment capped a 31-year government service career, including roles at the Department of State and service under seven secretaries in the Department of Defense, where he was instrumental in shaping national deterrence and nuclear targeting policy, the START 1 and START 2 treaties, and new relationships with the British Ministry of Defense. Miller holds numerous public service awards and prestigious foreign honors, including an honorary knighthood awarded by Queen Elizabeth II. He is a member of the U.S. Strategic Command Advisory Group and the Council on Foreign Relations and is a life director of the Atlantic Council of the United States. He holds a BA from Williams College and an MPA from Princeton University.

Keith Payne headshot

Keith Payne

Keith Payne is a co-founder of the National Institute for Public Policy, a nonprofit research center located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is also professor emeritus in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Missouri State University and served on the faculty of Georgetown University's graduate National Security Studies Program for many years. Payne served in Democratic and Republican administrations as a member of the secretary of state’s International Security Advisory Board and chair of U.S. Strategic Command’s senior advisory group. He was also the deputy assistant secretary of defense for forces policy in the Department of Defense and a senior advisor to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). He was a commissioner on the bipartisan Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States and co-authored the Commission’s final report. His latest book is Chasing a Grand Illusion:  Replacing Deterrence with Disarmament (2023). Payne received an AB from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD from the University of Southern California.

Mara Rudman headshot

Mara Rudman

Mara Rudman is a James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center, where she directs the Ripples of Hope Project, aimed at identifying practical approaches to help democratic leaders resolve key challenges. She also serves on the 2022 National Defense Strategy Commission and the Howard University College of Arts and Sciences board of visitors. Rudman is a senior counselor at American Progress, where she most recently was executive vice president for policy, and she consults for Democracy Forward. Rudman’s government positions have included serving as deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs in the Obama and Clinton administrations; deputy envoy for the Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace at the U.S. Department of State; assistant administrator for the Middle East at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and chief counsel to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She received an AB from Dartmouth College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Melanie Sisson headshot

Melanie Sisson

Melanie Sisson is a fellow at the Brookings Institution in the foreign policy program’s Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology where she researches the use of the armed forces in international politics, U.S. national security strategy, and military applications of emerging technologies. Sisson’s current work focuses on U.S. Department of Defense integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities into warfighting and enterprise operations. She serves on the advisory council of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy for International Affairs based in Bonn, Germany, and is a consultant to STR, a national security AI firm based in Boston. Sisson earned a PhD in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a MIA from the Columbia University School of International Affairs. She is a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, lectures regularly with universities nationwide, and is published in national media outlets and academic journals.

Becca Wasser headshot

Becca Wasser

Becca Wasser is a senior fellow for the defense program and lead of The Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She researches defense strategy, force design, strategic and operational planning, force posture and employment, and wargaming and is also an adjunct instructor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where she teaches an undergraduate course on wargaming. Wasser was previously a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation and served as a liaison to U.S. Army HQDA G-3/5/7. Wasser holds a BA in international and global studies from Brandeis University and an MS in foreign service from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Phil Potter headshot

Philip B. K. Potter (moderator)

Philip B. K. Potter, a Miller Center faculty senior fellow, is a professor of politics and founding director of the National Security Policy Center in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He is also a university expert with the National Ground Intelligence Center, U.S. Army INSCOM. Potter has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Politics and the Journal of Global Security Studies and is an associate principal investigator for Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences (TESS). Potter has been a fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Charles Richard headshot

Charles Richard (moderator)

Retired USN Admiral Charles A. (Chas) Richard is a Miller Center James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor, having completed a distinguished career of more than 41 years in service to the nation. His final assignment was as commander of U.S. Strategic Command from November 2019 to December 2022, where he oversaw the global command and control of all the nation’s nuclear forces to achieve the national security objective of strategic deterrence. Richard also has a unique breadth and depth of operational and policy experience in undersea and strategic warfare. He holds a BSEE in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama, an MSE in engineering management from the Catholic University of America, and an MA in national security studies from the U.S. Naval War College.