APL Colloquium

November 5, 2001

Colloquium Topic: Upcoming Upheavals: Understanding Today’s Threat

Change always surprises us, even as it has been with us all along: waiting in the wings for the moment to call it forth. Change is not in the future, only the drama of its announcement. If change is with us now, why can't we see it? And what can we do to see it …that is, if we really want to? "Upcoming upheavals" are happening now.

Colloquium Speaker: Michael Vlahos

Dr. Michael Vlahos received his A.B. from Yale College in 1973 and his Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1981. During 1981-88, he was the Director, Security Studies Program, SAIS/JHU where he developed and taught eight new courses, all designed to break away from narrow approaches to defense policy. Some of his courses integrated Anthropology and Sociology into defense thinking. Concurrently, he served as foreign affairs and national security commentator with CNN; served as a full time commentator for the Reykjavik summit and regularly appeared on Good Morning America and Canada AM as national security commentator. During 1988-94, Dr. Vlahos was at CNA helping expand the Navy's world view. One of his long range planning exercises concluded that the most serious future challenges to the U.S. would come not from old regimes but from revolutions in technology and thought. As Director, Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs, Department of State, he led a selected group to think broadly about world change and organized innumerable conferences, diplomatic exercises and simulation. In 1994, he joined Progress and Freedom Foundation to imagine the big What Next? in American Politics. Dr. Vlahos forecast the political upheaval of the Nov. '94 election in a 21 Sept: National Review cover story. He also brought together people from all major telecom-computer-news media enterprises to think about how the information revolution might change American politics. In 1995, he chaired a pioneering public policy conference in Aspen on Cyberspace and the American Dream that brought leaders in industry, politics and ideas together to develop a common language of change. In 1996, Dr. Vlahos led a project sponsored by Asian Forum Japan on the impact of the information revolution on global society and the international system, a subject on which he has organized conferences in Japan, China, Germany and the U.S. Recently he developed the Infosphere Seminar Project to help APL explore various dimensions of the emerging world network. Dr. Vlahos has also helped create an on going collaboration with the Joint Experimentation Division of the Joint Forces Command to evaluate some specific Network military impacts. Dr. Vlahos has published innumerable articles (Foreign Affairs, National Review, the Times Literary Supplement, etc.) and several books. Currently, he is on APL staff, serves as a consultant to the General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Japan and is the Director of the Infosphere Project at the New America Foundation.