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News | March 16, 2017

Judge Advocates Compete at WMD Winter Workshop and Teach WMD and the Law

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

WMD Winter Workshop

Lt. Cmdr. Graham Winegeart, Region Legal Service Office Southeast and Lt. Ryan Sylvester, Fleet Cyber Command, recently attended the annual National Defense University (NDU) Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction winter workshop in their capacity as members of the Program for Emerging Leaders (PEL). Also participating in the workshop were members of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Graduate Fellowship Program. Both of these programs are sponsored by NDU. The workshop this year took a new competition-based approach to examining WMD issues unlike prior workshops which featured primarily lectures and panel discussions. Attendees were divided into teams and were challenged to develop innovative solutions or strategies for key stakeholders in the U.S. government to one of three WMD challenges including: 1. Do it Yourself (DIY) WMD (examining issues such as DIY biology, additive manufacturing, and unmanned systems), 2. Arsenal Next (examining the future of strategic nuclear weapons posture), and 3. Defending Critical Infrastructure from Cyber-attacks. Both Winegeart and Sylvester were on teams examining critical infrastructure’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks.  Winegeart’s team proposal focused on hardening airline transportation system defenses, while Sylvester’s team proposal aimed at incentivizing cyber security investment.  Winegeart’s team advanced to the final round, competing against representative teams from the other two categories.

WMD and the Law

Earlier in February 2017, Sylvester taught the “WMD and the Law” colloquium for CWMD graduate fellows. The colloquium is one part of the curriculum for fellows working toward a Master of Science degree in WMD studies at NDU.  Sylvester’s presentation covered specific legal authorities related to DoD response to WMD incidents domestically (i.e., Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA)), authority to use force internationally (e.g., self-defense in the WMD threat context), and WMD related treaties.

About PEL

PEL is designed to develop cohorts of U.S. government employees (GS-11 - GS-13, or equivalent) from across the inter-agency and commissioned officers (O-3 or O-4) from the uniformed services to study WMD over a three-year period. About 30 individuals annually are competitively selected from the pool of applicants to form a new cohort. PEL starts with an initial week-long summer immersion of lectures and site visits related to WMD for the most recently selected cohort. Following the immersion the program consists of an annual two-day winter workshop as well as other events and site visits throughout the three-year period of membership. For judge advocates interested in participating in PEL, the application period generally closes in December each year. Members may be able to participate in more of the programs if they are located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, but it is not required.  The program does have some funding to support travel to PEL events.  More information about the program and how to apply can be found here.
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