Norwich to hold 23rd Annual Military Writers’ Symposium


March 8, 2018

Norwich University will hold the 23rd Annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium April 11-12, 2018, on the theme of “Won the War, Lost the Peace: The U.S. Legacy in Iraq.”

The Colby is a two-day event hosted at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. The only program of its kind at an American university, this unique and powerful program invites distinguished authors and experts in the fields of military history, intelligence, or current affairs to campus for social events, book signings, presentations, classroom sessions, and a moderated panel discussion on the theme for the year.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public and will be video streamed live from, is scheduled for Thursday, April 12, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Plumley Armory.

Guest panelists include:

Saifaldin D. Abdul-Rahman

Saifaldin Abdul-Rahman is Vice President of IWG, a U.S. firm providing consulting, logistics and construction work in Iraq. He heads the consulting and business development portfolio within IWG, where he guides U.S. and international fortune 500 companies through contract awards and negotiations with the Government of Iraq. Abdul-Rahman held senior posts in the Government of Iraq, including the posts of Advisor to the Vice President of Iraq (2009), Chief of Staff to the Speaker of Parliament (2005) and Chief of Staff to the Minister of Industry & Minerals (2004).

Andrew Bacevich

Andrew J. Bacevich grew up in Indiana, graduated from West Point and Princeton, served in the army, became an academic, and is now a writer. He is the author, co-author, or editor of a dozen books, among them “American Empire”, “The New American Militarism,” “The Limits of Power,” “Washington Rules,” “Breach of Trust,” and, most recently, “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.”

R. Alan King

R. Alan King is a retired U.S. Army colonel and former senior civil-military adviser of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. He was the top civil-military adviser in Baghdad when the Iraqi regime fell in 2003. He is credited with leading the coalition’s tribal affairs and Sunni outreach programs and served as a senior member of the April 2004 ceasefire talks in Fallujah. King is the author of “Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds,” winner of the 2008 Colby Award.

Emma Sky

Emma Sky is Director of Yale World Fellows and a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute, where she teaches Middle East politics. She is the author of “The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq,” which was one of the New York Times 100 notable books of 2015, and shortlisted for the 2016 Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize, the 2016 Orwell Prize and the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction. She is widely published in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, the Atlantic, Survival, US Institute of Peace, Army Magazine.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Sarwar Kashmeri, Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Applied Research Fellow, Peace & War Center, Norwich University; and a Fellow with the Foreign Policy Association.

Other special features of this year’s Colby include:

  • Lunch and Learn on “IEDs as Force Multipliers in Iraq,” hosted by the Sullivan Museum and History Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, and Norwich’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Event features retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Peter “Duke” DeLuca, former Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School and David Ulbrich, program director and associate professor in the Master of Arts in History and Military History programs.
  • Presentations by visiting authors and speakers in the Todd Multipurpose Room of the Kreitzberg Library. Full schedule on
  • Announcing the winner of the Annual Colby Award for a first-time author on the topic of military history, current affairs, or intelligence will be announced.
  • A book signing featuring Emma Sky, Andrew Bacevich, R. Alan King, Carlo D’Este, Sarwar Kashmeri, and David Ulbrich on Thursday afternoon from 3-4:30 p.m.

Please visit to read the full bios of authors and presenters.

Founded in 1996 by Carlo D´Este ’58 and W.E.B. Griffin, the Colby Symposium has brought more than 100 authors, journalists, and filmmakers to central Vermont.   The Colby Symposium is a Norwich University Peace and War Center signature event, and is generously supported by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago, Ill. with funding through the Pritzker Military Foundation. View multimedia coverage of the 2017 event and interviews with visiting authors.

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here:    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886

Ideas @ Work: #7 Climate Change and National Security

Photo: Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan speaks at Norwich Todd Lecture Series
33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.
The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Nearly a decade ago, the Military Advisory Board of the CNA Corporation, a government-funded nonprofit military research organization, identified climate change as a threat-multiplier in fragile areas of the globe. Two years ago, the panel of 16 retired American generals and admirals—NU’s own General Gordon R. Sullivan ’59 among them—issued a second report. In it, they concluded that the risks to national security from climate change were accelerating. Last year, General Sullivan gave a Todd Lecture on the topic. Citing the example of Syria, he noted how five years of drought in the country decimated farmers’ crops, forcing millions to migrate to urban areas. There, they quickly became disenfranchised by the government. “The result is civil war in Syria,” Sullivan said. The one-time U.S. Army Chief of Staff challenged Norwich students and faculty to lead the way in our nation’s response to the global challenge.

More Ideas@Work:

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Climate Change Increasing Security Threat, Former Army Chief Says

In a Todd Lecture Series speech at Norwich, GEN Gordon R. Sullivan said global warming is spurring a spate of growing risks to US interests
Office of Communications

February 6, 2015

Former US Army Chief of Staff Gordon R. Sullivan NU ’59 said climate change is spurring more instability around the world and that the security risks from global warming are advancing faster than expected.

“We are not prepared for the pace of climate change,” Sullivan said, noting that it will impact US military readiness and national power, particularly domestic infrastructure.

Already the US has been caught flat-footed by the speed of melting sea ice in the Arctic. Russia, Canada and Denmark are posturing for control of oil reserves beneath the North Pole. But the US lacks sufficient ice-hardened ships and communications and navigation gear to respond to crises there, Sullivan said.

Elsewhere, shifting weather patterns will stress the world’s ability to meet regional demand for food and fresh water, leading to further political unrest and potential mass transnational migrations. Sullivan said this is particularly true in Africa and Asia, where the human population is exploding.

Climate change will place more demand on the US military to respond to national and international crises, challenge readiness and send troops into harsher operating environments, Sullivan said.

The retired four-star general made the remarks yesterday during a speech focused on climate change and national security at his alma mater, kicking off the first Todd Lecture Series event of 2015.

Established in 2008, the free public lecture series aims to bring thought-provoking speakers to inform and inspire the Norwich campus and central Vermont communities.

Sullivan served as the 32nd Army Chief of Staff under Presidents Bush and Clinton, where he helped reengineer and downsize the US Army in the wake of the Cold War, leading it into the Information Age while facing a 40 percent budget cut.

Since 2006, Sullivan has served on the Military Advisory Board of the CNA Corp., a government-funded nonprofit military research organization.

In 2007, the panel of 16 retired generals and admirals identified climate change as a “threat multiplier,” particularly in fragile areas of the globe.

The board issued a second report last year, concluding that climate change poses an accelerating risk to national security.

For example, it linked the devastating drought of 2010 in the US, Russia and China to a steep decline in world wheat production that sparked a series of cascading effects. Bread prices spiked in Tunisia, Egypt and other wheat-importing countries in Northern Africa. The shortages and massive price increases led to food riots and unrest that precipitated the Arab Spring revolutions.

“While there were deep underlying causes for overthrow of several of the governments, the catalyst that set this off can be directly linked to weather and climate change,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s speech outlined the effects climate change is having on four major areas related to US national security: global instability, melting Arctic sea ice, US military readiness and US power.

Sullivan gave a synopsis of recent climate change trends and how they might destabilize regimes or regions in the future.

He noted that in January, both NASA and NOAA reported that 2014 was the warmest year on record since 1880, that the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, and that eight of the ten costliest US storms have occurred in the past decade.

“Globally, we have seen recent prolonged drought act as a factor driving both spikes in food prices and mass displacement of populations, each contributing to instability and eventual conflict,” he said.

“For example, five years of drought in Syria decimated farmers’ crops and forced millions to migrate to urban areas. These drought refugees found little in the way of jobs and were quickly disenfranchised with the government,” Sullivan said.

“The result is civil war in Syria.”

Sullivan said additional impacts can be seen in unprecedented wildfires and the effect of rising sea levels on low-lying island nations, some of which are planning whole-sale evacuation.

“Over the coming decades, I think those areas already stressed by water and food shortage and poor governance—these span the globe—will present the greatest near term threat for conflict,” he said.

“In the longer term, many of these areas will be threatened by rising sea level.”

Sullivan, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Norwich, closed his presentation by challenging Norwich students to lead the nation in tackling the complex problems associated with climate change.