The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
On January 3rd 2020, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force, was killed by an American drone strike, dramatically intensifying U.S.-Iranian confrontation and sending shock-waves across the Middle East.
For the past two decades, Soleimani was the driving force for Iran's expeditionary military activities and relationships with proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Just as Soleimani changed the shape of the Syrian civil war and drove the creation of an Iran-backed network of Shiite militias across the Middle East, his death is now likely to have ripple effects throughout the region.
In this panel discussion, Intelligence Project fellows Norman Roule and Bernard Hudson will discuss the political, military, and intelligence implications and impact of Soleimani’s death. As former senior former intelligence officers who spent their careers working in the region and who continue to engage at senior leadership levels across the Gulf, Mr. Roule and Mr. Hudson will provide unique perspectives on the Middle East post-Soleimani. The discussion will be moderated by former CIA senior analyst and Intelligence Project fellow Kristin Wood.
Lunch will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Please RSVP below and bring your Harvard ID for check-in at the door.
Norman T. Roule served for 34-years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing significant programs relating to the Middle East. Mr. Roule’s service in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations included roles as Division Chief, Deputy Division Chief and Chief of Station. He has held multiple senior assignments in Washington as well as during more than 15 years of overseas work.
He served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from November 2008 until September 2017. As NIM-I, he was the principal Intelligence Community (IC) official responsible for overseeing national intelligence policy and activities related to Iran and Iran-related issues, to include IC engagement on these topics with senior policymakers in the National Security Council, the Department of State and Congress. Mr. Roule received multiple awards during his career.
Mr. Roule works as a business consultant on Middle East-related political, security, economic, telecommunications, and energy issues. He also serves as Senior Adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, United Against Nuclear Iran, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Arabia Foundation.
Bernard Hudson is a non-resident Fellow at the Belfer Center where he supports the Intelligence Project. Mr. Hudson is the President of Looking Glass Limited which specializes in drone technology, business applications and equity investing in the same.
Prior to joining the private sector Mr. Hudson served for 28 years as an operations officer in the Central Intelligence Agency. His final position was as Chief of Counterterrorism where he directed all aspects of CIA's global war on terrorism and is a recognized expert on international negotiation, strategic development, crisis management, risk assessment and the Middle East. He served multiple assignments abroad, including three in key leadership positions. During his career he received the National Intelligence Medal of Valor, the Director of CIA’s Award for Excellence, the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Intelligence Collector of the Year. Mr. Hudson is a US Army veteran.
Kristin Wood joined the Belfer Center as a non-resident fellow for the Intelligence Project in
August of 2019. During her 20-year CIA career, Ms. Wood served in the Director’s area and three Agency directorates—analysis, operations, and digital innovation—leading a wide variety of the Agency’s missions in positions of increasing authority.
Ms. Wood finished her career at CIA as the Deputy Director of the Innovation & Technology Group at the CIA's Open Source Center where sheled OSC’s open-source IT and innovation efforts to extract meaning from big data by guiding multi-disciplinary teams of analysts, data scientists, engineers, programmers and developers in creating tools, methodologies and infrastructure for the future.
Ms. Wood graduated from Occidental College with an A.B. in Political Science. She has two sons and a highly entertaining Wheaten Terrier.