Please note: this event will be held in person for CUID cardholders and virtually for non-cardholders. A Zoom link will be sent out prior to the event.


Stephen Biddle, Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, on US Foreign Policy/Military Strategy

Jason Dempsey, Senior Advisor, The Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, Columbia University, on Military Insider Perspective 

Dipali Mukhopadhyay, Associate Professor, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, on Civil Society 

Mitch Silber, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, on the War against al-Qaeda 20 years later

Stuart Gottlieb, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, Columbia University, Moderator



Stephen Biddle is Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served on the Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board, on General David Petraeus’ Joint Strategic Assessment Team in Baghdad in 2007, as a Senior Advisor to the Central Command Assessment Team in Washington in 2008-9, as a member of General Stanley McChrystal’s Initial Strategic Assessment Team in Kabul in 2009, and on a variety of other government advisory panels and analytical teams. Biddle lectures regularly at the U.S. Army War College and other military schools, and has presented testimony before congressional committees on issues relating to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria; force planning; conventional net assessment; and European arms control.

Biddle’s book Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle (Princeton University Press, 2004) won four prizes, including the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Award Silver Medal for 2005, and the 2005 Huntington Prize from the Harvard University Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. His other publications include articles in Foreign AffairsInternational SecuritySurvivalThe Journal of PoliticsSecurity StudiesThe Journal of Strategic StudiesThe Journal of Conflict ResolutionInternational Studies QuarterlyThe New Republic, The American Interest, The National InterestOrbisThe Washington QuarterlyContemporary Security Policy, Defense Analysis, Joint Force Quarterly, and Military Operations Research; shorter pieces on military topics in The New York Times, The Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, and other news outlets; various chapters in edited volumes; and 31 NATO and U.S. government sponsored reports and monographs.

He has held the Elihu Root chair in military studies at the U.S. Army War College, the Roger Hertog Senior Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, and other teaching and research positions at George Washington University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), and Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA). Biddle co-directs the Columbia University Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy (SWAMOS), and his research has won Barchi, Rist, and Impact Prizes from the Military Operations Research Society. He was awarded the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Medal in 2003 and again in 2006, and was presented with the US Army Commander’s Award for Public Service in Baghdad in 2007. He holds AB (1981), MPP (1985), and Ph.D. (Public Policy, 1992) degrees, all from Harvard University.

Jason Dempsey is one of the nation’s leading experts on military demographics and civilian-military relations. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned his doctorate in political science from Columbia University. As a young infantry officer he served in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and deployed to Kuwait as a company commander with the 3rdInfantry Division, in addition to graduating with honors from the Amphibious Warfare School of the United States Marine Corps. His later operational assignments included a short tour in Iraq with Multinational Force – Iraq and deployments to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne Divisions.

In July of 2001 he arrived at Columbia University to begin his studies before beginning a teaching assignment at West Point, where he taught courses in American politics, and American civil-military relations while conducting the research that would lead to his book, Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations.

Between tours to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2012, Jason spent two years in the White House, where he initially served as the First Lady’s White House Fellow and was put on point to take the broad concept of military family support and turn it into Joining Forces, the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to support our service members and their families.   

Following that he coordinated the efforts of 17 government agencies working to improve the lives of military families under Presidential Study Directive 9: Strengthening Our Military Families. Jason also created and led an interagency data group to increase information sharing and analysis among government agencies seeking to improve transition services and increase post-service employment opportunities for America’s veterans.

He wrapped up his military career as special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he conceived and drafted the Call to Continued Service, a statement signed by all of the Joint Chiefs imploring service members to continued service to the nation as veterans.

Dipali Mukhopadhyay is an associate professor in the global policy area at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, as well as a Senior Expert on the Afghanistan Peace Process at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC.  Mukhopadhyay is the author of Warlords, Strongman Governors and State Building in Afghanistan (Cambridge, 2014). She was an Assistant and Associate Professor of International Affairs at SIPA from 2012-2020. Prior to joining SIPA and Saltzman, Mukhopadhyay spent 2011 as a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University. She has been conducting research in Afghanistan since 2007 and made her first trip to the country for a project with the Aga Khan Development Network in 2004. She also conducted research along the Turkey-Syria border in 2013 and 2014. Mukhopadhyay’s research has been funded by the Carnegie Corporation, the Eisenhower Institute, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Harvard Law School, and the U.S. Department of Education. Her writings have been published in academic books and journals as well as by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Foreign PolicyU.S. News & World Report, and The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog. She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Mukhopadhyay received her doctorate from Tufts University’s Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy in 2010.

Mitch Silber is a founding principal at the Guardian Group, an intelligence and security-consulting firm. Silber is a professional global political risk and intelligence analyst and has more than 20 years of experience creating, building and leading analytic teams and organizations dedicated to providing high-end finished intelligence, bespoke consulting and advisory work for a wide range of corporate, financial and governmental clients. He is a regular commentator on political risk and terrorism related issues for both print and broadcast news outlets.

Prior to his work at Guardian Group,  Silber served as Director of Intelligence Analysis at the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) where he was the principal counter terrorism advisor to the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and was responsible for building out and managing the Analytic and Cyber Units. Silber supervised the research, collection and analysis for the Intelligence Division’s entire portfolio of ongoing terrorism related investigations and was responsible for strategic assessments of emerging and future threats to the City of New York. He also was involved in internal planning, development and new unit creation for the department and initiated and managed relations with foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Silber has presented on behalf of the NYPD to the White House, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counter Terrorism Center, and has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He also co-authored the 2007 NYPD report “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” and is the author of The Al Qaeda Factor: Plots Against the West, published in 2012 by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Silber is a visiting lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (“SIPA”) where he teaches a course on Modern Urban Terrorism. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at SIPA and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Silber received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania before spending nine years in corporate finance as a partner at The Carson Group and later as a principal at Evolution Capital, LLC, a boutique investment bank. Following his work in corporate finance, Mr. Silber earned his M.A. in International Relations from Columbia University.

Stuart Gottlieb has been teaching American foreign policy, counterterrorism, and international security for more than 15 years at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where he is also a member of the Saltzman Institute of War & Peace Studies. In addition, he serves as faculty director for SIPA’s summer certificate program in international relations. His courses have won multiple teaching awards.

Prior to joining SIPA in 2003, Gottlieb worked for five years in the United States Senate, first as senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, and subsequently as policy adviser and chief speechwriter for Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. He has also worked on several political campaigns, including Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000, and New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s reelection campaign in 1997 and presidential campaign in 2008.

Gottlieb is a former founding partner of Prides Crossing Executive Communication, a speechwriting and communications consulting firm based in New York, whose client list includes many well-known public officials and Fortune 500 companies. He continues to consult independently with political and business leaders, and regularly publishes op-eds and other policy-related articles. A second edition of his book Debating Terrorism & Counterterrorism: Conflicting Perspectives on Causes, Contexts, and Responses was published in 2014 (CQ Press), and he is currently working on a book titled Experimental Power: The Rise and Role of America in World Affairs (Yale University Press).

Gottlieb holds a B.A. with honors in political science and journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia University.