The COVID-19 global pandemic posed new strategic challenges within the political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, information (PMESII), and intelligence domains of nation-states. To analyze the implications of the pandemic’s impact on these domains and to explore their implications on national security the Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies (ILSS), the College of Arts and Letters, and the UNG Press are pleased to announce a symposium on the topic for the purpose of contributing to the scholarly discussion of this complex and strategically challenging issue.

Executive Director of the Strategic Studies Program & Partnerships for the College of Arts and Letters, and Associate Professor of Strategic & Security Studies, Dr. Edward Mienie, is part of the symposium steering committee. The event will take place on April 7-8, 2021. The event typically draws between 100-150 participants.

Every year UNG hosts the symposium on the Dahlonega campus. This year, they will decide around December as to the nature of the delivery – face-to-face with limited seating (at the Convocation Center), completely online or a hybrid situation. The event will be dependent on travel restrictions for international participants.

Dr. Mienie and the rest of the steering committee decide upon the theme each year. In this case, it will be surrounding the topics of COVID-19 and the impact on national security. The event is strategic and security focused.

The committee then fleshes out the subthemes and identifies potential keynote speakers, domestically and internationally, who are experts on the yearly topic. The committee also invites international cadets at other universities and academies to participate. The committee then decides on breakout panels and identifies panel facilitators.

The committee also invites people to submit research papers to be presented at the symposium. Dr. Mienie is part of the press team that reviews abstracts to identify which abstracts are best suited for the symposium. He has served as co-editor and also serves as peer reviewer with UNG Press producing a peer-reviewed symposium monograph series covering the symposium.

The steering committee also reaches out to potential sponsors to help fund the symposium, which includes travel and lodging arrangements for out-of-town participants. Dr. Mienie has been instrumental in getting the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to agree to co-sponsor the symposium – this will be the third year that they will participate. The U.S. Army Academy at West Point will participate, too. He has also reached out to the CDC to determine if they are willing to participate.

Past keynote speakers include:

  • Laura Dickinson, Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School & Author
  • Major General Stephen G. Fogarty, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Cyber Command
  • Amy Holman, Director, Office of Multilateral Trade Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Sean McFate, Professor of Strategy, National Defense University and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service & Author
  • Paul Scharre, Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security
  • Bill Smullen, Director of National Security Studies at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

The ILLS website is updated weekly as speakers confirm their availability.

We are encouraging our PSIA students and alumni to become involved in this event either as presenters or participants.

To submit an abstract for papers on topics related to the theme, please reach out to by January 18, 2021. Click here for the guidelines and to see information about the writing contest as well.

Information regarding registration for the event will be available shortly. Please check here for more details.