Event Profile

Panel: The First Line of Defense

October 29, 2019


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Free Event

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In its FY 2020 “State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations” report, the U.S. Senate called diplomacy and development “America’s first line of defense abroad.” This AFSA panel will highlight ways that U.S. diplomats protect American interests and security by keeping myriad threats – transnational crime, pests, pandemics, terrorism, and instability – from reaching the homeland. 

We will hear from retired U.S. Ambassadors about post-9/11 negotiations to obtain Passenger Name Records from European countries, and about regional security cooperation and longstanding alliances necessary for confronting aggression and security threats around the world. A Diplomatic Security agent will recount how DS assistance helped dismantle an international child pornography ring. The USDA-APHIS representative will discuss joint programs in South and Central America that keep livestock herds – critical to the U.S. food supply and the economy of several American states – pest-free. This event is closed to the press.


  • Jeffery Austin, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • Kala Bokelman, U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Supervisory Special Agent
  • Ambassador (ret.) Greg Delawie
  • Ambassador (ret.) John Heffern, Georgetown University
  • Ambassador (ret.) Deborah Jones
  • Ambassador (ret.) Charles Ries, RAND Corporation  

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