Kennesaw State military symposium considers 21st century threats

World faces threats today that were once unthinkable Terrorism remains the number one threat to…

Georgia (Mar 29, 2012)World faces threats today that were once unthinkable

Terrorism remains the number one threat to world security according to civilian and military experts who spoke at a military symposium on February 23 hosted by Kennesaw State and the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

More than 150 people attended the second annual event which included keynote addresses by former German defense minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg and F. William Smullen III, Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2001-2003, and director of national security studies at Syracuse University.

While both men tried to reassure the audience that security threats can be effectively thwarted, each warned about the dangers of old andemerging security threats such as terrorism, pirates, famines, pandemics and climate change as potential risks for the 21st century

“Paint a picture of the global and national security landscapes and you quickly notice that the challenges we face today seem to be interconnected,” Smullen said. “We face threats today that can quickly become global concerns that were once unthinkable."

In addition, while threats from Al Queda may seem to have lessened, Guttenberg and Smullen said that we still need to be on guard.

“Al Queda has changed and we must too,” Smullen said. “Although Al Queda has devolved into more of a media organization, grave threats remain as is evidenced by the underwear bomber who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit, the unsuccessful Times Square bombing and, just last week, the attempted bombing of the U.S. Capitol.

            Other threats include:

  • Piracy, which threatens commercial shipping and in turn, has a chilling effect on commodity prices and contributes to regional insecurity. Zu Guttenberg noted that pirates attacked more than 439 ships and held 802 people hostage in 2011. In 2012, 37 ships have been attacked and 159 hostages taken. In 2010, a South Korean tanker fetched a $10 million ransom.
  • Hunger. There are more than 2 billion undernourished people in the world, Smullen said and government action is needed to sustain the world’s food supply.
  • Pandemics, natural or human caused
  • Climate Change




A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit