Distinguished Speaker Series event features update on war in Ukraine
The CGSC Foundation and its Simons Center hosted the second lecture of the 2023 Distinguished Speaker Series at the Riverfront Community Center in downtown Leavenworth, Kansas on Oct. 3, 2023. In this installment of the series retired Col. Matt Dimmick, European Regional Program Manager for Spirit of America, and retired Lt. Col. Donald Wright, Ph.D, Deputy Director, Army University Press, provided a background and an update on the war in Ukraine.
The evening began with a reception, followed by Simons Center Deputy Director John Nelson making welcome remarks, recognizing sponsors, and inviting everyone to dinner. Toward the end of the dinner period Nelson introduced the speakers.
After introductions, Wright kicked off the evening with historical context on the factors that set the conditions for today’s conflict. Following Wright’s remarks, Dimmick discussed the current situation in some more detail about the tactical and operational status of Russian and Ukraine forces. During the Q&A period, Dimmick and Wright fielded numerous questions from the audience covering a wide breadth of issues surrounding the conflict.
By any measure, most experts agree the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had profound effects on the European security situation, U.S. national security interests, and broader economic and political impacts worldwide. During the question and answer period many in the audience asked questions about how long the conflict could last and what the Ukraine strategy might be.
At the end of the formal presentations and Q&A, Ukrainian Maj. Taras Karhalskov, an international military student in the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officers Course Class of 2024 at Fort Leavenworth, agreed to speak to the group. He spoke plainly about the situation in his homeland and the commitment of his people to keep fighting, but said it would not be possible without outside help.
At the conclusion of the evening CGSC Foundation Interim President/CEO Lora Morgan presented both Wright and Dimmick with small gifts in appreciation for their participation on the panel.
Col. Matt Dimmick, U.S. Army, Ret., served 29 years in uniform, retiring in 2021. He is currently the European Program Manager for Spirit of America, a non-profit organization that has delivered more than $40 million dollars in nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Previously, Dimmick was the Director for Russia and Eastern Europe on the National Security Council Staff during the Trump and Biden administrations. He also served as the Russia Director for the Secretary of Defense from 2016 to 2019. Additionally, he held positions as Defense Attaché in Tbilisi, Georgia, Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor for the Chief of Staff of the Army, and Assistant Army Attaché in Moscow. Dimmick is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, holds a Master of Arts in National Strategy from the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, and a Master of Arts in Russian and Eastern European Studies from the University of Kansas.
Don Wright currently serves as the deputy director of Army University Press at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Wright holds a Ph.D. in European History from Tulane University. While a graduate student, he traveled to Russia on a Fulbright scholarship to research the Russian Imperial Army at the beginning of the 20th century. He has published several articles on how the Tsarist Regime prepared the empire’s population for war, including one in the Journal of Military History that won the Vandervort Award in 2019. As a historian for the U.S. Army, Wright has published on the Global War on Terror, including the books On Point II on Operation Iraqi Freedom and A Different Kind of War on the US Army in Afghanistan. Wright retired as a lieutenant colonel having served as an Army officer for 22 years, first in the infantry and then in the reserve component as a military intelligence officer.
This lecture was presented as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series presented by the CGSC Foundation’s Simons Center for Ethical Leadership and Interagency Cooperation. The first event in the series was presented in May as a Vietnam War Commemoration Lecture with Dr. James H. Willbanks as the lecturer. The next event in the 2023 Distinguished Speaker Series is scheduled for Nov. 15 and will feature a presentation by CGSC’s professors Dr. Sean Kalic and Dr. Mark Wilcox on the upcoming publication of a book sponsored by the CGSC Foundation entitled “The End of the Cold War and its Aftermath.”
The Distinguished Speakers Series for 2023 is sponsored by the Tim and Karen Carlin Family Foundation, First Command Financial Services, Col. (Ret.) Bob and Terri Ulin, Col. (Ret) Bill and Marge Eckhardt, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) and Mrs. Richard Keller, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) William West, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Stan Cherrie, Lt. Col. (Ret.) William and Kathleen Connor, Sr., and Col. (Ret.) Tom and Candy Dials.
The CGSC Foundation through its Simons Center conducts the Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) program to offer extracurricular, educational lectures intended to help enrich the Command and General Staff School curriculum and provide opportunities for outreach to the public. Topics covered in the Distinguished Speaker Series of lectures span the gamut of leadership and ethics, organizational effectiveness, collaboration, as well as current events and issues in business, government and the military. Programs are made possible in part by our sponsors.
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