NEWPORT, R.I.- The Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups at the U.S. Naval War College presented its fourth annual symposium on June 26-27, "Exploiting Seams and Closing Gaps."More than 50 U.S. and international academics, practicioners, and operators attended to discuss the strategic and operational challenges associated with irregular warfare and armed groups.

This year’s symposium focused on how armed groups and states exploit the seams in their opponents’ strategies and institutions, and how states have closed those gaps. The need for interagency cooperation and communication was a consistent theme throughout the discussions.

Rear Admiral John Christenson, president of the Naval War College, opened the conference.

Dr. Andrea Dew began the symposium by examining the strategic lessons drawn from India’s experience during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The symposium’s two key regional panels were "Defeating the FARC: Evaluating Colombia’s Whole of Government Approach," presented by Admiral Roberto Garcia Marquez of the Colombian Naval Forces and retired Admiral Guillermo Barrara-Hurtado, and "Exploiting the Maritime and Military Instruments of Power: The Sri Lankan Perspective," presented by Rear Admiral Wijegunaratne of the Sri Lankan Navy and Paul Povlock of the Naval War College.

Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, Assistant Director of National Intelligence, gave the keynote address on the second day. He addressed the importance of integrating intelligence between military and law enforcement to address the decentralized, transnational threats that are prevalent both today and in the foreseeable future. He also spoke of the importance of investing in education for the U.S. military.

Additional panels included "The Exploitation of Transnational Networks by Armed Groups," "The Utility of Economic Warfare in the 21st Century," "Countering Iran’s Irregular Warfare Strategy," "T.E. Lawrence in the 21st Century," and "The Role of Irregular Warfare in the Quadrennial Defense Review."

"The symposium was designed to promote curriculum development that will have a lasting impact on the way we analyze and address the national and international security challenges posed by armed groups and irregular warfare across a range of environments to include the Maritime Domain," said Dr. Marc Genest, Co-Director of the Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups, or CIWAG.

"CIWAG was created to ensure that education on irregular warfare and armed groups remains timely and easily accessible to military officers and their interagency counterparts" said Dr. Andrea Dew, Co-Director of CIWAG.

CIWAG conducts annual symposiums to bring civilian scholars together with military faculty and practitioners to analyze the national and international strategic and operational security challenges posed by armed groups and irregular warfare.

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