« All Events
About the Speakers
The Honorable Eliot Engel (D-NY) is the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee including the Subcommittee on Health, and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. He is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, the founder and Co-Chair of the House Oil and National Security Caucus, sits on the Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Anti-Semitism, as well as a number of other Caucuses.Congressman Engel believes that the United States and Israel have an unbreakable bond. He has cosponsored a number of pro-Israel legislation, including the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011, which calls for the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be established to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel. He believes that Israel should not have to live under constant threat from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and was the leading Democratic sponsor of a resolution condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. Congressman Engel strongly supported the American assistance to Israel to expand the effective Iron Dome and other missile defense systems. Congressman Engel also voted against the nuclear Iran deal and believes that Iran needs to be held accountable for its nefarious behavior.
Congressman Engel was born in the Bronx on February 18, 1947. He grew up in a city housing project and attended New York City public schools. In 1969, he graduated from Hunter-Lehman College with a B.A. in History and received a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1973 from Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. In 1987, he received a law degree from New York Law School.
For twelve years prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Engel served in the New York State Assembly (1977-1988), where he chaired the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, as well as the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama Housing. Prior to that, he was a teacher and guidance counselor in the New York City public school system.
A lifelong resident of the Bronx, Congressman Engel is married to Pat Engel. They have three children.
The Honorable Mark Kirk (R-IL) is a U.S. Senator from Illinois, elected in 2010.
Senator Kirk worked as a staff member for U.S. Congressman John Porter before moving to work at the World Bank and later the State Department. He practiced law at Baker & McKenzie before serving as a counsel to the House International Relations Committee. In 2000, Mark was elected to succeed Porter in the House of Representatives, where he served five terms before his election to the U.S. Senate.
Senator Kirk currently serves on four Senate Committees: 1) Appropriations, 2) Banking, 3) HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions), and 4) Aging. Senator Kirk is the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance.
Senator Mark Kirk strongly believes that the United States has no greater ally in the Middle East than Israel. Understanding that Israel faces threats from Hezbollah in the north, Hamas in the west and Iran in the east, he is committed to maintaining Israel’s long-term security and qualitative military edge. He also understands that a nuclear armed Iran would set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and threaten the security of the United States, Europe, the Middle East and, especially, Israel.
Senator Kirk was a strong proponent of the inclusion of Combatting BDS Act of 2016 in the 2017 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Program Appropriations (SFOPs) Act that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. This measure pushes state and local governments to defend against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s economic targeting Israel.
Senator Kirk earned a B.A. (cum laude) in history from Cornell University. He also earned a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from Georgetown University. He served as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve from 1989 until 2013, when he retired with the rank of commander.
The Honorable Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is the former Chairman of the House of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Committee from 2007-2009. He currently sits on three House committees including the Natural Resources Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman Duncan also serves as the subcommittee Chairman of Foreign Affairs’ Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. In addition, he is a member of the Border and Maritime Security subcommittee. Lastly, he serves as the co-chairman of the Sovereignty Caucus, which seeks to combat the influence of international organizations and multilateral agreements on United States policy.
A native of South Carolina, Congressman Duncan is a graduate from Clemson University. He served as a branch manager and Assistant Vice President during his seven-year time working in community banking. He became President and CEO of J. Duncan Associates, a South Carolina based, family owned real estate marketing firm.
In 2010, he was awarded The Order of Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina. Congressman Duncan was the recipient of the Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Business. Act! for America presented Duncan with the, “2011 National Security Patriot Award” because of his strong and enduring commitment to protecting national security and democratic values. He finished the 112th Congress at the top of the House leader board.
Major General Paul Vallely, US Army (ret), was born in DuBois, Pa. He retired in 1991 from the US Army as Deputy Commanding General, US Army, Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. General Vallely graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned in the Army in 1961 serving a distinguishing career of 32 years in the Army.
General Vallely is a graduate of the Infantry School, Ranger and Airborne Schools, Jumpmaster School, the Command and General Staff School, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Army War College. His combat service in Vietnam included positions as infantry company commander, intelligence officer, operations officer, military advisor and aide-de-camp. He has over fifteen (15) years experience in Special Operations, Psychological and Civil-Military Operations.
He served in many overseas theaters to include Europe and the Pacific Rim Countries as well as two combat tours in Vietnam. He has served on US security assistance missions on civilian-military relations to Europe, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Central America with in-country experience in Indonesia, Columbia, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras and Guatemala. He has served as a consultant to the Commanding General of the Special Operations Command as well as the DOD Anti-Drug and Counter -Terrorist Task Forces. He also designed and developed the Host-Nation Support Program in the Pacific for DOD and the State Department. He has in-country security assistance – experience in Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, El Salvador, Columbia and Indonesia in the development of civil-military relations interfacing with senior level military and civilian leadership.
General Vallely has been a military analyst on television and radio for over ten years. He is also a guest lecturer on National Security, international political, economic issues, strategic planning matters and the Global War against Radical Islam and other threats to America. He and LTG Thomas McInerney authored the book, “Endgame” – Blueprint for Victory for Winning the War on Terror”, “Warfooting” and “Baghdad Ablaze”. He is a member and founder of the Iran Policy Committee. He is the Chairman of the Stand Up America. He was the senior military analyst for the Fox News Channel from 2000 -2007. General Vallely conducts an average of 4-6 national radio show interviews per week and is well known for his published articles on a multitude of subjects and issues.
He and his wife, Marian, are the co-trustees of the Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund and reside in Montana. He and Mrs. Vallely are deeply involved in state and local issues as well as supporting a multitude of community events and activities.
Dr. Daniel Pipes, a historian, is the president of the Middle East Forum. A former official in the U.S. departments of State and Defense, he has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Pepperdine, and at the U.S. Naval War College.
Mr. Pipes has written sixteen books. His bi-weekly column is published in The Washington Times,National Review, and other publications. His current focus is on the political upheavals in the Middle East. He tweets at @DanielPipes.
His website, DanielPipes.org, with an archive of his writings and media appearances, has recorded 70 million page visits since its inception in 2000. More than 11,000 translations of his writings have been published in 37 languages.
Both presidents Bush appointed Mr. Pipes to U.S. federal government positions. Al-Qaeda invited him to convert to Islam, Senator Edward M. Kennedy borked him, and Edward Said called him his most horrible name – an “Orientalist.”
The Middle East Forum (MEForum.org) is an independent non-profit organization with an annual budget of $4 million which is dedicated to promoting American interests. It produces studies, sponsors activist projects, and makes grants to enable scholars and others to promote the organization’s mission.
Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC and Editor of inFOCUS Quarterly. With more than 30 years of experience as an analyst of U.S. defense policy and Middle East affairs, she has run programs and conferences with American military personnel in the U.S., Israel, Jordan, Taiwan and elsewhere. The former Executive Director and Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA, Mrs. Bryen was for 17 years author of the widely read and republished JINSA Reports. She has worked with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College and the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and lectured at the National Defense University in Washington.
Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Sun and Defense News, as well as online outlets including Forbes.com, PJMedia, Gatestone Institute and American Thinker. Mrs. Bryen has done travel programs in the Middle East for American military professionals, allowing more than 450 military officers to engage in professional discussions of issues that both unite and divide the United States, Israel and Jordan. She created a program to take the cadets and midshipmen of America’s service academies to Israel for a three-week work/study program that has been incorporated as a formal internship in all three service academies and permitted hundreds of future officers to have a positive, in-depth experience in Israel. She has also taken Turkish and Israeli military officers to speak at the academies and has lectured in the service academies as well.
She is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Aleethia Foundation that provides opportunities for wounded veterans of the Iran and Afghanistan wars, and is a Member of the Board of the Naval Academy Jewish Chapel. Mrs. Bryen is married to Dr. Stephen Bryen. They have four children and four grandchildren.
Joseph Humire is the executive director at the Center for a Secure Free Society. While serving as the Director of Institute Relations at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Joseph Humire began developing the SFS network by running programs around the world focused on promoting security and defense issues to the classical liberal community. In 2012, SFS spun-off from Atlas into its new home at the International Freedom Educational Center, where Mr. Humire currently serves as the Executive Director.
As a global security expert specializing in asymmetric warfare, Mr. Humire has produced leading research and investigations on Islamic extremism and Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere, as well as other topics. His work is frequently sought after by various entities within the U.S. Department of Defense and intelligence community, as well as prominent think tanks and universities throughout the Americas. Moreover, Mr. Humire is an eight-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps having served combat tours in Iraq and Liberia, as well as taking part in the multinational training exercise in Latin America and the Caribbean: UNITAS 45-04.
Mr. Humire publishes regularly in Fox News, the Washington Times and the Huffington Post. And has featured scholarly articles in the Small Wars Journal and the Journal of International Security Affairs He is frequently interviewed on major English and Spanish-language broadcasts throughout the hemisphere, such as Univision,Telemundo, CNN Español, Sun News Network (Canada), Nuestre Tele Noticias-24 (Colombia), Mira TV and Mega TV(Miami) and the Foro Inter-Americano of Voice of America (Wash. D.C.).
Mr. Humire has testified before the U.S. Congress and the Canadian and Brazilian Parliament on a variety of security and defense issues, and in October 2014, published his first book on “Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America,” by Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing.
Dr. Harold Rhode is one of the few experts we have in the West who really understands the mentality of the Middle East. Dr. Rhode had spent more than 28 years in the office of U.S. Secretary of Defense as an advisor on U.S. Islamic Affairs. After getting his PhD in Islamic history at Columbia University under the esteemed Bernard Lewis, Dr. Rhode studied and traveled extensively throughout the Islamic world. He speaks fluent Turkish. Dr. Rhode served with the United States armed forces in Iraq, both during the recent war in Iraq and during the Gulf War. Dr. Rhode is also famous for being the person responsible for finding and rescuing sacred Jewish manuscripts from Iraq during the Iraq war.
Eitan Arusy is a career Intelligence Specialist, currently the CEO of Global Impact Services LLC.