Ambassadors, Warriors and Attachés: The Role of the Military in Diplomacy

This conference gathered government, military, academic and industry leaders to discuss the role of the military in diplomacy throughout history and how diplomacy contributes to rule of law and the U.S. international image. Speakers discussed the historical perspective of the military and diplomacy, the roles of the military and State Department in diplomacy, and the military’s role in rule of law, humanitarian assistance, disaster response and peacetime presence.

This event was made possible with support from the William M. Wood Foundation.



8:55 - 9:00am | Welcome Remarks 

  • VADM Pete Daly, USN (Ret.), CEO and Publisher, U.S. Naval Institute 
  • VADM Sean Buck, USN, Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy

9:05 - 9:45am | Keynote - The Intersection of the Military and Diplomacy Since WWII: A Historical Perspective 

  • Dr. Nicholas Cull, University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, Faculty Fellow; Professor & Founding Director, Master of Public Diplomacy Program, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism 

10:00 - 11:30am | Panel Discussion – The Military and State Department’s Role in Diplomacy: Historical and Practical Impact 

Moderator: Dr. Seth G. Jones, Senior Vice President; Harold Brown Chair; and Director, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies 

  • ADM Harry B. Harris Jr., USN (Ret.), Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea (2018–2021); Former Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (2015–2018)
  • LtGen Charles Hooper, USA (Ret.), Senior Counselor, Cohen Group; former Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) (2017-2020) 
  • Ambassador Deborah A. McCarthy, Fellow, Harvard University, Advanced Leadership Initiative; former U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania (2013-2016); former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs 
  • Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., Senior International Policy Advisor, Arnold & Porter; former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; former Ambassador to Brazil (2010-2013) 

12:00 - 1:00pm | Keynote

  • The Honorable Leon E. Panetta, Secretary of Defense, 2011-2013 

1:30 - 3:00 pm | Panel Discussion – U.S. Military’s Role in Rule of Law, Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Response, and Peacetime Presence: From the Trenches 

Moderator: Dr. Doyle Hodges, Chief Publishing Officer, War on the Rocks; Executive Editor, Texas National Security Review 

  • CAPT Dave Adams, USN (Ret.), Director, Navy Museums, Naval History and Heritage Command
  • RDML Thomas Henderschedt, USN, Defense Attaché, Beijing, China 
  • MG Diana M. Holland, USA, Commanding General, Mississippi Valley Division, USACE
  • Mr.  Mohammad Aiaz Khan, Former Cultural Support Specialist and Member of Provincial Reconstruction Team