The Shape of the Twenty-First Century: Once and Future Threats
Speaker: William J. Olson, Professor, Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
Date: April 19, 2010
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Capitol Conference Room, 5120 Grainger Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsor: Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), Grand Strategy Program
William J. Olson is a professor at the Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Recently, he was the President and CEO of Olson & Associates, a diversified consultancy providing a variety of services to corporate, government, and private sector clients. Most recently, he was the Chief of the Information Management Unit in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), Baghdad, Iraq. He was formerly the Staff Director for the US Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
Before joining the Caucus, Dr. Olson was a Senior Fellow at the National Strategy Information Center. He has worked on intelligence reform, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, and on drug control issues, completing a study for the Heritage Foundation opposing drug legalization. He was also a participant in and contributor to working groups at CSIS and the Heritage Foundation on homeland security.
Formerly, Dr. Olson was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Narcotics Matters at the Department of State. He chaired various interagency panels to develop counter-narcotics strategies for heroin, source and transit countries, and the Andes. He co-chaired the INM-DEA oversight committee for Joint Information Collection Centers, with sites in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Before joining the State Department, he was Director and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary (acting) for Low Intensity Conflict in the Department of Defense, where his office had primary oversight of LIC-related policy. Before going to OSD, Dr. Olson was a senior analyst on Southwest Asia at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.
He has served as a member of NSIC’s Working Group on International Organized Crime, and the Consortium on Intelligence’s Working Group on Intelligence Reform. He has been a consultant with US law enforcement, intelligence and national policy agencies, and has worked extensively on drug policy issues with key congressional committees. He was also on the board of the Caribbean Hospital Relief Fund, a private, non-profit organization that raised money and supplies to support hospitals in the Caribbean and Central America. His published works include over 50 articles and books on light forces, US strategic interests in the Persian Gulf, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, guerrilla warfare, terrorism, the war on drugs, conflict management, and studies on international organized crime and homeland security. He was the editor of a book series on regional conflict through Harper-Collins, founded the Journal of Small Wars and Insurgencies, edited a special volume for the Annals of Political Science on small wars, served on the editorial board of Parameters, and was co-creator and co-editor of Trends in Organized Crime, an international journal. He is on the international advisory board for Terrorism, an electronic journal on responding to transnational threats, and is member of the International Research Council of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies of the Potomac Institute.