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Great Power Competition Series featuring Secretary Mark T. Esper

  • 15 Feb 2022
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, 111 E Taylor St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Great Power Competition Series

The Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations, The McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU and ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law present a series of renowned speakers on Great Power Competition.

The U.S. security strategy has focused on the global war on terrorism since the attacks of September 11, 2001 and while terrorism still exists, the past two administrations have identified Great Power Competition as the political construct guiding U.S. foreign policy. The decline of U.S. global influence, competition from a rising China and a revanchist Russia is the new principle threat of Great Power Competition.

While the Cold War showcased the ideological battle between democracy and communism, the dissolution of the Soviet Union put an end to the threat of communism. However, democracy is under increased threat and China with its state controlled economy and Beijing and Moscow’s increasingly heavy-handed authoritarian systems is challenging democracy. In 2017, then Defense Secretary James Mattis proclaimed that great-power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

Join us for our first series speaker:

Secretary Mark T. Esper 

Former Secretary of Defense and the Army

Join us as Secretary Mark T. Esper discusses Great Power Competition and the U.S role and balance of power in the Indo-Pacific, China and Taiwan, and the state of global power politics.

Masks will be required during the program except when drinking. There will be no food or beverage service, bottled water will be provided.

This program is complimentary thanks to our sponsors. Guests are welcome and the event is closed to the press.


Complimentary Registration

Registration is now closed.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

6 pm MST


ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

111 E Taylor St

Phoenix, AZ 85004 (map)


Dr. Mark T. Esper

Former Secretary of Defense

Dr. Mark T. Esper became the 27th Secretary of Defense in July 2019 when he was confirmed in an overwhelming 90-8 vote by the U.S. Senate in rare bipartisan fashion. Esper went on to successfully lead the department through an unprecedented time in the nation’s history: from conflict with Iran, an ongoing military campaign in Afghanistan, and counter-terrorist operations in the Middle East; to open competition with China and Russia amidst a fundamental shift in geo-strategic environment; and from the greatest civil unrest and political turmoil America has seen in decades, to the spread of a global pandemic the world had not experienced in over 100 years, all while dealing with a chaotic and unpredictable White House.

As Defense Secretary, Esper was responsible for ensuring the United States’ national security, protecting the American people at home and abroad, and advancing the country’s interests globally. In this capacity, he led the largest and most complex organization in the world given its nearly 3 million service members and defense civilians, $740 billion annual budget, and trillions of dollars of weapons, equipment, and infrastructure located at 4,800 sites in over 160 countries.

Dr. Esper made major strides in shaping and implementing the National Defense Strategy, which called for a return to preparing for high intensity conflict in a new era of great power competition. Esper established the Space Force and Space Command, proposed a dramatic change in the size and composition of the U.S. Navy, enhanced the resourcing and operations of Cyber Command, and led a major reform effort that reorganized the department and freed up billions of dollars for higher priorities. He worked hard to strengthen alliances and grow new partners, especially in the Indo-Pacific, and helped drive a major increase in the readiness of NATO members, all while advancing new warfighting, operational, and readiness concepts in the U.S. military.

Prior to becoming Defense Secretary, Dr. Esper served as the 23rd Secretary of the Army from November 2017 until June 2019. Dr. Esper graduated from West Point with distinction in 1986 and received his commission in the Infantry. During 10 years on active duty, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the Gulf War with the “Screaming Eagles,” and later commanded an airborne rifle company in Europe in what is now the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He then served another 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve. From 1996 to 1998, Dr. Esper was chief of staff at The Heritage Foundation think tank, and later served in senior staff positions for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Government Affairs Committee, and House Armed Services Committee. Esper was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy from 2002 to 2004 and National Security Advisor for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from 2004 to 2006.

Esper holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University.

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