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Boots on the Ground: The Role of Veterans in Government

February 25, 2015

Law '84 Alum Rep. Scott Peters and NYU CAS '87 Alum Colonel Patrick Mahaney, Jr, United States Army, with special guests Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2), and Michael D. Lumpkin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict discuss the role of military service in government and policy. The panel focused on questions such as:

  • How does the role of a veteran policymaker shape a person's ability to affect military policy?
  • What is the proper role of technology in warfare and how can policy keep up with innovation?
  • In what ways can veterans influence policy, and take an active role in electoral politics?

The event is part of a growing multidisciplinary effort at New York University to support discussion, research, and outreach on veterans and military policy.  This discussion was moderated by Dan Lamothe, military writer for the Washington Post.


Boots on the Ground

Dan Lamothe

Dan Lamothe

Dan Lamothe is a national security writer for The Washington Post. He joined the paper last year, launching its military blog, Checkpoint. He has covered several major stories for the newspaper since, contributing front-page reports on the recovery of missing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the death of Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene in Afghanistan, and the fall of Mosul, Iraq.

Prior to joining The Post, Lamothe reported for Foreign Policy magazine, covering national security, defense contracting and the Pentagon. He broke into military journalism in January 2008 with the Military Times newspaper chain. He spent several months in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2012, embedding with Marine infantrymen in Helmand province on three separate assignments.

Lamothe is the recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's Major Megan McClung Award for dispatch reporting from the battlefield, and has been recognized by the Military Reporters and Editors organization for his blogging while embedded. He's a Massachusetts native, and a graduate of journalism programs at the University of Massachusetts and University of Maryland. 


#NYUVets

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Col. Patrick Mahaney, Jr

Colonel Patrick Mahaney, Jr

Michael Lumpkin

Michael Lumpkin

Congressman Scott Peters

Rep. Scott Peters

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard


Representatives Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)

Adam Kinzinger was first sworn into the United States House of Representative in January 2011. He serves as the Representative for the Sixteenth Congressional District of Illinois and was appointed to the Energy & Commerce Committee.

Strengthening U.S. energy policy and making our nation less reliant on foreign resources is a top priority for Kinzinger in Congress. The Sixteenth District is home to four nuclear power plants, miles of windmills, hydropower plants, and ethanol and biodiesel plants. The nuclear energy production alone employs more than 2,500 people throughout the 16th. In addition, coal and natural gas energy are also vital resources in the district. As a result, he is committed to advancing nuclear production at home and focusing on energy independence.

Another focal point for Kinzinger in Congress is increased accessibility to his constituents throughout the Sixteenth District, which is essential to develop and grow public trust. Kinzinger intends to provide constituents with an open and direct line of communication to their federal government on matters facing the Energy & Commerce Committee.

Before he was sworn into office, Kinzinger was named to the House Majority Transition Team. This team was made up of 22 incoming and current House Members who are proven reformers and offer a fresh perspective to restore government into the hands of the people. The transition team proposed solutions to ensure the new Majority would serve as the people’s voice and implement the proposals that Americans are demanding.

Kinzinger also serves as a Deputy Republican Whip. At the age of 35, Kinzinger is one of the youngest Members of Congress and was named one of Time Magazine's 40 under 40 “Rising stars in American politics.”


Michael D. Lumpkin

Michael D. Lumpkin is currently the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC). Mr. Lumpkin was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) on December 2, 2013, following his nomination by President Barack Obama and confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

In his role as Assistant Secretary (SO/LIC), Mr. Lumpkin is the principal advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense on Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. He is responsible primarily for the overall supervision, to include oversight of policy and resources, of special operations and low intensity conflict activities. These activities include: counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, civil affairs, information operations, and counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In his role as Assistant Secretary (SO/LIC), Mr. Lumpkin also oversees the Department of Defense counter-narcotics program, building partnership capacity initiatives and humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.

Prior to his assuming duties as Assistant Secretary (SO/LIC), Mr. Lumpkin served as a Senior Executive at both the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. His previous positions include Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for (SO/LIC), and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Lumpkin has also significant experience in the private sector where he served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Industrial Security Alliance Partners and Executive Director of Business Development at ATI.

Mr. Lumpkin has more than 20 years of active duty military service as a US Navy SEAL where he held every leadership position from platoon commander to Team commanding officer. Mr. Lumpkin has participated in numerous campaigns and contingencies throughout the world to include both Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Mr. Lumpkin holds a MA from Naval Postgraduate School in National Security Affairs. He is a recognized subspecialist in Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Western Hemisphere Affairs.


Colonel Patrick Mahaney, Jr

Colonel Patrick J. Mahaney, Jr., U.S. Army, is a Special Forces officer currently serving as the Director of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group. Previously, he served as the 2013-14 Army fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New YorK City.

Colonel Mahaney most recently commanded the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, where he was responsible for global support in countering asymmetric and irregular threats. He has also commanded a Special Forces battalion and a special operations task force in Afghanistan. He has served in the 7th Special Forces Group, Joint Special Operations Command, the Special Warfare Center and School, the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan, and in a wide range of combat and operational assignments.

Mahaney is a graduate of New York University and has Master’s degrees in International Affairs from Columbia University and the University of Perugia in Italy.


Representative Scott Peters (CA-52)

Congressman Scott Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego.Congressman Scott Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego. First elected in 2012, he currently serves on the House committees on Armed Services & on Science, Space, & Technology Committee.

Scott Peters is a civic leader who has made improving the quality of life in San Diego his life’s work. After a 15-year career as an environmental lawyer, Scott was elected to the San Diego City Council, where he later became the City’s first City Council President. On the Council, Scott helped lead the $2 billion redevelopment of downtown San Diego, the cleanup of the city’s beaches and bays, and the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects. He also pursued greater accountability and efficiency in government through the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government with an independent budget review function.

In 2001, the governor appointed Scott to the Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, and in 2002, the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Scott to the California Coastal Commission. Scott also later served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District – a major economic engine that supports over 40,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs for San Diegans, with $3.3 billion in direct regional economic impact.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and worked as an economist for the United States Environmental Protection Agency before attending New York University School of Law. He and his wife of 27 years reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, where they raised their son and daughter.

Scott Peters, listed by National Journal in 2013 as the fourth most independent Democrat in Congress, is a problem solver with a record of bringing people together to get results. First elected in 2012, he currently serves on the House committees on Armed Services & on Science, Space, & Technology Committee.

Scott Peters is a civic leader who has made improving the quality of life in San Diego his life’s work. After a 15-year career as an environmental lawyer, Scott was elected to the San Diego City Council, where he later became the City’s first City Council President. On the Council, Scott helped lead the $2 billion redevelopment of downtown San Diego, the cleanup of the city’s beaches and bays, and the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects. He also pursued greater accountability and efficiency in government through the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government with an independent budget review function.

In 2001, the governor appointed Scott to the Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, and in 2002, the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Scott to the California Coastal Commission.

Scott also later served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District – a major economic engine that supports over 40,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs for San Diegans, with $3.3 billion in direct regional economic impact.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and worked as an economist for the United States Environmental Protection Agency before attending New York University School of Law. He and his wife of 27 years reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, where they raised their son and daughter.

Scott Peters, listed by National Journal in 2013 as the fourth most independent Democrat in Congress, is a problem solver with a record of bringing people together to get results.


Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2)

Tulsi Gabbard was born in Leloaloa, American Samoa in 1981, the fourth of five children. At the age of two, Tulsi and her family settled in Hawai'i where as a teenager, she co-founded the Healthy Hawai'i Coalition, a non-profit teaching children to take care of themselves and the environment. An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi ran for the Hawai'i State Legislature in 2002 and became the youngest person ever elected. A year later, Tulsi joined the Hawai'i National Guard to serve Hawaii’s citizens and our country.

In 2004, Tulsi voluntarily deployed to Iraq with her fellow Soldiers of the 29th Brigade eventually serving two tours of combat duty in the Middle East. Tulsi was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan's Officer Candidate School, and was the first woman to ever receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military on her second overseas tour. Tulsi continues to serve as a Captain in the Hawai'i National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team. In between her two tours, Tulsi worked in the U.S. Senate as a legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka, where she advised the senator on energy independence, homeland security, the environment, and veterans’ affairs.

In 2010, Tulsi ran for the Honolulu City Council and served as Chair of the Safety, Economic Development, and Government Affairs committee and Vice Chair of the Budget committee. Representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, Tulsi is one of the first two female combat veterans and the first Hindu to ever serve as a member of the U.S. Congress.

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