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Immigration, defense, Washington gridlock headline NMSU’s 2014 Domenici Conference

The issues that dominate today’s news – the debate on immigration reform, the legislative stalemate in Washington and the future of our national defense strategy – are among the pressing state and national policy topics set to be discussed at the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference.

Portrait of Leon Panetta
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta will speak on Sept. 17 at the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference at the Las Cruces Convention Center. (Courtesy photo)
Portrait of Joel Brenner
Joel Brenner, former head of U.S. counterintelligence for the director of national intelligence and former senior counsel and inspector general of the National Security Agency is scheduled to appear Sept. 18 a the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference at the Las Cruces Convention Center. (Courtesy Photo)

Experts including former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, former U.S. counterintelligence head and inspector general of the National Security Agency Joel Brenner and national political strategists Donna Brazile and Charlie Black are among those scheduled to appear.

Set for Sept. 17 and 18 at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave., the Domenici Conference is now in its seventh year. The Domenici Institute, which hosts the conference each fall, is named after New Mexico’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Pete V. Domenici. The institute was established with the goal of continuing Domenici’s legacy of service to the state of New Mexico and the nation by providing unique learning and policy research opportunities.

“The slate of topics this year couldn’t be more timely, and the caliber of speakers scheduled to attend is a testament to the premier status of this conference in our region,” said NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, who also serves as director of the institute. “The Domenici Institute and New Mexico State University are extremely pleased to bring these expert perspectives to our conference, thanks to the personal involvement of Sen. Domenici.”

Panetta will open Wednesday’s sessions with his perspective on U.S. defense priorities over the next five years. He served as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013, overseeing the final removal of American troops from Iraq as well as the beginning of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. Panetta also served as director of the CIA from 2009 to 2011, where he oversaw the operation that resulted in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

Wednesday’s second session will be a panel discussion on the bipartisan challenge in Washington, D.C. Panelists will be Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and a former congressman from Kansas; Frank Keating, former governor of Oklahoma and president and CEO of the American Bankers Association; and Mary Wilson, former president of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Glickman, a Democrat, served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 to 2001, following an 18-year career representing Kansas’ 4th congressional district in Washington. From 2004 to 2010, he served as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, and he’s currently a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center – a nonprofit Washington think tank founded in 2007 to promote politically balanced policymaking – where he focuses on public health, national security and economic policy issues.

Keating was Oklahoma’s governor from 1995 to 2003, the only Republican in the state’s history to serve consecutive terms. As governor, he oversaw the state’s response to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Keating serves as a member of the Debt Reduction Task Force and Housing Commission at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Wilson, who served as president of the League of Women Voters of the United States from 2006 to 2012, is an attorney with 38 years of experience in diverse fields of practice including estate planning, regulatory compliance, commercialization and privatization, corporate and environmental law. Prior to starting her own Albuquerque law firm, she served as an attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as an assistant chief counsel with the U. S. Department of Energy, and as general counsel for EG&G Mound Applied Technologies Inc.

Wednesday afternoon’s three sessions will focus on immigration reform, with views from Randel Johnson, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Angela Maria Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress; and Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

On the conference’s second day, N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez, who is seeking reelection in November, will speak at 8:15 a.m., following the day’s opening remarks, now scheduled for 8 a.m. This a change from the previously announced schedule. Democratic gubernatorial challenger Gary King will speak after lunch at 12:45 p.m.

Cyber espionage and the digital battleground will be the topic for Joel Brenner, former head of U.S. counterintelligence for the director of national intelligence and former senior counsel and inspector general of the National Security Agency. Brenner is the author of “America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare” and “Glass Houses: Privacy, Secrecy, and Cyber Insecurity in a Transparent World.”

The cyber security discussion will continue with a presentation by John Zepper, director of computing and network services at Sandia National Laboratories. Zepper is an expert in high-performance computing, having developed a number of supercomputing and institutional computing platforms at Sandia, a National Nuclear Security Administration lab.

The conversation will then return to the upcoming elections, with analysis from Democratic political strategist and commentator Donna Brazile and Republican political strategist and presidential adviser Charlie Black.

The conference will conclude at 1:30 p.m.

The 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference costs $50 to attend. Online registration for the conference begins July 28 at domenici.nmsu.edu. The event is free to university students. For more information or to receive an invitation by mail, call the Domenici Institute at 575-646-2066.

This project is partially sponsored by the Department of the Army, Office of the Surgeon General. The content of the information does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. government and no official endorsement should be inferred.