tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN June 29, 2016 9:00am-11:01am EDT
captioning performed by vitac released some findings on how much of the fire risk you would reduce by reducing some of that fuel. and their number was so large that i don't even know how to get my head around it. so it's pretty hard when you think about what happened in the carlton complex, to think that just some fuel reduction might have prevented 100 million acres in one afternoon from being destroyed. but nonetheless, we now have research that does show that this kind of fuel reduction is making an impact. i wanted to talk about any of those real life examples that
you know about, and the carpenter fire road where we made some improvements or mr. pemlit, any of these areas where you've seen the fuel reduction work and what they are trying to capitalize in this science released by the university is that done strategically, you are reducing the size of the fire. and that is what we -- knowing that the conditions are so explosive, this is what we have to aim for. i didn't know if you wanted to get real life examples of that. >> thank you for that question. we've had many large fires as you know in the state of washington. both the fire season in '14 and '15 have set new records. as a matter of fact, i have recently toured the tripod fire which occurred in 2006, 180,000 acre fire that cost $180 million to suppress.
in that fire, which was a very large fire and carlton fire and others, where there has been active management before the fire, it has a demonstrabl impact and the fire doesn't impact areas managed. it is not a guarantee but the single best thing we can do in advance of fire to do the fuel reduction work and prescribed fire work to take away the fuel the fire would need to pass through the forest. i'm wholly supportive of the pilot prom. restorgs is to help make our forest more resilient. >> do you have any idea what those projects might have done? it's hard to categorize, but they are coming up with a pretty big number. they are saying -- you could have as a big as a 50% reduction in fire by doing the right kinds
of treatment. >> i think it's certainly a possibility and i think the language in the discussion draft is an opportunity for us to test that model. i think having been a forester for 30 years now, preaching active engagement in forest management. we have several examples in the sierra where thinning from below and reducing the forest has kept the fire lower intensity, not only protected the forest but communities and earlier i failed to show a slide but you may have trouble seeing it from there but this is the central sierra a year ago and just this spring. what you're seeing is little tree mortality and almost a pond rosa pine stand almost completely decimated, not by fire but insect mortality. forest management can have a start -- it's not just reducing fire intensity but active
management for health which reduces the impact for epidemic insect outbreaks, et cetera. absolutely engaging in forest management, including a pilot project. we would certainly love to see some in california in this region. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, senator kantwell, we had gone over the time i promised we would be adjourning the panel. i have a question for mr. nichols and this relates to the recommendations relating to the inventory. you served on the tongas advisory committee so i'll rely on you for background on how the transition and the inventory really came together within those discussions? in my questioning to mr. bonnie, i made clear or read the statement from the tack about the inventory being the number
one priority. and he seems to suggest and actually he did state, that the forest service will have all of the data that it needs to guarantee the success apparently of a young growth transition by the end of this summer's survey on prince of wales. and indicated that there can be this parallel track, if you will, that the inventory has begun, we appreciate that. but that it can go alongside the forest plan amendment process. can you please speak to why it was important that the tack recommend a comprehensive stand level inventory, also further to the point, has anything changed since january 21 when that statement was pretty conclusively made that it remains the number one priority?
and then is it -- is it possible that the forest service really has all that it needs in terms of will have all it needs in terms of an inventory when it completes the review this summer? >> you know, i spent 18 months on the tack, it seems like a lifetime to me but there is two pieces to that. we knew there would be fall down acres. when you look at the old growth stands they lose 60% of the stand's acres when they try to put a timber together. we knew we would have similar ones in the young growth. the fish biologyist showed streams that will have to be protected. we know we'll get fall down. we knew in our models we could not get an answer for the forest service what kind of falldown to use. in our modeling we did, we did no fall down acres. we used 250,000 the forest service has.
the second point was the conservation community was pushing hard for absolute dates on ending old growth and we couldn't give it to them. we did not have the information because one of the things we agreed to was that for every acre of young growth we would stop harvesting an acre of old growth. that went vice-versa too. for every acre you did not get, you had to do more old growth. there was for the first time a leverage on both sides of it there. the tack when bonnie came to -- the tack knew we had to have better inventory, it just was not there. i attended a meeting here last week, 50,000 acres of information on $250,000. they are blowing over the other 200,000. the land is highly variable and do not have enough information. the tack position was we needed that because we had to make
final decisions when to stop the old growth harvest. we couldn't do that. we did not have enough information to make that decision. the other thing is the volume -- the acres left in this plan amendment are so low that if we lose part of those acres to this falldown or to the uneconomic ability, there will not be a timber industry, not enough acres left of harvestable timber. >> that's the reason why we have to get this inventory correct? >> you only have one time. we can't undo it. as you have seen in this federal legislation, it never gets undone. if we make a mistake there, there lsh no timber industry. the communities in southeast alaska will suffer greatly because of it. so the tack continues to recommend a comprehensive stand level inventory, that hasn't changed? >> that has not changed a bit. >> as far as this parallel track that's been suggested that we
can move forward with the forest plan amendment process while at the same time conducting an inventory, does that work or not work? >> well, from the industry side, what i see out there today is that the tact made very strong recommendations and only took part of the recommendations, did not take them all. the timber sales they are working on today do not follow the recommendations. there was going to be a down fall in the amount of young growth available as they don't intensively manage or intensively harvest these stands. so what we see since the tack recommendation today, the forest service is still not implemented the on the ground the recommendations that we made and those are difficult recommendations and that's what's going to determine whether this thing will work or not. right now we do not see where there's a will to get the recommendations in place. >> well, we're going to continue to push to make sure that we
have a firm understanding. it's been suggested that somehow or other my motivation is to delay the forest plan amendment, delay it indefinitely. my intention is not to delay the plan. my intention is to make sure that that plan is based on the true facts on the ground. true honest understanding as to what our inventory is that will allow us to base the decisions on good grounded science that will allow us to get it right because as you've suggested, we've got one opportunity to get it right. so i appreciate the work that you and others have done on the tack. i know it's not easy. i know that it has been difficult but i appreciate the good work. i also appreciate you recognizing that in fact all of the recommendations from the tack were not put into play
so -- again, thank you for what you have done and helping to advance these very important issues. with that, ladies and gentlemen, i appreciate the extra time you've given us and the committee as well. as we continue to work to refined this draft proposal, we would certainly welcome and encourage your continued input if members have questions for the records, we'll make sure we get them out to you quickly but thank you for being here. committee stands adjourned. >> we're going to go live to an event hosted by vice president biden, it's a cancer summit. carol burnett who lost her daughter to cancer in 2002 will serve as emcee and jill biden
and speaking now is wayne frederick, the president of howard university. this is live on c-span3, just getting under way. >> initiative to eliminate cancer as we know it and the project was jump started in february of this year. when the white house announced a $1 billion initiative, it became evident the obama administration was committed to supporting the essence of american innovation to identify new ways to prevent and diagnose and treat cancer. it is a similar spirit of innovation that encouraged a founding of this howard university. and of its howard university cancer center, almost a half century ago. the mission of the howard university cancer center is to reduce the burden of cancer, to research education and service with an emphasis on the unique ethnic and cultural aspects of minority and underserved populations. the focal point of my research
is to narrow the disparty in cancer outcomes between african-americans and larger population. i'm inspired by the obama administration and vice president biden's investment to support cutting edge research. i have a deeply personal relationship with howard university. and so i was very humbled when the opportunity to become its 17th president occurred. my work as a surgical oncologist however, is still the most gratifying work that i do. my mentor, dr. la sell la for once said we should always grant patients hope because when you grant them hope, you grant them one of the greatest of all human joys and that's the joy of anticipation. that perhaps just maybe there's something that can be done to help them. in order to provide an environment that continuously cultivates highly competitive
researches, faculty staff and students, howard university is working to establish a massive and public health program next fall. this program will highlight the importance of comprehensive health care initiatives in order to find a cure for cancer as aggressively as it attacks human bodies. we must prepare practitioners who understand public health and health care policy and health communications, advocacy and education and administration and treatment and disease prevention. so i am extremely honored and humbled that this summit that represents one of the most important public components of the initiative is being hosted at my alma mater here on the campus of howard university. vice president biden, we thank you for your dedication and personal connection to this research and look forward to future collaborations to support this initiative.
howard university here in washington, d.c. we just heard from the president of the university, the president introducing what is the start of a cancer moonshot summit and it's taking place here in howard university. we expect to hear from vice president joe biden, basically his initiative. and we also will hear from comedian carol burnett, who lost her daughter to cancer in 2002. we heard from wayne frederick, the president of howard university and vice president joe biden expected shortly. this is live on c-span3.
again, we're live at howard university here for the start of what is expected to be a cancer summit and we expect to hear from vice president joe biden as part of this, reading from the "washington post" article about the event, the summit is expected to draw as many as 300 people from academia industry and advocacy groups to howard university, to generate new diseases to beat a disease that kills 6 million a year and regional summits taking place at the same time. it's coming at a critical time with 2016 already half over. vice president biden is running out of time for cancer moonshot though he repeatedly said the initiative's goals are backed by both parties and funding is bogged down amid partisan disputes even as officials scramble with recommendations on how to accelerate research gains.
proposals will not be ready to later this summer or in the fall. the session is designed to have broad popular appeal. it will be emceed by carol burnett who lost her daughter to cancer in 2002. jill biden will also appear. she and vice president biden buried their son beau after he died from brain cancer. we expect this to start in just a moment. live coverage here on c-span3. ♪
ladies and gentlemen, please welcome carol burnett! [ applause ] >> good morning. welcome. my heart soared when i saw president obama during his state of the union address ask vice president biden to lead the cancer moonshot. so i sat down and i wrote vice president biden a letter asking him if i could do anything to help. i wanted to volunteer. as a result, i'm thrilled to be here today. unfortunately the vice president and i share a common bond.
i lost my daughter, carrie hamilton to cancer 14 years ago. she was 38 years old. she had a passion for life and i might add had a great sense of humor, that was a time when she was in and out of the hospital quite often during the last few months. and so this one night i got the call that she had been readmitted. so i drove to the hospital and i walked into the room, it was about 3:00 in the morning. i just sat by her bed. she was asleep and kind of opened her eyes and i made this stupid off the cuff joke i thought was funny or anyway and i said, yeah, yeah, carrie, you had to come back and be in the hospital again, huh? without missing a beat, well, i missed food. that's who she was. and then i was leaving and a
nurse, one of the four nurses came up to me. i have to talk to you and tell you something about your daughter. i said, what? you know, carrie, when we come into the room in the morning and everything and there she is, bald headed from the chemo and lying in bed and she cheers us up. i asked her, carry, how can you be so cheerful? every day i wake up and decide and this is the key word, every day i wake up and decide today i'm going to love my life. well, she loved her life right to the end. and i have to say today is remarkable for many, many reasons. this cancer moonshot summit is the first of its kind and across the country in all 50 states, summits like this one are taking
place at 270 regional summits in all 50 states, including d.c., puerto rico and guam, hospitals and organizations have come together to share any and all information about cancer. so today is remarkable for many reasons, none the least of which is hope. hope means many different things to different people but to a cancer patient and the family affected by it, hope means everything. today we'll see in this room at summits all over the country that we have every reason to hope. as a parent who lost my carrie to cancer, i've always felt that joe biden was in my corner.
like so many of you, i'm inspired by his vision and determination. he's what the cancer moonshot effort is all about. he knows cancer, he lived through cancer and he sees if we fight it together, we can have a world without cancer as we know it. i'm with you, vice president biden. we all are. ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, the vice president of the united states. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, carol. please, thank you. please.
thank you so much. mr. president let me thank you by offering howard as a venue. this is important meeting. you know, before i go through the introductions and the recognitions of people, carol came into my office yesterday and it was like we had known each other forever although i've watched her -- i felt like i know her. but like many of the survivors in this room and patient advocates, the stories of our children and spouses and our brothers and sisters who have not -- who fought the good fight and ultimately succumbed, it's amazing the spirit of so many of them. she was telling me about carrie and i started talking about --
and i will not do this, i promise, about beau, my son and i was thinking when she was speaking that he was at three different hospitals over a year and a half. if there are any angels in heaven, they are all nurses. docs are okay but they are all nurses. [ applause ] male and female. you're looking at a guy two months in icu, embolism, i tell you what, i used to love it, stacey, when i would be in icu and looking at all of those machines and you knew that if it flat lined you had a problem. and you just get tired, you're not in pain, just get tired -- and next thing i know, the nurse in the icu and doctor would come in, here's what we have to do for the patient and they would listen to the doctor, yes doctor and then they would do what they thought was right. any rate, what i was thinking
about, carol, is that i believe almost every nurse in a two-year period that took care of beau showed up and waited as long as five hours in line in wilmington delaware to be in his viewing and funeral, which is a hell of a testament to the nurses but also a testament to our children. look, carol has taken her celebrity and focused it, focused it on this fight for a long, long time. i don't think any of us can thank her enough. like many of you in this audience, you've given your time and passion and your emotion and money to deal with this god awful problem. dr. frederick, thank you for hosting this summit for your leadership, not only is this a great university but in the medical field, it's in the fight against cancer, you're part of this whole gigantic effort.
and excuse as we used to say in senate, a point of personal privilege, one of the executive vice presidents at the dupont company who came up with kind of as a kid when i was a young guy and did much better than i did, stacey mobly, now i think chairman of the board down here, good to see you. and i haven't seen you in a long, long time. everything that is ever important or good at home, you were always there and i obviously you haven't changed your stripes in retirement. let me thank everyone for being here. i want to thank everyone gathered at more than 260 summit sites in all 50 states, puerto rico, guam and here in d.c. from miami florida, to anchorage, alaska and milwaukee, wisconsin to lexington, kentucky and hastings, nebraska and my home town of wilmington, delaware, summits are being hosted and serious undertakings at the department of health and human services and american lung
association and phoenix children's hospital, so, so many others are hosting sum mits across the nation. this is the first time -- i believe, i'm told it is -- the first time that physicians, scientists and patient advocates and families and cancer survivors and foundations and institutions have all come together in one time in extremely large numbers throughout the country to simultaneously begin to decide what changes do we have to make if any in this fight. all across the country, all under a national charge from the white house to do something big but very possible, make a decades worth of progress in the next five years. i know when i first was moonshot was first announced some said well, biden is being naive and ending cancer in our town. that's not what i said. i believe we can make
exponantial progress. think what that will mean. think of how many people you know saying you docs are saying, doc, i just want to make it one more month to see my daughter get married. doc, if i can just make it and make it another four months, i'll be able to pay off the house and my wife will be okay when i go. doc, all i want to do is see my daughter graduate. >> these are real, real real life things. time matters. days matter. minutes matter. there's nothing an septic about this. you know that. we know the problem.
right now there are 14 new -- million new cases a year in the world, 8.2 million cancer related deaths worldwide per year. the projections are by 2025 if we stay in the exact course we're on now making progress we're making now, there will be 20 million new cases a year and 11.4 million deaths from cancer alone. again, this is preaching to the choir but unlike other diseases, you all know there are over 200 distinct types of cancer that we've identified, which makes cancer far more complicated, far more complicated disease to treat and understand. cancer is taking loves ones from us and robbing us of decades of lives. when i announce the decision to not run for president. if you want to become a really popular official, announce you're not running for
president, it's amazing what happened. if i had known this i would have announced every year i wasn't running. but after beau passed jill and i concluded we couldn't -- anyway, i said in the announcement because expected to make a formal announcement one way or another, i said that -- and it wasn't written on the page, it was spontaneous, i said that my regret is if i could have -- could do anything, i would have wanted to be the president who ended cancer as you know it because i think it's possible. you know, my mom had the expression, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. any time your loved one, someone you care about, part of your soul and who you are is in trouble, all you do the same exact thing. you try to learn as much about the thing causing that person the trouble.
you try to learn as much as you can. and i had some great tutors and great hospitals we were in, md anderson, jefferson, walter reed -- i had great tutors. and that cancer moonshot grew out of a sentiment that -- i acquired that we're in the cusp of an awful lot of change. in the united states after i made that statement, it wasn't planned, shortly after the state of the union and the president didn't tell me but announced at the state of the union that biden is doing the moonshot. when i first heard it i thought he wanted me to get in the capsule and head to the moon. he's one of my best friends. he asked me to lead this. didn't just ask me to lead it but gave me authority, like he did in the recovery act. authority over all cabinet positions as if he were doing it, to engage the entire federal
government every cabinet agency that has anything impact possible impact in the fight against cancer. from outfit like nih which you immediately associate with, to the department of energy. i traveled the country and the world touching many of the major nerve centers in the fight against cancer. to get the ideas of the experts. is it possible? can we double the rate at which we make progress? by the way, regardless of where i am, we do an awful lot of foreign policy. referred to as a foreign policy expert. experts from out of town with a briefcase. i did not bring my briefcase but i know a hell of a lot more about foreign policy than i do or did particularly at the beginning about the fight against cancer. i was recently in the middle east talking about isis and in the gulf with one of the
leaders. and i felt we were going to have this long discussion and i brought my entire foreign policy team and national security advicer. he had his whole team sitting on this beautiful dock outside one of these palaces. he starts off and said, can we talk about cancer? can we talk about cancer? when i was in jordan, when i was in israel, japan, south korea, working on mous with each one of those countries, because they want to be part of this effort. i've been stunned -- stunned, stunned at the response to the president's announcement. just evidence nothing about me or the president, it's about the intensity with which people feel about this subject. and the overwhelming desire to have some concrete hope of
changes. everywhere i go, when i talk about what's possible in fighting cancer, there's a consensus, consensus that we've reached an inflection point -- let me explain what i mean by that. five years ago, six years ago colleges weren't working routinely with immuneologists and chemical engineers and biological engineers. but now they are. secondly, there's recognition that by aggregating and sharing data of millions of patients, including genomics and treatmentout comes, we have the potential to find new causes and patterns and successfully treat cancer in ways we never could before. we could now do you billion calculations per second. it changes the world potentially with aggregated data we can
learn. now we have the capability to do it, advanced technology, super computing, allows us to analyze enormous amount of data to find answers we couldn't find and it would take scores and scores of experts years poring over to find similar patterns. there's no hope. new treatment like immune therapies and treating the immune system and more active radiation therapies which target cancer cells but do less damage to the healthy cells, transforming many of the types of cancer in chronic manageable diseases when ten years ago they were literally a death sentence. in my view to seize the moment and seize this inflection point, we have to improve how we work together and get this all within our reach. one of the biggest problems we have in my view to solve is treatments need to be affordable. we need a strong continue up of generating using knowledge to
fight cancer and we have to change the entire path in how owledge goes from a small lab to production facilities. and the cost of life saving drugs are astronomical, we have to come up with a better way. what is the possible justification when a drug, a life saving drug is brought to market at the time it's brought to market and cost $26,000 a year and 15 years later it cost $120,000 tell me. tell me. tell me what is the justification for that. i'm sure you can identify a lot of other examples. and i know there are hundreds of millions and billions of dollars of sunken costs that reveal -- that come up with nothing that have to be accounted for. but i want to raise some questions here and i hope we get some answers. when i began the moonshot effort
i was committed to bringing together the human and financial resources we have to break down silos and seize the moment and double the rate of progress. i'm also committed to doing everything in my power to change the culture that too often stifles that project. quite frankly, we have to change the culture say little bit in my humble opinion. there's a report in stat news that all know nih funding for cancer trials requires the funding where you get the funding, requires the results of that data be reported instantly, the number of institutions that receive the most funding from nih funding don't report back to nih in a timely fashion. sometimes a year or more. nih scientists themselves, 75% of the time are late or don't report their results. that's the study. it may be wrong and i hope the experts here will tell me that's incorrect. but under the law, it says you
must report. if you don't report, the law says you shouldn't get any funding. doc, i'm going to find out if it's true and if it's true, i'm going to cut funding. that's a promise. that's a promise. because all it does is slow progress. change the culture, the moonshot effort has to have a few missions, reclaim the incentive for research within the research system, breakthroughs and faster progress preventing and treating cancer. you have to change the culture of research that turns scientists into grant writers. discouraging risk taking. we have to change academic and publication system and not just raw numbers of publications and awards granted.
i said this to 6,000 researchers, hosted by an organization in one of the other cities and i noticed they were a little dismayed when two thirds of the audience stood up and clapped. not a joke. we need to be sure researcher's results are available as soon as they are published so the field can move forward. we have to generate and share and integrate data with the ultimate goal of enhancing patient care. we have to create better systems to share data and empower patients to share and use data in a way they want to. in other sectors like physics and aerospace, scientists share complex information seamlessly and u bik us toly all the time but somehow, i guess through tradition, not in medicine. maybe there's explanation. i haven't heard it yet. i haven't heard it yet.
we have to bring new prevention strategy and therapeutics to communities across the world. first place i'm going after the summit tomorrow is to cleveland, to highlightbacco cessation program, at case western reserve university, both washington and cleveland have higher than national average smoking rates. lung cancer rights are higher, especially in areas where few have access to lung cancer screening. to help people adapt to healthier lifestyles, you number the numbers better than i do. prevent can save more lives than anything else we can do. other screening programs becoming available to help detect cancer early so it can be treated with better chances of success. these new approaches include noninvasive and mobile imaging
techniques and new genetic markers to allow us to develop those at risk developing cancers long before they develop. liquid biopsies are getting a whole lot of attention and may provide an even better way to screen for cancer very early in the process, with a simple blood test. we can reach more people by taking screening into communities like breast cancer and hiv, we have mobile vans rolling in all these communities. you help set up in wilmington, stacy, making sure we have a large african-american population under served can
do. finally, we have to accelerate getting treatments to patients by identifying -- by identifying any unnecessary regulatory barriers that existed at the federal level. to stand -- patients should be able to seamlessly find a clinical trial that might suit a specific condition, doctors should have an easy way of guiding their patients through the process, but as you know, 4% cancer patients that enroll in trials that might be key to discovering the next life saving treatment. now, i've been in washington state, i've been in nevada, california, i've been to, i think, 11 of the most highly funded and most reputable cancer research centers in the world. and they talk about -- they talk about how can they get -- how will they be able to get this life saving capacity out to rural communities. indian reservations.
the one thing about you docs is, ba became docs for a reason, you're devoted. you care. you care a heck of a lot. it surprised me to see how intensely the medical community is talking about the need to get services to at risk communities. that weren't available right now. online critical -- excuse me, n online clinical trial databases is far too complicated for most patients and most local oncologists to be able to navigate. under the moon shoot, we're creating a new trials.cancer.gov to help people learn about and get access to cancer trials. also, there will be, i hope, a significant benefit to the pharmaceutical companies who are conducting trials in many times have trouble finding enough people to be in the trials. as advanced as we are, the idea that we can't come up with an
app that accurately is able to be used that has all this data on it is surprising to me. you know, i was -- my son and it is not about my son, goes for everyone, just my personal experience, we put in -- in the recovery act, the president asked me to manage almost a trillion dollars, $840 billion we spent in 18 months and by the way with every outside study, less than .2% waste or fraud, and in that we thought we would change the way we governed and we decided that electronic record keeping was -- would help the medical community a great deal. so we put $35 billion in. it all got spent. guess what, the five assistants can't talk to one another. think about it. now, we're not computer scientists. my son beau had allegedly a -- he was in a trial of one,
anti-pd 1, requiring him to on a multiple times in a day do an mri to see the progress. and first our docs were giddy at the progress that was being made. but he was up at walter reed and the docs were down at -- down at md anderson, incredible organization in my view. but for the fact my son is -- my son-in-law is a leading surgeon in the philadelphia area, we had to gather up the information, not recorded electronically, get in a plane and fly it down. joe, can you imagine your company functioning that way? being able to make it? it is not anybody's fault. we got to fix it. we got to fix it. we owe it to future generations to seize this moment to move
with deliberate purpose and double our rate of progress by doing things that if this were a high tech firm we were running, they would say we got to solve this problem. it is within our wheel house to do these things. well, i'm talk ing about so far doesn't even contemplate the enormous genius that resides in this room. like one of the brightest men in all of medicine is the guy sitting right there, the head of nih. i mean, this sincerely. the impediment isn't the lack of the gray matter genius and ingenuity in terms of new drugs, new treatments, et cetera. it is all this stuff that gets in the way. the only thing i'm got at in government is getting things out of the way. no, no, i am good at that. i am good at that. [ applause ]
so, i don't want this to come across as somehow the federal government has the answer. we don't have the answers. we got to figure out who how to get out of your way and you have to figure out how to get in each other's way more. previous generations have successfully faced similar problems and given us longer lives and many people feared their children during polio epidemic in the '50s, but hope conquered fear sooner than anyone ever imagined with technology and breakthroughs in the polio vaccine. look at what you've all done in hiv/aids. and how you aggregated capability and the progress that is made. cancer won't be conquered by any one thing. i believe it is a challenge with your brilliance we can win if we're devoted to winning it in a timely fashion, meaning yesterday.
today we're announcing a series of measures being implemented by government agencies, private companies, universities, institutions and foundations that addresses some of the problems and move us toward a goal of doubling that rate of progress. the federal task force has gotten to work and today is announcing a dozen new actions of policies including the department of energy and veterans affairs have now formed a collaboration to apply the most powerful computational assets at the national labs to nearly half a million veterans records in one of the world's largest research cohorts. the million veteran program. the cornerstone in the president's precision medicine initiative. a new partnership bringing together 12 biopharmaceutical foundations and philanthropies to make research to make all the resulting data available to everyone, ultimately bringing new therapies to patients in
less time. early this month i went to the university of chicago for the launch of the national cancer institute genomic data -- a platform that includes genomic data, clinical trials, shared openly and broadly to advance cancer research and approve it. we're announcing today with the commitment from the foundation medicine a total number of patients has gone from what we announced 32,000 patients have accumulated, excuse me, doubled 32,000 in just over a month. the expectation and hope is it will be exponential. private, philanthropic, academic, patient oadvocacy communities have answered the call. doubling their annual research investment from 50 to $100 million aiming for a cumulative investment of $1 billion by 2021 to speed up connecting the dots
as they say between molecular information we can amass and our understanding of cancer to accelerate turning new discoveries into effective treatments, open the oncology precision network, a partnership between inner mountain health care, providence health, services, catholic health initiative, henry ford health system and snapsis. this network will link cancer genomic data for 79 hospitals, and 800 clinics across 11 states. data from more than 50,000 new cancer patients per year that can now be shared openly on a netwo network. a company called dot graph will use medicare claims data released because of the administration's open data effort to publish reports describing medicare patients, how they move through the health care system, in years before and
immediately after a cancer diagnosis. the report will show how factors such as geography, type of physicians, and providers, they see their treatments, their pathways, affect the patient's experience and affect the outcome. through a collaboration with destination brands international and mt. sinai medical center, the city of miami beach writing dispenseries on their beaches, parks, public pools for residents for millions of visitors every year. and i might add there has been no real progress in sunscreening, new sunscreen applications in i don't know this for a fact, i think almost two decades. that's a long time. the focus on prevention of miami beach will continue this program, at least until 2021. these are just some examples. there are another 30 other announcements we're making today. there are only 1900, bone
surgeon in new york named william cooley following pioneers like coke and pester and von bearing developed a theory that most surgical infections post surgical infections help patients recover better from cancer. by provoking the immune system response. he began injecting patients with streptococcus. the patients survived a little bit longer. following pioneers like cooley, scientists there developing immunotherapies have a chance to make the threat of some cancers a distant memory. imagine today perhaps when my grandchildren have children of their own, when the threat of cancer is a distant memory. when their children can be vaccinated from cancers as routinely as we vaccinate for measle and mumps.
and other cancers can be treated and cured, made into chronic conditions. folks, i've spent the better part of the last year trying to learn as much as i possibly can so become as informed as i possibly can and yet i'm not informed as many of you in the audience. i can tell you more about the psi soviet silo missile than i can about some cancers. but i worked hard. i've gotten a lot of help. and i think i'm in a position to say without being totally naive that we're on the cusp of breakthroughs that can get us there. the goal of moonshot is to propel us forward today. supporters and skeptics ask us what is the moonshot. moonshot is all of you, people listening in these -- all around the country, all of you jumping in, doing what you can to help
prevent, change lifestyles, detect, treat cancer. it is everyone who spends nights and weekends in their labs looking for the next breakthrough. it is the patients being treated for the cancers, hoping they can return to their lives and their families. patients starting foundations and companies to develop cures for their children, organizations like nih and the department of energy. and as small as alex's lemonade stand, trying to understand cancer and help patients defeat it. the moonshot is carrying the hopes and dreams of millions of people who want us to succeed, make a difference in the lives of their families, not some day, but now. the work we're doing and the work we're doing together i think can develop many of those hopes. cancer touches everyone in some way. we all have reasons for being here, survivors, patients, families, friends, physicians,
researchers. and almost every one of us in here has lost someone relatively close to us. we're all here because we can do something about it. that's what jill and i decided to do when our son beau passed. part of the moonshot is my view from my perspective internally is honoring beau, the life he lived, courage and never giving up hope. this isn't about him. it is not about a single person. it is about us. not giving up hope, and having the urgency of now. the urgency of now. i won't mention a particular agency, but we had -- one of the agen agencieses in the federal government said they're going to get a new director and they'll have it by 2016. end of 2016. i called the head of the department and said, 2016?
it is now june. if you can't get that director the next four months, tell me, we'll go find someone else who can find them. it is bizarre. some of your outfits are like that. we can do it later. because these are breakthroughs that are just beyond our grasp. we need each and every one of you, i challenge all of you to think anew about the scourge of cancer, go beyond your comfort zone, set and achieve goals that are going to change the way we do this. think about it tomorrow. look, i'll conclude by saying that i know i'm -- maybe i'm sometimes accused with total justification of being too passionate about the things i care a lot about. when we were doing the recovery act, and i was in charge of
making sure that more money got spent wisely and i met with the cabinet 16 times and i met with on the telephone for at least an hour with every single solitary governor, but one, most every mayor of the country, and most every county executive, i mean, from one to as many as 80 at a time, and there was one program we had, i won't mention it, but we weren't able to get out x percentage of money, about 28 million -- billion dollars, would have an incredible positive impact on energy and on the consumption of energy. so i turned to the head of one of the departments, brilliant guy, and i said, why hasn't this been approved yet? this person said i have a 30 person department that has to go through it. okay. i turned to the other department, involved, and i said
why hasn't this been done? he said, i have a 28 person department. i looked to my watch and i said, well, it is now 11 after 10:00. and at the time it was a tuesday. if you guys don't have this settled by 11 after 10:00 on thursday, i promise you i'm stripping those departments. son of a gun. it was done. and well. it was well. guys, some things you cannot rush. they take time. but some things the only reason they're not happening is not we don't know how to do it, we're not urgently, urgently focusing on what has to be done. finding a director, i promise you, if we lost the director, god forbid the cia, i promise we would have one very shortly. we lost a general on the
battlefield, i promise you we would have one very shortly. so my plea with you is, and i know most of you work and not a joke, i know most of you work 17, 18 hours a day, help me today be able to go back to the president and tell me what i should be doing, what we should be doing to increase the collaboration, expand the base of knowledge, and have a greater sense of urgency on the mechanical things, on the structural changes that make a difference. you're extremely gracious to put up with me. we need you badly and i really do believe it is within your power to fundamentally change and turn despair into hope. turn despair into hope a lot
sooner than later. thank you for -- bad news i'm here the whole day. i'm participating in the round tables. i wish you luck and help educate me, i mean this sincerely, help educate me is the best way to go about doing what we need to do. thank you so very much. [ applause ] >> this event is moving into a closed session now, so we are going to move on with our programming with a quick reminder that you can see today's remarks from the vice president and carol burnett from this event in our video library. go to c-span.org. and we'll have more live coverage here on c-span3. coming up later today, the european union's trade commissioner will be at the atlantic council talking about international trade. the u.s. has been working with the eu on a free trade agreement called the transatlantic trade and investment partnership or t-tip. you'll hear that term.
the commissioner will likely touch on the impact the brexit vote will have on the deal, that's live at 1:00 p.m. eastern right here on c-span3. also, president obama is headed to canada today and the look now as he departed for ottawa earlier this morning. he's there to take part in the north american leaders summit, new york times reporting that the leaders of the united states, mexico and canada will announce a north american wide climate partnership, syncing their national policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions, pledge a joint goal of generating 50% of north america's electricity from zero carbon sources by the year 2025, which is up from 37%. today they'll announce that mexico will join an existing agreement between the u.s. and canada collectively to regulate leaks of methane, potent greenhouse gas that escapes from oil and gas wells.
and then a couple of events that we're covering from those meetings today, at 3:00 p.m. eastern, it will be a joint news conference with president obama, canadian prime minister justin trudo, and mexican president enrique pena nieto, live on c-span. then later, president obama will deliver an address to the canadian parliament in ottawa, live on c-span starting at 5:35 p.m. eastern. on july 1st, 1976, the smithsonian's national air and space museum opened its doors to the public with president gerald ford on hand for the dedication. friday marks the 40th anniversary of the museum and american history tv's live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. we'll tour the museum, and see one of a kind aviation and space artifacts including the spirit of st. louis and the apollo lunar module, plus live events at the front of the building. learn more about the museum as we talk with the director, general jr jack daly, museum
curator jeremy kenny, and valerie neil chair of the museum's space history department. you can join the conversation as they'll take your phone calls, e-mails and tweets. the 40th anniversary of the smithsonian national air and space museum, live friday evening beginning at 6:00 eastern on c-span3's american history tv. the truman center for national policy and the truman national security project held their annual conference here in washington. this portion of the event involved a panel discussion with front line civilian workers. they discussed the role of public diplomacy in conflict zones. also panelists discussed need for front line training and cooperation between diplomats in the military. >> hi, everybody. and catherine. i'm honored to be here -- front line civilians, stories from the front lines. so this time slot was originally slated for a discussion between me and my good friend kim
barker. kim is the author of the taliban shuffle, strange times in afghanistan and pakistan. and it is a memoir about being an inexperienced war correspondent who -- afghan and pakistan and had a more difficult time transitioning out of the front lines and transitioning in. tina fey loved the book so much, she bought the rights to it right away and made it into a movie that came out in march called "whiskey tango foxtrot." if you haven't seen it, i recommend seeing it. it hit very close to home for those of us who lived with kim in kabul in the early days of the war. but more importantly, please read the book. it is much better than the movie, even though the movie is pretty good. so and unfortunately kim couldn't be here because her beat now is new york city. the front lines of new york city. and so she's the lead investigative reporter and was on deadline. so we decided to turn the focus of this discussion inward which i love and so i'm very, very
happy to introduce this panel. first, want to give you some background. part of what truman is doing to further the cause of front line civilians is collecting and telling their stories and thanks to the work of carrie cramer who has been critical to the front line civilians initiative the last few years -- [ applause ] and had so much fun working with, so thank you for everything, carrie. and you can logon to from the front lines.tumblr.com and read firsthand accounts of the stories, struggles and successes of many of the frontline civilians among the community. this is an initiative, this story initiative caught the attention of secretary of state heather higginbottom and her office -- not necessarily her. but it is working on -- the
office is working on reforms to how the state department approaches risks for civilians and also how they take care of and prepare civilians before, during and after their deployment. so this is a project that had some impact already. so i'm very honored to now introduce the panel on the stage. it is excellent. all of them have stepped up to share their stories on this new tumblr page. first is justin richmond, please come up and join us, justin. justin is the founder and executive director of infill project. he served on the front lines in multiple capacities as a forward deployed engineer at palintear technologies through two tours of duty in afghanistan and in the u.s. army and the southern philippines. thank you for being here. [ applause ]
anjelike young is one of the creators of the frontline civilians initiative. please join us. and she is also the senior coordinator of national actions plans at institute for inclusive security. she previously served at the u.s. department of state as senior coordinator for haiti programs at the bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs and as a senior coordinator for peace and security in the office of the director of u.s. foreign assistants and deputy director of the office of civilian police and rule of law. [ applause ] and rebecca zimmerman, another founder of the frontline civilians initiative and policy analyst at the rand cooperation and doctoral candidate in strategic studies at johns hopkins university school of advanced international studies. she has taken numerous research trips to afghanistan, the philippines and mali to study military institutions,
bureaucracy and military doctrine and conducted extensive interview s and assisted with civilian operations. welcome, becky. [ applause ] and to moderate, we have defense council member lauren katzenberg. lauren is the co-founder and managing editor of the military publication task and purpose. she is also the editorial board of war on the rocks. she herself is a front line civilian as well, having worked in kabul from 2010 to 2012, and lauren ran a u.s. embassy founded grant to bring together the local media and journalism communities to create afghan television programs and execute awareness campaigns for nonprofits. so with that, i'll turn it over to lauren to start the forum. >> thank you. whether you deploy to a conflict zone as a service member, an aid worker, a government employee, a journalist or a contractor, that experience stays with you
forever. it breaks you in some places and it makes you stronger in others, and it is not just where you served, but who you served with, the people you reached, the work that you were able to accomplish, and the work you were not able to accomplish and the people that you lost there. in the military community, we talk a lot about the transition that service members go through when they return from deployment or first get out of the military. and how challenging that adjustment period can be. front line civilians go through that same experience without those same resources. so that's why today i'm really honored to sit on this panel with these three individuals who are actively trying to change that right now. last night becky told me a little bit about how frontline civilian group at truman started and it was right here the a truman conference in 2014 with a signup sheet and open space and about eight individuals who had served in various organizations as frontline civilians talking
about their experiences. and became really apparent there was a lot of work to be done in the space. can you tell us about what has been accomplished. >> sure, yeah. never doubt that great ideas can come on the backs of napkins at truman because they absolutely did. so let's see. it has been a busy two years, you know. one of our first really big wins actually came because of catherine who herself has really been one of the architects of not just the frontline civilians initiative here at truman, but really of this conversation nationally. she hosted a conference with acpd and u.s. institute of peace and invited us and because we said, hey, we're going to tweet with the #frontlinecivilians and get our members tweeting about their experiences, they said, you know what, let's just use frontline civilians as a term.
and everyone did. and we were sitting in this conference and i'm looking at my phone and frontline civilians, this name that jj made up at truman is trending in d.c. and then the next thing we know it is trending nationally. it trended nationally for about two minutes, but still for something that came out of our brains, that was a really big moment for us and it really taught us that this is a conversation that has legs, not just in washington, but nationally. and the way in which it has legs is when we -- when we use the power of narrative and the power of stories to really actually connect with the american public, explain to them who we are and what we do and why what we do is important. and so we had some big successes in the public narrative space
with some great op-eds that we had written. there are some other folks here, matt zoeller wrote one about being a veteran, and the civilians who served alongside him. so we had some really great success with that. but we also had some truman members who on their own initiative have done some incredible things on the hill, particularly. if you check out the language of the intelligence authorization act, this year, you'll see that there are some wonderful language that supports resilience for the intelligence community. and that's something i don't think we can take credit for that in the slightest, let me be clear. but that's something that is because we created that conversation, people were able to have a conversation that came from a place of understanding that this is an issue for people. and then most recently just this week, usip had another
conference talking about balancing mission accomplishment and risk for frontline diplomats and development professionals and heather higginbottom, you know, speaking on behalf of the state department is giving a speech and she says, you know, we call these people frontline civilians because such and such and such and such and i just thought to myself, what an incredible two years it has been to go from a name being made up and written down on the back of a napkin at truman to the state department saying this is a category of people. this is a real thing, but there are people who make a living as civilians, government workers, contractors, ngo workers and journalists working in dangerous places. that's where we have been. yeah. crazy. >> incredible. anjelike, starting with you, when you first joined the state department, were you aware of the risks that you would be
facing? what were the motivations for joining? >> it is funny, i was not one of those people who grew up wanting to be part of a state department and i had no idea the risks i was facing because my first day on the job was september 10th, 2001. didn't know i would be assigned to the afghanistan police program until a couple of days later. so i really had no context for it. i knew i wanted to travel and when i met with the recruiter, it seemed like this really cool thing that was sort of abstract, you know, go overseas and help countries build the rule of law and somebody fresh out of law school, nothing sounded more ideal than that kind of job. the reality for the first time that they sent me overseas was a little bit different. i think the first time i heard gunshots was that moment i went, oh, yeah, okay. so there is something here to that. and in those days too, it just -- there really wasn't, i think, any sense you needed to prepare people for that. because nobody knew in some senses what you were going to
experience overseas. i think when you look at places like afghanistan, and how many civilians ended up serving there, i don't think anybody at the beginning had any concept of what it was going to look like a few years later into that mission. and on that point, i want to add there is one more success too, this comes from another truman member, i want to highlight, and that's the work that cameron chisholm is doing with his organization, ipsi. there is resources for -- in place at the state department. i think usaid can use them as well. you're nodding, good. those are something that didn't exist and i don't think we even knew -- needed to exist. so, yeah, i had no idea what i was getting into when i came to the state department and until many years later, really. >> justin, you served in the military and also as a front line civilian, so can you talk a little bit about the value that civilians offer to the military and also some of the challenges that these two groups have working together?
>> yeah. i fundamentally believe that civilians bring a paradigm and a tool kit that folks in the military don't have. i had the opportunity to serve with army special operations. there is this mystique about special operation soldiers, they're able to do things that other people don't do. but, why uh-uh knin reference t you brought up, my story, my experience is very different. it was where we were hammers and everything around us was a nail. even though that wasn't the environment we were in, and that's -- that was the paradigm we viewed the world. i fundamentally believe two of the men i served with would be here today if we had frontline civilians within our task force. usaid adviser, state department adviser that could have looked across the table and said, we're not doing that. and if you try to overrule, hold fast, let me call the ambassador, let's get his opinion on this. but we made some mistakes, got to learn from those.
so there say tool kit that civilians bring that the military just doesn't have. we were, you know, we were jakz of all trades, but masters of none, especially in the complex environment we're working in. the expertise that anjelike, becky many people bring is vital. if the conflicts we were involved in right now were solved at the tip of an m-4, we would have solved the problems a long time ago. the trick is socializing this approach within the military and getting them to open up and to realize the limitations of their own training. but then on the civilian side, to say, look, you know, these military guys have access to placement you don't have and they will go out there and they are some of the bravest men and women you will everybody serve with, so work together. there is progress. there is progress everywhere. but there is still a long way to go. >> now, becky, you were there in
afghanistan as a frontline civilian. what was your experience working with the military? >> wow, well, i love working with the military. it is an incredible thing to see what happens when a military goes to war. i don't think that you can understand it unless you really have seen it had you see, you know, a whole bunch of chinooks take off at the same time, and you think, how can we do that? that's amazing. over here on the other side of the world. but it can also be really hard when you see things and you're outside the system, looking in, and you can tell them things, you know that they need to hear. and that people inside the system want to hear. but there is not really a great path sometimes to take on board civilian points of view or outside analysis. so for me, i don't know, there
has always been -- what i consider my job when i'm deployed, it is to provide really long-term thinking, thinking that is not driven by the next fire fight, thinking that is not driven by the next frago, fragmentary order, the next e-mail, the next anything, thinking that is for the long-term. but because it is thinking for the long-term, you have to fight for your point of view. one of the things i was reflected on just the other day in conversation with tony johnson was how much my sense of self has changed because i've worked with the military. and i know that is something that you would hear a soldier or sailor or airman or marine say, but to hear civilians say i'm a different because of my military experience comes across really
weird, but i used to be afraid of conflict. i was one of those people, just avoided it like the plague and now a decade in and out of war zones, you know, somebody says something that is messed up and i can look them straight in the eye an say, absolutely not. i'm not backing down. i'm not -- i think my identity has changed a lot through working in the military as well, which is just one of the side benefits. >> i want to talk about training. and the training that you received before deploying to afghanistan through rand core to prepare for the conflict, and any training you received afterwards as a debrief of any sort. >> so my predeployment preparation, my first deployment to afghanistan, which was 2007, and before that, i never had any preparation for the things i had done as a scholar and so forth, but for my first deployment to
afghanistan, i went to the military's civilian and contractor deployment center. and the only afghanistan specific training i was supposed to get was in afghanistan culture brief that was just a power point i was supposed to click through on my own and i opened it up and it was actually a briefing on iraqi political history and i went to the guy and i said, i'm sorry, i think i have the wrong one and am i sitting at the wrong computer, he said, no, that's it, that's the brief. so that was pretty much it for what i got. subsequent to that, i had some better training, i think some of the best training out there is when they gave you -- they give civilians the tactical combat care training which they give to the military, which is quick and dirty, how to stop -- something like 80% of injuries are one of five things and if you know how to deal with those things, you
know how to help people in the field. that gave me so much confidence to feel that there was a chance i might be more than dead weight if stuff went really wrong. but it is always a struggle. and in 20 10, for deployment was supposed to do around helmand for four months in the summertime on the roads, i requested vehicle rollover training which was denied because they told me the training was too dangerous for civilians. so it was cool for me to ride around helmand in the summer of 2010 like midsurge, everything, but it was not cool for me to take the training. and instead they told me the one required training that i had to complete was gas mask training. i learned a lesson, don't wear a wool turtleneck into the gas mask chamber. it will just stay on you for the
rest of the day. i had my goldie hawn moments. >> what about when you came back? >> private benjamin. you know private benjamin. i never had anything when i came back. there has never been any reacclimation or anything. i'm tremendously, tremendously grateful for one thing, one colleague did when i came back, which was that she said, you know why you're having trouble it because you don't have any friends who are veterans and she sent me an e-mail and connected me to every military veteran she knew in the state of new york, where i was living at the time. and that became my community for a long period of time and that really, really helped. >> i had a very similar experience coming back after four years of being overseas. and not -- coming back alone to nothing. but finding task and purpose very quickly and that military
community and finding people who had been in the same places i had been was really probably the only way i was able to kind of process a lot of what i had gone through. but imagine there are many people that come home that don't find that military community or other frontline civilians and there is no resources there for them. so anjelike, i want to ask you a little bit about training at the state department offers, even before deployment or after to help government employees reacclimate and if these can be applied by nongovernment organizations. >> so i was a td wire temporary duty status when i traveled. so i had zero training either before or after. the only training that i ever had was actually training that i sort of snuck into, the contractor, my good friend john gaswright who spoke earlier did training for its contractors that went overseas on the program that i managed and so
under the guise of checking up on the training, i sat through their training course because it was the closest thing i had to any sort of preparation for what going to the field was like and that wasn't until i had already been several times. and so the presumption was for td wire is that you're there for such a short period of time, that you don't need that training. you don't need to know what you're going to see, because you're probably not going to see that much action or you don't need to know how to deal with the aftermath of trauma because you're probably not going to see trauma. and i think in some senses going in and out all the time was actually harder. when things happen, there is no decompression time. one minute, you're in the aftermath of a bomb explosion and then at the next minute you can't even remember how you got home, standing at the funeral of some contractor who was killed in that explosion. there is just no decompression time. i know that there is more training now and there say lot being done at the state department, which i'm so happy to see. i think td wire still falls into a gap and i actually am very
proud that the ngo i work for is doing something phenomenal training initiative designed at helping those of us who spend time overseas dealing with not necessarily trauma ourselves but people traumatized even. unfortunately, i didn't see good training at the state department and i'm -- i think it is one of the gaps that we need to consider and really need to rethink overall our approach to how we understand preparation. it is not about how long you're in the field, it is about how well you're able to process what you see when you go there and understanding that even though your experience of one week may minimize the chances that something bad is going to happen or something difficult is going to happen, it doesn't erase them. if you're working on a program like i was, the police program, quite frankly, the travel requirement, going to kandahar, every time i went to afghanistan, the chances of seeing something bad in kandahar were high, no matter if i was there for 24 hours or 72 hours. it is one of the things i look
back and really -- i would have had more preparation. but it is part of the reason why i'm so excited to see some of the work that is being done either through the kdr or organizations like cameron's or other organization and ngos. i think the reverse is true, there is a lot we can learn from the ngo community and private sector on things they do for their employees that can then be applied in turn to civilians. >> justin, we hear a lot from service members and veterans that when they come home, they miss the battlefield, they miss the conflict. if you're familiar with sebastian younger's wojunger's talks a lot about that. it is not the war they miss, but they miss the brotherhood and the camaraderie and the sense of purpose. do you think there is a similar sense of purpose within frontline civilians in the sense of becoming addicted to conflict zones? >> absolutely. i wouldn't frame it that way, but i think it -- i think the
general principle is true. i don't think there is an addiction necessarily to, like, combat itself. but i think there is an addiction to mission. and there is an addiction to real purpose. i think, you know, when people ask me, like, what this is like, i think about that -- what was the movie with the bomb -- the bomb guy, in iraq, hurt locker. the -- not a great movie. that's not what eod does, don't cut the wire, just robot blow it up. it is true. don't cut the wire. so the great scene of that is where he is in -- he's in baghdad, you know, slugging it out, and then just a couple of days later he's standing in the cereal aisle of the supermarket looking at 200 different cereal options. and you go from these environments where every decision you make matters and
sometimes it matters whether or not you live or die, but it certainly matters whether or not some of these communities that you are trying to serve are going to make it to the next time you come back. and then you hop on the big metal tube, rose jackson talks about, the big metal tube and you're back in america and you're choosing cereal for your daughter. and it is surreal. and that's where i think once you've gone really substantive work in conflict zones, countries in transition, it is hard to come back to the u.s. i -- small talk is really, really tough. going to happy hours, kind of rough in this town, even though this town runs on happy hours. it is like, what do you do? >> one reason why i love having friends who have served in the military, frontline civilians, we all have this same one little tick, which is we can be having a very light, very silly, very fun conversation and it goes
dark for, like, 30 seconds and then it comes right back. and another thing -- and that's like that time in kabul when blah, blah, blah. and everybody is like mm-hmm. so -- >> that's the funny thing about serving in these environments is one moment everything is fine, next moment is utter chaos. and then a moment later, it is fine again. and that -- you almost never see that. and so the world, it could be on a different planet. that's how different it is. i think the real attraction to being on the front line civilian is still making a decision. and helping people and serving people in whatever capacity you are. >> that's why -- that's the reason why i think this is so important, not just about wanting to be a front line civilian, but knowing that you have the capacity, that you have the capacity to continue to make the decisions. and one of the things, one of my responsibilities was managing
all these contractors who had deployed and we had all sorts of rules about how long somebody could stay in the field because i'll tell you, every single one of the police officers that we were defly afghanistploy to afg they could have stayed there, they would. you have to get to a point where you say how effective are you if you're no longer dealing with things or processing things in a n normal way? it is not just about the individual, it is also about the mission. at the end of the day, the frontline civilians are at their best when they're healthiest in every respect. that means taking the time to care. that's, to me, probably the most important thing about what we're trying to do. >> yeah. i want to open it up right now to the audience if there are any questio questions. >> thank you all so much for
your time today. anjelike, would you mind sharing some of your experiences in haiti? >> in haiti? >> yes. >> it is funny, sometimes when i say haiti, people are, like, haiti must have been easy. after afghanistan. actually i think i found haiti more terrifying in some respects. my very first trip to haiti, part of the reason i took that mission in all honesty is that i burnt out in a very trauma ridden way from the work in afghanistan and iraq, and i knew i couldn't handle it anymore and so i also knew i had to deploy, so i picked what i thought would be the easiest place to deploy to that my office managed, that was haiti. on my very first night, again, no briefing, nothing really to know what to expect when i got there, my driver picked me up, in one of the cars, i recognized the car as one of the vehicles, the heavy armored vehicles we had in afghanistan, which was the first thing that threw me off. that doesn't belong here in haiti. i recognize this vehicle. and then we're driving up this hillside and if you ever have
been to port-au-prince, all the hotels are up on these incredibly steep inclines and i'm, like this is a level six armored suv. i really am not sure about this. and sure enough, i start to see smoke coming out of the front of the car and i looked to my driver, like, franc, i think there is something wrng with the engine. he's like it is okay, it is okay. soon flames are coming out. i'm, like, really, franc, i think there is something wrong with it. we pull over. the entire car catches on fire. almost dark and all i knew about haiti at that point in port-au-prince is you weren't supposed to be out at night. and so franc is like, i'm going to go get help. i'm, like, you're just going to leave me here? he's, like, no, it will be okay. i'll send somebody from the u.n. to pick you up. i'm standing bit side of the road on this hillside, dark, with my bag, waiting for some guy i don't even know in the u.n. just going this is not a good situation. like, out of the frying pan into the fire. that was my introduction to port-au-prince. and i actually -- haiti became
very quickly my favorite program i ever worked on. there is a deep emotional connection i formed to that country. been a long time since i've been back and that's hard for me. i look for every possible excuse in my current job to get there and none of them have worked yet. but i think haiti from a vicarious trauma perspective, if you're familiar with that term, haiti is hard to take because what you see of people, you're so much closer in that city to seeing people's individual struggles on an everyday basis. it can be -- i found it much, much harder to actually process the things i saw there than maybe some of the things i saw in afghanistan or iraq, even though there wasn't as much individual loss of life of people that i knew, the earthquake which was horrible, it was harder. it was actually much harder.
>> the -- looking to the future, and the role of civilians, diplomacy, that sort of older concept, development workers working in conflict zones, what are your views on -- what can we do to ensure that they're part of the mix when it comes to how we exert our influence, and how we operate in these difficult sort of environments? >> i'll field that one. i like this one. joe, good question. i thought that the group yesterday that went over to ronald reagan building and engaged with some of the leadership there and steven lenin made a great point about this in reference to office of transition initiatives. they said, you know, we really tried to reject the prevailing
narrative about any place we're working because they wouldn't be coming to us if that prevailing narrative was correct. and i was, like, wow, i can't believe somebody in government leadership said that. it was brilliant. i think this is the opportunity that the u.s. government, the dod has in bringing more civilians in, because a lot of civilians out working in the spaces, in this very fluid and dynamic changing world, are much closer to the problem than the people that are writing scopes of work over main state, usaid, people advising, people within the theater of special operations command and i don't think there is a successful way forward without leveraging that expertise. because quite frankly, if we are to really look back humbly the last 15 years, i don't think there are many successes that we can point out. and that means we need to look at how do we bring in the right people to help us have a very
balanced holistic approach to some of the problems. the world is changing every month. it is remarkable to me. and it is mostly breaking. few things going on. but a lot of things breaking. i don't think we get at this by having a very shortsighted and usg internal view of those problems. >> i just want to add, if you're here yesterday, you heard secretary alex fanning, secretary of the army, who said i don't think we can go to war without civilian support, without civilians on the front lines. and while that's absolutely true, i would expand that. i don't think that we can prevent war without civilians on the front lines. and it is really hard to make an evidence-based argument for that because how can you document a nonevent, a thing that didn't happen? but i think that we look, we can
really find evidence for diplomatic engagement, for humanitarian engagement, and the role that that played in addressing deep roots of conflict. and we don't always get it right. we don't get it perfect. we're living in an era where we are frankly relearning how to do some of that. but i think that it is really -- if what we want is to keep our troops from having to go to places, if what we want is to keep a world that is stable and have the shared prosperity of a world that is not deeply driven by war, civilians are really -- i wouldn't even say civilians are an important tool in that. civilians are the tool. that is to get there before the war. but, you know, it is an important -- it is an important
part of what civilian initiative is trying to do. also an important part of what truman at large is trying to do is to make that argument for engagement, for engagement with the world. and that's something that, you know, we can't even have the conversation about taking care of front line civilians until we can all agree that frontline civilians need to be out there and they need to be taking risks. >> hi. i've been on a frontline civilian, it is fantastic to hear your stories. so somebody said, you know, there is a lot that government can learn from the ngo community, someone in the ngo community can take care of the frontline civilians really well. a lot of them don't. and there are a lot of gaps. and there are a lot of reasons
for that, but most of them ahav benjamin franklin's face on them. from an advocacy perspective, i would like to hear you reflect goes and as a community how we can support filling in those gaps, standardizing duty and care provisions across not just government but the entire development sector and what -- what's the plan going forward? thanks. >> i understood from secretary fanning's tweet yesterday that truman was a forum for softball questions. >> there are a couple things, being part of the ngo community, and honestly, the organization i work for is very thoughtful when it comes to their people. i do recognize a lot of the resources we have when it comes to this are not the resources that other organizations have. i kind of go back to my time at state and i say what dictated
what grantees, ngos or contractors, private companies would do is what state would do. if state says it's mandatory that everybody who is applying ought to have x, y, or z training or resources when they come back, they mandate that for their quote/unquote regular employees and they start breaking down some of the boundaries that exist between okay, you're a foreign serviceophorous service office you get this, just presume that at the end of the day, it's diplomacy, everybody someday have that core competency, then i think you start to see an impact felt at the ngos. let's be honest, those of us who work for the ngos know the resources we get when we get a grant are so minimal that carving out the funding to do that training on our own is impossible. you have to decide it's a priority you are willing to live
being eaten out of your budget unless the mandate is coming from the agencies that give you the grant. i put it back on state aid and dod to sent a strong mandate and a strong message about that because that's the only way you make it possible for the vast majority of ngos in this community to do that pl preparation, because you're right. moe people don't get that and it's a real gap. >> one thing i would add, and this is coming from the perspective of running an ngo, i think there are very creative solutions here. and some of the things we're talking about internally is how do we build in this type of training into like the fringe compensation package, where we're able to subsidize that training. i remember before i deployed what my unit did. i know what training i thought was valuable and what isn't. everybody, you know, can certainly opt out. i don't think they should. but i see this all the time in the people that send us resumes. they're coming out of sites, out
of school, coming out of tufts, and i'm like, you're really smart. do you know how to drive a stick? no. and i'm like, well -- let's teach you how to drive a stick. this actually gets back to your broader point about teachable. you can't drive a stick. i'm sure you can. but like, the value of having just some trauma training, some trauma care training is absolutely valuable. the one thing that i'll say is how do we build on the backside? i think i could very easily craft a free deployment program. but how do we talk when people come back and have seen traumatic things and even when they're still operating remotely as a lot of civilians do. as a program manager, working with people that may be at risk or may be harmed. we have to think as a community, and have that conversation.
>> i am also going to quickly throw this back on everyone here, which is i know that this is going to sound like a butterfly beating its wings in the amazon, and it's going to change all these big things, but particularly when we're talking not about government contractors, but about ngo workers and journalists, it's really hard to say, you know, we're going to start arguing for legislative change over here and, you know, suddenly on this end, free-lance war correspondents are going to get stable pay so they can buy insurance. you know, but really the only way to do this in the long run, to give this something that has the legs and the musculture to be able to change the system rit large is to change the public
narrative, to change the way we talk about the work that happens in these places of crisis and conflict. to change the conversation about what happens when we're there and what happens when we come home. so i'm going to make a plug for the story bank, and say that you can actually submit your own stories on here. that's what we hope everyone will start to do. do it yourself, tell your friends. it's not actually -- the stories are really short. you can go with a paragraph about your experience. something that you want people to know. it's a cathartic experience, potentially. and this is a way to actually start to aggregate this so we get these experiences all in one place. it's really important to us that frontline civilians is not just state department people or contractors but it's the whole community of all of us. and when we actually start to share these narratives, people
connect to it. i mean, i can then start -- i can tell a story about a thing that happened to me and have someone who has never been to afghanistan look at me and say, well, that's not right. you know, somebody needs to change something. so the more stories that we have like this, and if you would all, if you have been a frontline civilian at any point or if you know some frontline civilians, if we can all make this happen, this is the start of systemic change, i really do think that. >> we have time for one or two more questions. over here. >> so, i completely agree with all of these comment about the need for civilians on the front line, and becky, you said savellians need to take risks. in the case of syria in particular where i think in syria and iraq, jordan, lebanon,
turkey, where you have the spillover effect, there's a significant need for the involvement of civilians on the front line, whether it's in a humanitarian role or even as journalists. how do you balance those two needs between having frontline civilians in that conflict with the extreme risk that is posed, particularly when you face a group such as isil, who have publicly stated they put a premium on kidnapping westerners in order to ransom them for millions of dollars and balancing the need between having civilians there, particularly in a place like syria where militarily you don't have the same protections you might have in a place like iraq or afghanistan, but the importance of having civilians there? >> okay. that's a really good question. and that's actually what the panel was about this week. i'm sure it was great. >> you web casted it, though, right? >> yeah. i was on that. i work a lot in a place becoming one of the capitals for
kidnappings for ransom in the world, and one of the things you have to understand is everybody has a different risk profile. and within our organization, we have a fairly risk-seeking profile, because that's the type of work we do, and our local partners help us out. iic think every organization has to approach this intelligently. when angelic had this conversation an hour ago, asking what kind of people we're looking for? survivable and effective. you have to have both. we want survivable, i can go back to my buddy who got out of the army and put them in these places. they'll live through it, but they won't do anything good. i love them to death, but they know that. i have told them that. on the other side of this is there's a lot of people in this town alone that would be enormously effective if this were like working out in montgomery county. enormously effective at these problems. these problems don't exist in montgomery county for this reason.
it's tricky. as you were naming off the countries, i was thinking to myself, i would work there, i would work there, i wouldn't work there, i would work there, because that's a calculus that has to go into every organization. i would tell anybody thinking about this until you know how to operate in these areas, until you know how your staff will operate in these areas, you have to be risk averse. and then lessons learned. >> go ahead. >> i was going to say for me, the level of risk comes down to the information. as long as i'm making an informed decision, as long as you're being honest about what i can expect when i go there and i accept that, then we're good. right? i had the same reaction to you in my main project right now is in jordan and i love it and i'm going back in another month. aside from the time it's the hot time of year, i'm really cool with that. at the end of the day, so long as people know. i get the same question honestly because my other work has to do with engaging women in security structures and people wisay, oh, but you know, women in
afghanistan, if they're going to become police officers, isn't that a huge risk for them personally? yes, of course. absolutely, but if they know that and you have given them all the information, you're nod hiding anything and they choose to do that, to take that choice away from them is no better. as a frontline civilian, if i go into a situation, you tell we what i can expect, you give me the tools to survive on the ground and i still want to go, then i'm the right person to do that job. that's what we need to understand, frontline civilians when adequately prepared are absolutely critical. absolutely critical. >> where i think it gets complicated, ooven more complicated is when you're talking about large organizations like government institutions because they have to be a little more rule-based, standard operating procedure based. it's harder to say, well, okay, i have talked to this person. this person knows what they're doing. they have good spidey senses. i trust this person to go out and do it. you have to have policies and