It has been a while since I have posted, but I have been skulking in the background.

I am currently working to organize a conference in DC dealing with (US) national security broadly defined, and we have hit a bit of a hiccup in looking for experts. One of the areas that we would like to discuss is strategy in Afghanistan, and the theoretical Afghanistan-like places where we might find ourselves involved militarily in the future.

The one side of the argument is that we need to pursue COIN-esque strategies, much like in IZ, where we secure the populations with large numbers of troops, and so on. That side of the argument is easy to find people both inside and outside government who believe that, have credibility, and who are vociferous in that argument. The other side is the side that argues that there are just to many boots on the ground and that we need to tread a lot more lightly, or not at all. While there are some people in the government who believe that, and have spoken up, they seem to be less numerous, and also high ranking (ergo not available), and out side of government the ones I know of either do not "brief well" or lack a degree of credibility.

What I am looking for are suggestions of people who we probably could get to sit as experts in a breakout session dealing with this topics (and potentially others that interest them) comprised of serious scholars, soldiers, and government personnel. Most importantly, these must be people who can actively argue their well point against smart and experienced opponents, with some claim to legitimacy in the security community, so no knee-jerk hippies, and so on. We are informally calling this portion of the conference our GS-14/5 sessions, to give you an idea of the level of audience and participants we are expecting.

You can recommend yourself, and I would even like that, or send PM's if you prefer. We are hoping this conference will be well attended, and the readers of this board will likely feel right at home with most of the topics. I will of course post more details as they are available.