Following Account of Anne and Yochi Dreazen provided by: Wes Reichart
May 22, 2013
On Wednesday, the National Security fellows had the great pleasure of hearing from Mrs. Anne Dreazen and her husband, Mr. Yochi Dreazen. Anne currently serves as a Middle East Country Director in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Mr. Dreazen is a widely-acclaimed journalist, who was the National Journal’s Senior Correspondent for military affairs and national security in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Dreazens provided students with a wonderful inside look into the ground-level operations of the post 9-11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their differing perspectives provided a great dichotomy regarding the success of the U.S. surge in Iraq.
Anne views the surge as considerably successful in changing the level of violence on the ground. However, Yochi argued that the surge failed largely in its efforts to reconcile the government and provide stability. Although he acknowledges that lives were certainly saved, he views this “second part of the mission” as a reason to largely dismiss the success of the Iraq conflict surge. As the discussion with students continued, Anne and Yochi offered a wide variety of views on possible security concerns, tactics, policy, and strategy in the Middle East. Their expertise and varying perspectives provided for very engaging interactions.
After the Dreazens, we heard from W. Bonds Wells, Jr., who works for the intelligence component of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). We discussed how drugs can pose serious threats to national security and the lack of communication between different aspects of the intelligence community. With the recent focus on counterterrorism, it was interesting to hear how controlled substances can really harm the citizens and overall stability of a country. We also heard from two intelligence analysts (one from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the other from the National Center for Counterterrorism). It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – engaging with the very people who know the unknown…incredible.