Webinar | Global Dialogue: Foreign Interference in Election 2020 | Jun 10

Global Dialogue: International Affairs Speakers Program

“Foreign Interference in America’s Democracy: Election 2020”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 1:00pm CT (2:00pm ET)

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 1:00pm CT (2:00pm ET)

The Tennessee World Affairs Council is pleased to partner with the Alliance for Securing Democracy to bring this important topic to you — in a bipartisan perspective — in a special edition of our Global Dialogue speakers program.

FOREIGN interference in our democracy isn’t just about Russia – and it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Foreign-backed cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and hack and leak efforts aimed at damaging our democratic system only exacerbate the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. China has shown an increasing willingness to adopt more aggressive “Russian-style” information manipulation tactics to mislead Americans about the coronavirus. U.S. state and local officials are rightfully working to adjust election day plans to account for the pandemic, and foreign actors could seize on changes to try to mislead Americans about the voting process. Ultimately, these efforts are part of a longer continuum to undermine democracy in the United States, regardless of who occupies the White House or which party controls Congress.

Rachael Dean Wilson and Dave Salvo from the bipartisan Alliance for Securing Democracy will discuss the tools and tactics used by authoritarian actors like Russia, China, and Iran to accomplish these goals ahead of the 2020 election and beyond.

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Resources On The Topic

Rachael Dean Wilson is the head of external affairs at the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Rachael honed her strategic communication skills while serving in senior roles on Capitol Hill and political campaigns, as well as working in corporate communications and PR consulting. Most recently, Rachael served as communications director to Senator Jon Kyl and prior to that, she was a regional PR Director at Whole Foods Market where she managed strategic, crisis and consumer communications for the company’s Mid-Atlantic and South regions. Rachael worked for the late Senator John McCain for six years, most recently serving as his Senate communications director and as an adviser to his reelection campaign in 2016. From 2014 to 2015, Rachael was the vice president of public relations at a boutique communications firm, where she built and managed the PR team, worked with a broad range of clients and developed new business. From 2010 to 2014, she worked as Senator McCain’s press secretary in the Senate. She began her career as a press assistant on McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rachael received a bachelor’s degree in communications and public service from the University of Pennsylvania.

David Salvo is the deputy director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Salvo is the principal author of The ASD Policy Blueprint for Countering Authoritarian Interference in Democracies. He has appeared on media including NPR, CNN, Fox Business, ABC News, and VOA. Prior to joining GMF, Salvo was a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, serving most recently as the deputy secretary of state’s policy advisor for Europe, Eurasia, and international security issues. Salvo also advised senior-level State Department negotiators on the protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus, worked on U.S. policies toward NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and served overseas in Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He speaks Russian and Serbo-Croatian and has a basic knowledge of French. Salvo received his master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies and a bachelor’s degree in government and Russian from Georgetown. He is an avid music lover and plays in several DC-area bands, including a tribute to the nationally renowned rock band Phish.

Mark Braden is a seasoned political operative and government affairs professional with extensive experience advising clients to achieve positive policy, regulatory and political outcomes. At Mercury, Braden has advised clients on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country focused on defense, foreign affairs, trade, health care, education, transportation, regulatory, and procurement issues. Braden also specializes in leading public affairs campaigns for non-profits and corporate clients to impact legislation and public opinion both in Washington and across the country.

LCDR Patrick Ryan, USN (Ret) is a native of New York City. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and volunteered for submarine duty. He served aboard nuclear fast attack and ballistic missile boats during the Cold War, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In 1982 he was commissioned and served aboard a cruiser in the Western Pacific before becoming a Navy Intelligence Officer. Ryan served aboard the carrier Constellation in the Pacific, the Joint Staff Intelligence Directorate in the Pentagon, the Center for Naval Analysis, and the Intelligence Directorate of U.S. Central Command. Ryan retired from the Navy in 1998 and worked as a consultant on Intelligence Community projects and as the VP/COO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Ryan ran a newsletter publishing business on international affairs from 1999-2016. He founded the Tennessee World Affairs Council in 2007.

About the Alliance for Securing Democracy

ASD is a D.C.- based, bipartisan initiative housed at the German Marshall Fund of the United States that develops comprehensive strategies to deter, defend against, and raise the costs on authoritarian efforts to undermine and interfere in democratic institutions. Founded by Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio’s foreign policy advisers following the 2016 election, ASD operates on the belief that bipartisanship is central to combatting the threat of foreign interference in an impactful way.  That’s why we’re deploying ASD’s bipartisan pairs to engage communities around the country on how authoritarian actors like Russia and China use tools and tactics such as information operations, cyberattacks, political and social subversion, strategic economic coercion, and malign finance to weaken our democratic institutions.

We’ve found that when a Republican and Democrat come together to discuss this issue, people on both sides of the political spectrum listen. We’ve covered topics from the disinformation war and the role of state-backed media to election security and big-picture lessons from foreign interference in 2016.







The mission of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.


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