War and Tweets: Terrorism in America in the Digital Age

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"Here in Orlando, we are reminded not only of our obligations as a country to be resolute against terrorists,” President Obama said in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, “we're also reminded...that what unites us is far stronger than the hate and the terror of those who target us.”

In the past year, terrorists have struck not only in Orlando, but in cities all over the world, from Beirut to Brussels, seeking to generate fear and anger. But what really determines public reaction? Is it, indeed, possible to be resolute in the face of terrorism?

Join us on October 25th at New America as we examine these questions and launch a new report as part of the “Building Civic Resilience to Terrorism” project, a partnership between New America and the charitable organization Democracy Fund Voice.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will join the Hon. Sharon Burke, Director of the Resource Security program at New America, Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst, and Dr. Peter Singer, Senior Fellow of the International Security Program at New America to discuss how political rhetoric, news media, and social media shape the public reaction to terrorism. The panel will also look at how to use strategic communications to build community resilience in the aftermath of an attack.


The Honorable Sharon Burke @burkese
Senior Adviser, New America and former Assistant Secretary of Defense

The Honorable Mayor Buddy Dyer @orlandomayor
City of Orlando

Juliette Kayyem @juliettekayyem
CNN National Security Analyst, former Undersecretary for Homeland Security, State of Massachusetts and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Peter Singer @peterwsinger
Strategist and Senior Fellow, International Security Program at New America

Katie Wheelbarger
Policy Director and Counsel, Senate Armed Services Committee


The Honorable Sharon E. Burke is a senior advisor to New America, where she focuses on international security and a new program, Resource Security, which examines the intersection of security, prosperity, and natural resources. Before joining New America, Ms. Burke served in the Obama Administration as the assistant secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, a new office that worked to improve the energy security of U.S. military operations. Prior to her service at DoD, Ms. Burke held a number of senior U.S. government positions, including at the Department of State in the George W. Bush Administration, and was a vice president and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

The Honorable Mayor Buddy Dyer has served Orlando’s residents since 2003 and is a regional leader for Central Florida, one of the nation’s fastest-growing areas and one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. As mayor his accomplishments include the opening of three community venues – the Amway Center, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Camping World Stadium. Recently, Forbes named Orlando No. 2 nationally as the best place to buy real estate, No. 3 in job growth and No. 4 as the happiest place to work. Prior to being Mayor, he served for a decade in the Florida Senate. His colleagues elected him as their Democratic Senate Leader, a position he held for three years. Mayor Dyer earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Brown University and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida College of Law. Before he chose to serve in public office, Mayor Dyer worked as an environmental engineer. 

Juliette Kayyem is one of the nation’s leading experts on homeland defense and national security, having served as both a state official in Massachusetts and a Federal official at the Department of Homeland Security. Today, she’s an entrepreneur, running her own company, Kayyem Solutions, LLC; a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School; and an on-air security analyst for CNN. She is also a podcaster and author, and her book, Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home, was released in April 2016.

Peter Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at New America. The author of multiple award-winning books, he is considered one of the world's leading experts on 21st century security issues. Singer is a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine and the founder of NeoLuddite, a technology advisory firm. He has worked as a consultant for the US military, Defense Intelligence Agency, and FBI, as well as advised a wide-range of technology and entertainment programs.

Katie Wheelbarger currently serves as Policy Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee and also acts as Senator McCain's staff lead on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  Previous to this position, Ms. Wheelbarger served as Deputy Staff Director on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during the tenure of Chairman Mike Rogers.  Prior to moving to Capitol Hill, Ms. Wheelbarger served as Counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney and Counselor to Secretary Chertoff at the Department of Homeland Security.  She also litigated with two law firms and clerked on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  She is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School.