We no longer have the luxury of viewing the world from a linear perspective. The compounding effects of global events and the speed at which they occur produce exponential shifts in market dynamics.
Academy respects the importance of ever-increasing globalization and inter-connectedness of the world today. Through the Geopolitical Insights, Academy ensures that our clients are offered premier insights into the complicated geopolitical environment by leveraging our veteran connection to provide access to some of the most senior ex-military officers in America.
On November 9th, Saudi Arabia advised its citizens in Lebanon to leave immediately, as did Kuwait (their neighbor and Gulf ally). This guidance comes on the heels of a contentious power consolidation by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS), and an attempted missile strike by the Iranian-backed Houthis rebels on the Riyadh Airport.
On Saturday, November 5th, King Salman issued a royal decree establishing a new anti-corruption committee. He appointed his son, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), as the committee’s leader and within a few hours sweeping arrests were made. Acting without support of the senior princes, MBS arrested and detained eleven princes, senior government officials, an undisclosed number of prominent businessmen linked to the royal family, and top military officers. Among those arrested on corruption charges, were Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, the Minister of Economy, and scores of Islamic scholars, judges, and intellectuals, whose views run the gamut from ultra-conservative to liberal. With this consolidation of power, MBS now commands all three hands of the Ministry of Defense.
As we approach President Trump’s visit to Asia over the next two weeks, global attention remains fixated on the growing strain between the United States and North Korea. Most recently, concern has concentrated on the repositioning of three American aircraft carriers. The USS Roosevelt and the USS Nimitz have found a new station operating in the western Pacific. They join the USS Reagan which maintains a permanent presence in the region conducting combined training with South Korea. While the DOD acknowledges this amassing is unusual, it should not necessarily signal alarm. This posturing is not an indicator that military operations are imminent. It is, however, a prudent move with our President in the Far East to have this “additional firepower” in close proximity. If for no other reason, at least it sends a message to the North Korean regime…“In case you forgot, we’re ready.”
President Trump’s decision to decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has raised questions and concerns across the globe about the future of the U.S.-brokered, multilateral deal. Many of those questions will have to wait until we see how Congress chooses to respond. In the meantime, it is necessary to acknowledge the impact that the President’s announcement makes today.
The current tension on the Korean peninsula today is palpable. Conditions on any given day are always in a state of guarded calm. However, the accelerated North Korean nuclear developments and our President’s “don’t test my patience” red line highlight the diplomatic razor’s edge between normalcy, an acceptable accommodation of the brutal regime in Pyongyang, and the reality of war.
Living in an ever changing and volatile world, predicting the future of our geopolitical climate can seem like a futile and nearly impossible task. The election of President Trump, the shocking result of the BREXIT vote, and North Korea’s steady development of intercontinental missiles and nuclear warheads caught many by surprise. During the past year, Academy Securities and its Advisory Board, which includes several former United States military officers, have attempted to make sense of the headlines and the decisions of today’s global leaders.
As a nation, we are presently consumed by the latest revelations about Russia’s objective to deepen its influence in our elections through aggressive cyber attack. The media has labeled this as “meddling,” which woefully understates its significance. Theirs was a campaign of computer network attacks designed to weaken our democracy. Our nation will survive and emerge stronger as a result.
Academy is honored to have accomplished and experienced individuals present a unique perspective on global, political, and economic events to our clients. Academy hopes this commentary allows you to walk away with a more profound view of the topic at hand.
Academy Securities Advisory Board Member, is the former Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and was the senior intelligence officer for the 2003 liberation of Iraq.
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served 35 years in the United States Army as an Infantry and Special Operations officer. Most recently, LTG Kearney served as the Deputy Director for Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counter-Terrorism Center in Washington, DC.
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Additional Advisory Board Contributors
General Peter Pace is Chairman of the Wall Street Warfighters Foundation.
General Pace served as the sixteenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2005-2007. General Pace retired in 2007 after more than 40 years of active service in the United States Marine Corps.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Teaneck, NJ, General Pace was commissioned in June 1967, following graduation from the United States Naval Academy. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from George Washington University, attended the Harvard University Senior Executives in National and International Security program, and graduated from the National War College.
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In June, 2008, General Pace was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a President can bestow.
General Pace is currently serving on the Board of Directors of several corporate entities involved in management consulting, private equity, and IT security. He served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and on the Secretary of Defense’s Defense Policy Board. General Pace served as leader-in-residence and the Poling Chair of Business and Government, for the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. He is a Distinguished Visiting Research Scholar for Fordham University, and an Adjunct Faculty member of Georgetown University.
General Pace is associated with a number of charities focused on supporting the troops and their families, to include: He is a long-standing member of the Board of Directors for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. He is a member of the USO World Board of Governors, and serves on the Advisory Board for Snowball Express. He and his wife Lynne are on the advisory board for Our Military Kids, an organization that supports children of deployed Guard and Reserve personnel with tutoring and enrichment activities.
General Pace and Lynne have a son, Peter; a daughter, Tiffany; a daughter-in-law, Lynsey Olczak Pace; and two granddaughters, Linden Elyse and Hadley Rae.
Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer for Lockheed Martin in the UAE and lives in Abu Dhabi. In this role, Vice Admiral Harward is responsible for all aspects of the company’s business interests in the UAE, including strategy, operations, and growth of Lockheed Martin programs, as well as successful execution of all ongoing business. A National Security Expert, in both theory and application, he served on the National Security Council for the Bush administration, commissioned the National Counter Terrorism Center, and has extensive combat experience as a US Navy SEAL, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Bosnia. A US Naval Academy alumni, Vice Admiral Harward holds a Masters degree in International Security Affairs, and is a graduate of the Naval War College and the MIT Foreign Policy Program. Vice Admiral Harward also served as an executive fellow at RAND. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he was a Vice Admiral (SEAL) in the United States Navy, with his last assignment as Deputy Commander, US Central Command (USCENTCOM). Vice Admiral Harward also grew up in Iran, graduated from the Tehran American School and speaks Farsi.
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Vice Admiral Harward is also a contributor to the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), serves as an adjunct to RAND, is an advisor to Draper Labs, a member of the Naval Mutual Aid Association and serves on the Board of Channel products.
Edward M. Straw is the founder and managing partner of Osprey Venture Partners—a firm that finds investment capital and assists with business development for startup entrepreneurs. He is the retired President, Global Operations of The Estee Lauder Companies, and currently sits on the boards of the following companies: Performance Equity Management, Odyssey Logistics, Helius Medical Technologies, Capital Teas and Document Capture Technologies. He is the Chairman of Odyssey Logistics.As President, Global Operations for Estee Lauder, Mr. Straw centralized and led Lauder’s R&D, package engineering, acquisition, manufacturing, distribution, inventory management, and information systems organizations which supported 20 Estee Lauder Companies around the world. In his five years at Estee Lauder, he is credited with directing significant improvements in their global supply chain and driving major stock price impactful savings to the bottom line.
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Before joining Compaq in late 1998, Mr. Straw was President of Miami-based Ryder Integrated Logistics—then the leading provider of third party supply chain services in North America.
Prior to joining the private sector, Mr. Straw had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a three-star admiral in 1996. Vice Admiral Straw culminated his military service from 1992-1996 as the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency, the nation’s only combat logistics support agency and primary provider of global supply chain material and services support for America’s armed forces. He reported directly to the Under Secretary of Defense (AT&L), Dr. Paul Kaminski, and General Colin Powell, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Admiral Straw also held numerous operational and policy leadership positions at the Navy’s major logistics commands—and was Navy’s lead for logistics planning and execution of material and ordnance support to Navy and Marine Corps forces during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-91.
Admiral Straw received multiple awards throughout his career, including Defense, Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, the Ford Foundation’s Innovations in American Government Award and the Society of Logistics Engineers’ Founders Medal. He is a distinguished graduate of the United States Navy Supply Corps School and recipient of the Navy Supply Corps’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
Admiral Straw holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University, a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, and is a graduate of the National War College.
In addition to the boards listed above, he is a Trustee of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, a member of the Department of Defense Science Board, and has served on the Board of Directors of Eddie Bauer, MeadWestvaco, Panther Expedited Services, the Navy Federal Credit Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Boy Scouts of America. He has also served in an advisory role to the IBM Federal Group and PRTM Management Consultants.
Admiral Straw is currently working with a group of patriots to regain medical benefits for “Blue Water” Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange related diseases.
Admiral Straw has three daughters—Silvana, Meg and Katie. He resides in New York City and Annapolis, Maryland with his wife, Christine.
Rear Adm. (Ret.) Caesar is a Surface Warfare Officer who earned his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977. He also holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the College of William & Mary. Admiral Caesar is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellow in Foreign Politics, International Relations, and the National Interest.During Admiral Caesar’s period of initial active service, his sea duty assignments included USS Dale (CG 19) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) where he served in the Engineering, Weapons, and Operations Departments.
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Active duty assignments include Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Joint Forces Command; Chief of Naval Operations Transition Team; Commander, Navy Installations Command; Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet; Naval War College; OPNAV Surface Warfare Division; Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center Atlantic; and, NATO exercises in the European and Pacific theatres.
Admiral Caesar’s first Flag assignment was Reserve deputy, Commander Navy Installations Command, Washington, D.C.
Before his final assignment as the Reserve deputy director, J7, Joint and Coalition Warfighting, Caesar served as vice director, Joint Concept Development and Experimentation, J9, U.S. Joint Forces Command, in Suffolk, Va.
Admiral Caesar’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Caesar was awarded the Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award. He is also a member of the Secretary of Defense Reserve Forces Policy Board.
Mr. Grano is Chairman and CEO of Centurion Holdings LLC. He was previously the Chairman and CEO of UBS Financial Services Inc. (formerly UBS PaineWebber). Mr. Grano was instrumental in helping to bring about the merger of PaineWebber with UBS in 2000. Prior to joining PaineWebber he was with Merrill Lynch for 16 years, holding various senior management positions including Director of National Sales. In 1987, Mr. Grano was named the industry’s best retail marketing executive in a survey conducted by Investment Dealers’ Digest. He was the former Chairman of the Board of Governors of NASD and a member of the NASD’s Executive Committee.Mr. Grano was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 to serve as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and he served in this capacity until August 2005.
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Mr. Grano also served in the U.S. Special Forces (Green Berets). He is the author of the book “You Can’t Predict A Hero” which was on BusinessWeek’s best seller list in 2009.
Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata, U.S. Army (Retired) commanded combat units in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the 10th Mountain Division. His last combat tour was in Afghanistan in 2007; he was Deputy Commanding General of the 30,000 strong combined and joint task force, where he earned the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star Medal.General Tata is recognized as a national security expert and has been a frequent foreign policy guest commentator on Fox News, CBS News, One America News Network, and the Daily Buzz. NBC’s Today Show featured General Tata’s career transition from the military to education leadership, where he served as the Chief Operations Officer of Washington, D.C. Public Schools for firebrand Chancellor Michelle Rhee and was the Superintendent of the 16th largest school district in the nation in Wake County/Raleigh, NC. He most recently served as North Carolina’s Secretary of Transportation until August 2015.
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Raymond F. Chandler III (born August 25, 1962) was the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army in the United States. He was sworn in on March 1, 2011 and served until January 30, 2015. As Sergeant Major of the Army, Chandler served as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army’s personal adviser on all enlisted-related matters, particularly in areas affecting soldier training, manning, equipping and quality of life. The Sergeant Major of the Army is routinely invited to testify before U.S. Congress.Throughout his 34 year career, SMA (R) Chandler served in every enlisted leadership position from all tank crewman positions to his position as Sergeant Major of the Army. Other assignments he held as a sergeant major were Operations SGM in 1/2 ACR and as CSM in 1/7 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division; United States Army Garrison Fort Leavenworth, KS; and the United States Army Armor School CSM. Chandler was assigned as the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy CSM in December 2007. He deployed once, that being with 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and 1st Cavalry Division to Iraq in 2004-2005.
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SMA (R) Chandlers civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University. In addition he has sat on the board of Directors for the Defense Commissary Agency, Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Board of Managers for Army Emergency Relief.