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National security in focus

Next ‘Eye of the Hawk’ invites geopolitical, military minds to reimagine defense of the nation

Eye of the Hawk lectures have filled the seats of the Gorecki Alumni Center since 2017. Four panelists will take center-stage on Tuesday, Feb. 5, to address questions of national security and deterrence in the modern age. Photo by Tyler Ingham/UND Today.

If you go:

What: Eye of the Hawk Lecture Series
Topic: “What does ‘Peace Through Strength’ Mean Today? Strengths Needed to Detect, Defuse, Deter, Defeat Threats”
Where: Gorecki Alumni Center
When: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m.

Security of the nation and evolving definitions for what that means in modern-day America is the topic of the next lecture in the Eye of the Hawk series.

An esteemed panel of geopolitical and military exerts is slated to take on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Gransberg Room of UND’s Gorecki Alumni Center. The panelists will address the question: What does “peace through strength” mean today?

The public is invited and encourage to attend.

It’s the first time the Eye of the Hawk Lecture Series has brought in not just one speaker, but a panel of four experts to hash out a topic. It’s also the first time UND has brought in experts who live and operate in the Grand Forks region. More specifically, the panel comprises expertise in both unmanned aircraft system operations and military strategy.

The crux of the discussion is that centuries-old standards of deterrence through strength are in need of reexamination. The nature of national threats have evolved through technological advances and rivalries in geopolitics. President Kennedy plans to engage the UND community in a discussion on what is needed, in 2019, to maintain a secure nation.

The Eye of the Hawk Lecture Series brings topics of global importance to UND’s campus and community. Economics, diversity and inclusion and foreign policy have been discussed; relations to China and the Asian continent have been at the fore.

Two years after President Mark Kennedy and First Lady Debbie Kennedy established and hosted the first lecture the importance of the Eye of the Hawk Lectures remains constant: To encourage students, the campus community and the public to hear varied perspectives and to think more critically about the world around us.

Lecture roots

The idea for the lecture Series originates from Kennedy and has its roots in the president’s previous appointment at George Washington University (GWU), where he served as director of the Graduate School of Political Management, as well as at Kennedy’s alma mater of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

As head of the graduate school at GWU, Kennedy, and Debbie Kennedy, sponsored the “Frontiers of Freedom” award to honor individuals who work to advance the frontier of freedom beyond the borders of the United States.  At St. John’s, the Kennedys set up a lecture series by the same name as the GWU award. The Mark Kennedy Frontiers of Freedom Lecture Series at the St. John’s University Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement set a goal of bringing in speakers who added “real intellectual diversity…to ensure that you hear both sides, so you can critically evaluate the challenges we face.”

“My hope is that through the Eye of the Hawk Lecture Series and other activities, I may, in some small way, advance the same purposes here at UND,” he said.

Panelist biographies

Michael Franken

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Michael Franken, CEO, Chartwell Strategic Advisors, LLC

Michael Franken is a former U.S. Navy vice admiral currently serving as CEO of Chartwell Strategic Advisors, LLC, consulting an array of businesses and governments in diplomacy, development and defense.

Throughout his career, Franken has broad experience in geo-political and legislative affairs, policy development, strategic planning and worldwide joint military operations – including command of a combined task force in Africa, a multinational task force of ships and aircraft in the Persian Gulf, a squadron of U.S. Navy combatant ships and a guided missile destroyer. He served in operations, policy-making, and technical offices on the Joint Staff, in the office of the Secretary of Defense, at U.S. Central and U.S. Africa Commands, and in four Department of the Navy staff positions.


David Hableton

David Hableton, Grand Sky Program Manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Autonomous Systems Division

David Hableton serves as program manager for the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park near Grand Forks Air Force Base. Since February 2017 he has been responsible for executing the work Northrup Grumman conducts at its facility, including guiding investments in the facility, coordinating staffing requirements and leading the technical, programmatic and logistics efforts at Grand Sky. Previously, he was a concept development manager supporting the Autonomous Systems portfolio of products.

Before joining Northrup Grumman, Hableton retired from the United States Air Force with 21 years of experience as an intelligence officer. He served in positions supporting Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Combat Air Forces and Special Operations. Hableton served with the Air Operations Center, Joint Task Force and Expeditionary Fighter Wing in operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.


Everett Dunnick

Everett Dunnick, Flight Test and Training Center Program Manager, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Everett “Ev” Dunnick is a program manager at the Flight Test and Training Center for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ Aircraft Systems business. The Aircraft Systems division manufactures, supports and operates a variety of Remotely Piloted Aircraft for military and commercial applications. The FTTC, housed at Grand Sky, provides high quality test support and training for a variety of General Atomics’ customers.

Prior to his career with General Atomics, Dunnick served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps, as an infantry officer, in a variety of operational and staff tours. His background includes service in Infantry, Reconnaissance and Special Operations units, including multiple tours in combat. Dunnick’s staff tours include leading the Instructor Cadre at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Operations Officer at the School of Infantry, West and Associate Chairman of the Weapons and Systems Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy.


Lee Nordin

Colonel (Ret.) Lee Nordin, Senior Strategy and Policy Advisor, Office of the Adjutant General, North Dakota National Guard

Lee Nordin serves as Senior Strategy and Policy Advisor in the Office of the Adjutant General for the State of North Dakota. Lee maintains continuity of strategic plans and policies while advancing the Adjutant General office’s strategic goals.

Nordin retired from service in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 2017 at the rank of Colonel. In the Guard, he was Installation Commander of Camp Gilbert C. Grafton Training Center in Devils Lake, ND. He assumed command following a deployment to the Middle East, serving as the Senior National Guard Advisor to U.S. Army Central (3rd U.S. Army) in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Previously, he deployed to the Balkans in 2009 where his battalion supported a multi-national peace enforcement effort throughout Kosovo.