The 2018 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium 

The Colby Symposium attracts world-class thought leaders and nationally-acclaimed authors to Norwich University for two days each April to engage with students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Featured guest speakers:

  • Saifaldin D. Abdul-Rahman

Saifaldin Abdul-Rahman is Vice President of IWG, a U.S. firm providing consulting, logistics and construction work in Iraq. He heads the consulting and business development portfolio within IWG, where he guides U.S. and international fortune 500 companies through contract awards and negotiations with the Government of Iraq. Abdul-Rahman held senior posts in the Government of Iraq, including the posts of Advisor to the Vice President of Iraq (2009), Chief of Staff to the Speaker of Parliament (2005) and Chief of Staff to the Minister of Industry & Minerals (2004).

  • Andrew Bacevich

Andrew J. Bacevich grew up in Indiana, graduated from West Point and Princeton, served in the army, became an academic, and is now a writer. He is the author, co-author, or editor of a dozen books, among them American Empire, The New American Militarism, The Limits of Power, Washington Rules, Breach of Trust, and, most recently, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

  • BG Peter “Duke” DeLuca, USA (Ret.)

Peter “Duke” DeLuca was commissioned from the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 after earning Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and in Mechanical Engineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He also earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Harriman Institute in 1993.

BG DeLuca served from platoon level through combatant command in Army, Joint, Multi-national and Interagency environments. He has commanded from Company through Division level, including command of an Engineer Battalion and an Engineer Brigade in combat.

He served as Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School running an enterprise that taught over 270 courses to all ranks from trainee through Colonel and set standards and requirements for the Army engineer forces in all components for Doctrine, Training, Organizations, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, and Facilities.

His final assignment in the Army was as Commanding General of the Mississippi Valley Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leading a multi-billion annual water resource program from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and serving as the President of the Mississippi River Commission.

BG DeLuca is an engineer and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, and has served in fellowships at Columbia University, the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

  • R. Alan King

R. Alan King is an award winning author and noted speaker on terrorism, 21st Century security matters, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, strategic communications, Political Islam, cultural understanding in irregular warfare and Middle Eastern geopolitical issues. Mr. King is an adjunct professor at Norwich University instructing in Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, National Security Policy, Culture and Anthropology.

King has advised Congressional leaders and served as an advisor to senior leaders in the Departments of State and Defense. King has testified before the House of Representatives, Subcommittee for National Security concerning the security situation in Iraq. His work and success with Iraqi tribes has been widely profiled in the international media.
In July 2004, King returned from Iraq after spending 16 months as a Civil Affairs Battalion Commander and then as the Deputy Director of the Office of Provincial Outreach, Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq.

While in Iraq, King was credited with leading the Coalition’s Tribal Affairs and Sunni Outreach Programs meeting with over 3,000 sheikhs and clerics. In April 2004, he served as a senior member of the ceasefire negotiations in Fallujah and then dispatched to An Najaf to coordinate with tribal sheikhs in response to the uprising led by the radical cleric, Muktada al-Sadr. King is credited with the capture and surrender of three personalities off the “Deck of Cards” and almost a dozen of the top 200 most wanted personalities, including Baghdad Bob and the Chairman of Atomic Energy. King was awarded two Bronze Star Medals for Valor for actions in Iraq and, under his command his battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

In addition to his service in Iraq, King has a distinguished military background in the U.S. Army including tours in Honduras, Panama for Operation Just Cause and Bosnia. Mr. King was a Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations officer and retired as a colonel. He concluded his 26 -year military service as the Deputy Commander for Army Elements (Intelligence), U.S. Central Command, Tampa, Florida.

King is a PhD Candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi with concentrations in Political Development and National Security. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College and holds MA degrees in International Relations and Management from Webster University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from East Tennessee State University. Mr. King has received numerous honors and awards for his achievements and contributions in international relations including his nomination as a Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellow, Oklahoma State University.

His book titled Twice Armed, An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq was released by Zenith Press in September 2006. Twice Armed was awarded the 2008 Colby Award. He is a contributing author to the book titled The New Islamic State, which was released by Ashgate Publishing in January 2016.

  • Emma Sky

Emma Sky is Director of Yale World Fellows and a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute, where she teaches Middle East politics. She is the author of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq, which was one of the New York Times 100 notable books of 2015, and Shortlisted for the 2016 Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize, the 2016 Orwell Prize and the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction. She is widely published in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, the Atlantic, Survival, US Institute of Peace, Army Magazine.

Sky served as advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010; as advisor to the Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2006; as advisor to the US Security Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in 2005; and as Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004.

Prior to that, Sky worked in the Palestinian territories for a decade, managing projects to develop Palestinian institutions; and to promote co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition, Emma has provided technical assistance on poverty elimination, human rights, justice public administration reform, security sector reform, and conflict resolution in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Sky was educated at Oxford (UK), Alexandria (Egypt), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) and Liverpool (UK). Emma is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.


  • David J. Ulbrich

David J. Ulbrich was named the program director and associate professor in the Master of Arts in History and Military History programs at Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies in August 2017.  Ulbrich earned his BA from University of Dayton, his MA from Ball State University, and his PhD from Temple University, all in history. His first book, Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Marine Corps, 1936-1943, won the “2012 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Prize” from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. More recently, Ulbrich and co-author Matthew S. Muehlbauer are publishing the second edition of Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Period to the 21st Century.

Previously, Ulbrich served as a civilian historian at the U.S. Army Engineer School in Missouri. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as a historical consultant and on-air segment host for the award-winning “Echoes of War: Stories from the Big Red One” television documentary; and as co-director of the Cantigny First Division Oral History Project. Both these projects were funded by the McCormick Foundation.


Panel Moderator:

  • Sarwar Kashmeri

Sarwar A. Kashmeri is Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Applied Research Fellow, Peace & War Center, Norwich University; and a Fellow with the Foreign Policy Association. His courses at Norwich focus on U.S. Grand Strategy.

He is an author and current affairs commentator, and is noted for his expertise on US-China relations, US-EU relations, and NATO. A former international businessman, he has served as a communications advisor to several Fortune 100 companies and brings a global business perspective to his work in U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy.

The author of two books,  NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete? and America & Europe After 9/11 and Iraq; The Great Divide.  Kashmeri speaks frequently before business, foreign policy, and military audiences. Besides television and radio appearances, he is a regular writer for US News & World Report and the Huffington/World Post. He is the author of “North Atlantic Treaty Organization & the EU’s Common Security & Defense Policy: Intersecting Trajectories,” published by the U.S. Army War College. Kashmeri has written for several publications including The New York Times/International Herald Tribune and The Guardian and is a commentator for Vermont Public Radio. He hosts “China in Focus,” podcast series on US/China relations for the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Kashmeri earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering and an MS in Engineering from Saint Louis University.