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Thomas University to host ‘Gray Zone Conflicts and Global Resilience’ on April 6

Today’s global environment is being challenged by unconventional political forces, emerging powers and non-state entities in ways that do not meet the standards for a conventional military response. On April 6 these issues will be addressed during “Gray Zone Conflicts and Global Resilience.” This symposium will address issues facing corporations, the military, first responders and diplomatic leaders.

Presented by Thomas University’s Center for Military Life, the event will bring together a team of presenters from a variety of disciplines with expertise in gray zone conflicts.

“TU is geographically located in a constellation of military installations in South Georgia and North Florida,” said Dr. Andy Sheppard, Thomas University President. “A conference of this sort with this quality of speakers makes an available reference for the entire defense community without the overhead of going to Washington, D.C.”

The keynote address will be presented by Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after a distinguished career that included serving as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installation and Logistics. Lehnert took command of 2d FSSG in July 2001. In January 2002 he deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as Commander of Joint Task Force 160.  During Lehnert’s tour, Joint Task Force 160 constructed and operated detention facilities for Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees. In 2003, 2d FSSG deployed to the CENTCOM Theater and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As a Brigadier General, Lehnert served as Commander of the Marine Logistics Command. He was subsequently assigned as Chief of Staff, United States Southern Command. In April 2005 he took command of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. In October 2005 Maj. Gen. Lehnert assumed command of the newly activated Marine Corps Installations West and its seven subordinate installations.

Other presenters at the symposium include David Danelo, Field Researcher, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime; Bob Rhodes, Chief Technology Officer, Thomson Reuters Special Services; Ilona Teleki, Chief Operating Officer, the Center for European Policy Analysis; Theodore Sedgwick, former U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic; and Jason Thomas, Chief of Innovation, Thomson Reuters Special Services.

“South Georgia-North Florida is home to one of the largest populations of veterans in the United States,” Sheppard said. “This conference marks the kickoff celebration of TU’s new Center for Military Life so that we can be of service to those who served – and continue to serve – our country.”

For military personnel, attendance for the conference is unclassified. Dress is the uniform of the day. 

The conference is open to the public. There is no fee to attend, but registration is required. Seating is limited. Register by emailing or by visiting

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