Press Advisory

ADVISORY: U.S Infrastructure – A Path to Ruin?

Increased use, decreased investment, declining maintenance threaten public services

Featured Panelists:
Dr. Stephen Flynn
, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation
Dr. Dawn Bonnell, Trustee Professor of Material Sciences and Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center, The University of Pennsylvania
Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Moderated by:
P.J. Crowley, Senior Fellow and Director of Homeland Security, Center for American Progress.

The recent Minnesota bridge collapse is yet another warning sign that risk related to critical infrastructure is rising at an alarming rate. The tragedy in Minneapolis occurred as we approach the sixth anniversary of 9/11, fourth anniversary of the Northeast blackout, and second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Critical infrastructure that contributes to our security, economy, and society is increasingly threatened by terrorists, more intense storms, functional obsolescence, and neglect. The Center for American Progress will convene a panel of experts to review the state of critical infrastructure in the United States, the implications of current trends regarding increased use, decreased investment, declining maintenance, and rising risk from natural and man-made sources; what must be done; what it will cost; how the resources can be generated; and potential applications for new technologies.

Panelists will include Dr. Stephen Flynn, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation; Dr. Dawn Bonnell, Trustee Professor of Material Sciences at University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center; and Scott Lilly, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Dr. Flynn will highlight the urgent decline of infrastructure in the United States and how the United States is falling behind other global players, including China. Dr. Bonnell will describe developments in nanotechnology that may be applied to critical components of a rebuilt national infrastructure, including air travel and information systems as well as bridges and tunnels. Mr. Lilly will discuss how pragmatic investment now can be vastly more cost-efficient than prolonging infrastructure decay. The panel will be moderated by P.J. Crowley, Senior Fellow and Director of Homeland Security at the Center for American Progress.

Please join the Center for American Progress as we describe the implications of United States critical infrastructure under siege.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Program: 9:30am to 11:00am
Admission is free.

A light breakfast will be served at 9:00 a.m.

The National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045
Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue, Orange or Red Line to Metro Center

RSVP for this Event

For more information, please call 202.741.6246.


Dr. Dawn Bonnell is a Trustee Professor of Materials Science at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan and was a Fulbright scholar to the Max-Planck-Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, after which she worked at IBM Thomas Watson Research Center. Her current research involves atomistic processes at oxide surfaces, nanometer scale electronic phenomena in materials, and assembly of complex nanostructures. She has authored or coauthored over 180 papers, edited several books, including Scanning Probe Microscopy and Spectroscopy: theory, techniques, and applications. Her work has been recognized by the Presidential Young Investigators Award, the Ross Coffin Purdy Award, the Staudinger/Durrer Medal, and several distinguished lectureships. Professor Bonnell serves on several editorial boards, national and international advisory committees, is a past president of AVS, served the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, and is a past vice president of the American Ceramic Society. She is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the AVS.

Dr. Stephen Flynn is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is author of The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation, which was released by Random House in February 2007, featured on the cover of U.S. News & World Report, and the subject of two documentaries produced by CNN. He has also written the critically acclaimed and national bestseller, America the Vulnerable (HarperCollins 2004). At the Council, Dr. Flynn directs an ongoing working group on homeland security. He was the director and principal author for the Independent Task Force Report America: Still Unprepared-Still in Danger (2002), co-chaired by former Sens. Gary Hart and Warren Rudman.

Dr. Flynn is a consulting professor at the Center of International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Wharton School‘s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 9/11, he has testified on 19 occasions on Capitol Hill. He served as the principal advisor to the bipartisan Congressional Port Security Caucus and is a member of the Marine Board of the National Research Council. He is a frequent media commentator, and several of his articles have appeared in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs. From August 2000 to February 2001, Dr. Flynn served as the lead consultant on the homeland security issue to the U.S. Commission on National Security (Hart- Rudman Commission). He has served in the White House Military Office during the George H.W. Bush administration and as a director for Global Issues on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration.

A 1982 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Dr. Flynn served in the Coast Guard on active duty for 20 years, including two tours as commanding officer at sea, retiring at the rank of Commander. He received the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees in International Politics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1990 and 1991. He was a guest scholar in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1991-92, and in 1993-94 he was an Annenberg Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.

His professional awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal. In 1999, he received the Coast Guard Academy’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement award. In 2005, the Maritime Security Council awarded him its annual Maritime Security Service Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership in promoting international maritime security.

Dr. Flynn is the principal for Stephen E. Flynn Associates LLC, where he provides independent advisory services on improving enterprise resiliency and transportation and logistics security. He also serves on the advisory board for the San Diego’based Crossflo Systems. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Dr. Flynn lives in Connecticut with his wife JoAnn and their daughter Christina.

Scott Lilly is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress who writes and does research in wide range of areas including governance, federal budgeting, national security and the economy. He joined the Center in March of 2004 after 31 years of service with the United States Congress. He served as Clerk and Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee, Minority Staff Director of that Committee, Executive Director of the House Democratic Study Group, Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee, and Chief of Staff in the Office of Congressman David Obey (D-WI).

Prior to his service with the Congress, Lilly served as Director of Campaign Services for the Democratic National Committee, Central States Coordinator in the McGovern Presidential Campaign, and as a bill drafter for the Missouri legislature.

He served two years in the U.S. Army and is a graduate of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University.

During his career, he has been engaged in a wide array of policy matters ranging across the entire spectrum of government activities. These have included counterterrorism, homeland security, efforts to reform American schools and the financing of federal scientific activities. He has worked on various efforts to reform the legislative process in Congress and served as a political and legislative strategist to the Democratic members of the Appropriations Committee and the House Democratic Leadership.

Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley is a Senior Fellow and Director of Homeland Security at the Center for American Progress.

During the Clinton administration, Crowley was Special Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Affairs, serving as Senior Director of Public Affairs for the National Security Council. Prior to that, he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. In all, Crowley was a spokesman for the United States government and United States military for 28 years, 11 of those years at the Pentagon and three at the White House. He served for 26 years in the United States Air Force, retiring at the rank of colonel in September 1999. He is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the Kosovo conflict, he was temporarily assigned to work with then NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

Prior to joining CAP, he served as a national spokesman for the property/casualty insurance industry, focusing on strategic industry issues that included the impact of terrorism on commercial insurance in the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy and to the effect of asbestos litigation on the broader economy. A native of Massachusetts, Crowley is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and an avid Red Sox fan and golfer. He is married to Paula E. Kougeas, also a retired Air Force colonel and now a teacher. They live in Alexandria, Virginia with their children, Mary and Christopher.