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Anacapa School Students Attend Steve Bucci Talk on National Security, Possibility of World War

Students from Anacapa School, along with Headmaster Gordon Sichi, third from right, attended a recent Channel City Club talk by national security expert Steve Bucci, at left. Click to view larger
Students from Anacapa School, along with Headmaster Gordon Sichi, third from right, attended a recent Channel City Club talk by national security expert Steve Bucci, at left. (Anacapa School photo)

With recent world events, the question of national security is on almost everyone’s mind. This includes the students at Anacapa School in Santa Barbara and was an impetus behind student and faculty attendance at a powerful Channel City Club talk.

The talk, given by Steve Bucci Ph.D. on Nov. 17 at The Fess Parker, was titled, “Threats, the Strategic Environment and U.S. Capabilities.” Bucci, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, served as deputy assistant director of Homeland Defense and is a former Green Beret colonel, who served on multiple international deployments.

With the recent ISIS attacks on a Russian airliner, suicide bombings in Beirut, and the attacks on Paris, Anacapa students were curious to understand more about the current threats to U.S. security.

Bucci outlined the United States’ major threats to be Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, as well as nonstate actors such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, cyber threats, diseases and the dangerous Shia/Sunni conflicts.

He laid out a presentation that, albeit enlightening, was also alarming. He sees the current operating environment for the United States to have parallels to pre-war World War I, pre-war World War II and the late 1970s. Before World War I, the major powers were dividing into different alignments when a spark in Sarajevo ignited a world war.

Before World War II, there were great economic challenges, a rise in militarism and multiple concessions to “bad guys,” which led to a yet another worldwide war.

Today, Bucci feels that the hostile divide between Shia and Sunni Muslims, and the subsequent division of the Middle East into potentially warring nations, could escalate into another world war.

Anacapa students expressed confusion about how the Shia and Sunni divide could lead to a world war. However, with the Internet and global terrorism, a conflict ignited in the Middle East could become worldwide very quickly, as recent history has revealed.

According to Bucci, the operating theater facing the United States today is also similar to the late 1970s.

The U.S. military is in relative decline, and Bucci is concerned that our smaller, all-volunteer military strains our service members by multiple deployments. He sees a challenge in the fact that 65 percent of those serving are married with families back home, and expressed concerns that our military strength is trending downward with lower numbers, less training, less maintenance and the need for modernization.

“The Marines are training, but not modernizing; the Air Force is modernizing, but not flying enough,” he said.

Put simply, Bucci feels that the United States is headed for a fall, but he ended his talk on a more positive and encouraging note, expressing confidence that with the United States’ great strengths and potential, we will win, although the cost will be high.

Anacapa School students have a long track record of active civic involvement and opportunities for dialogue with experts in a number of different professions and fields. Anacapa high school and middle school students attended last week’s talk on security through the school’s Channel City Club Lunch Program, a program run by students to bring dynamic conversations to the Anacapa community.

Click here for more information about Anacapa School, or call 805.965.0228.

— Amy McCoy is an administrator at Anacapa School.

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