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Baker Buzz

News and Events from the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

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Virtual Events

Black and white image of military uniforms with patches of the Canadian flag

Defense Ties to the U.S. and Beyond: The Canadian Armed forces 

As part of the Howard Baker Center's Global Security Lecture Series, Major General Paul Ormsby will discuss the modern-day role of the Canadian Armed forces, the Canada - U.S. defense relationship, and Canada's defense program in the United States. Ormsby is currently serving as the Canadian Defense Attaché to the United States of America. He is an Air Combat Systems Officer with extensive operational and flight test experience. This virtual event will take place on Wednesday, October 7th, from 5:00-6:00 pm. The Zoom meeting link can be found here
microphones in fromt of a US flag

League of Women Voters: Q&A Sessions with Local Candidates

Join the League of Women Voters for a live virtual Q&A session with candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives (District 2), TN State Senate (District 6), and TN State House of Representatives (Districts 13-16, 18-19, and 89). The Center is cosponsoring the event along with Centro Hispano de East TN, Conversations on Race, Knoxville Alumni of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Knoxville Chapter of the NAACP, Knoxville Education Coalition, and YWCA of Knoxville and the TN Valley. The first virtual forum will take place on Thursday, October 8th, at 6:00 pm and will feature candidates for U.S. House of Representatives and TN State Senate. The second virtual forum will take place on Tuesday, October 13th, at 6:00 pm and will feature candidates for TN State House of Representatives. The zoom link can be accessed on the League of Women Voters website, on the day of the event.  
Image of armed men overlayed on an image of the globe

Why Do Terrorist Groups Target Civilians?

Targeting civilians can be a costly strategy for terrorist groups that rely on local community support for resources and protection. Instead, some groups hit government police and security personnel despite the added risk inherent in these hard targets. Why do some terrorist groups target civilians and others target government personnel? In this Baker Cafe, Global Security Fellow Dr. Brandon Prins will discuss why civilian non-combatants are frequently the target of extremist violence. This virtual event will take place on Friday, October 9th, from 10:00 to 11:00 am. The Zoom meeting link can be found here. 
A collage of three images featureing UN Peacekeepers

Finding Soldiers of Peace- Three Dilemmas for UN Peacekeeping Missions

The United Nations, which lacks its own peacekeeping force, faces three dilemmas when organizing a peacekeeping mission: convincing member states to contribute troops, persuading states to deploy troops quickly, and securing a troop commitment long enough to achieve success. In this Baker Cafe, Global Security Fellow Dr. Gary Uzonyi will discuss the history of UN peacekeeping, the dilemmas it faces, which states tend to offer peacekeepers, and why these dynamics have posed problems for the UN's increasingly expansive peacekeeping mandates. This virtual event will take place on Friday, October 23rd, from 10:00 to 11:0 am. The Zoom meeting link can be found here. 
Aerial photo of the Uvac River

Transboundary Water Conflict and Cooperation

Current literature is divided on whether water solely causes conflict or war. However, in areas vulnerable to climate changes and areas where water is scarce, the risks of water conflict is high, as water is essential to human survival and security. This Baker Cafe will provide an overview of water-related violence and conflict at various levels. In this Baker Cafe, join Dr. Sojeong Lee, Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Global Security Program, for a discussion on conflicts over water resources in the modern world. This virtual event will take place on Friday, October 30th, from 10:00 to 11:0 am. The Zoom meeting link can be found here. 


The Coronavirus-19 Outbreak Response Experts (CORE-19) team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a network of researchers in public health, economics, public policy, agriculture, veterinary medicine, and other disciplines who seek to provide timely information for the public and policymakers on pressing questions regarding the global pandemic. Researchers at the Center are working closely with the CORE-19 team to create a series of policy briefs forecasting the health and economic impacts of the virus. For up-to-date, well-researched information on COVID-19 visit
Test swap being sealed in plastic packaging

Policy Brief: Testing Availability

This short policy brief provides information on COVID-19 testing availability county-by-county in Tennessee. 
Individual recieving a flu shot

Policy Brief: The Value of Flu Shots during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

This short policy brief contains information regarding the flu vaccine and explains the importance of the flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
TN pulse survey logo

TN Pulse Survey: Consumer Sentiment Data collected for the TN Economic Recovery Group

The Tennessee Pulse is a cooperative effort of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group, the University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS), which is designed to capture the attitudes and behaviors of Tennesseans toward COVID-19 and the re-opening of the economy. The survey enables segmentation across a grouping of the state’s largest metropolitan counties (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan) and the remaining 89 counties of the state, as well as age, gender, and race. Results will be collected and published throughout the summer. 
Wave 5 of the survey was administered between August 17 and August 25, 2020. See the results here.
Time Series results of the survey are also available. See the results here.
More information on the TN Pulse Survey and access to future results, visit

Vols Vote 2020

Globe with images of rebel fighters overlayed

Voting Rights Film Series

The Vols Vote Coalition will be screening films regarding voting and voter suppression every Thursday until November 19th. Films in the series include: 
Key Election Dates: 
  • Last Day to Register to Vote in Tennessee: Oct. 5th
  • Early Voting in Tennessee: Oct. 14th to 29th
  • Last Day to Request an Absentee Ballot in Tennessee: Oct. 27th 
  • Election Day: Nov. 3rd
Useful Links:

Additional Information: 

Want to join the coalition? Have questions, comments, or suggestions?

Research and Teaching

Rusty ship

How to Combat Increases in Sea Piracy 

Dr. Brandon Prins, Fellow with the Global Security Program, recently published an article with The Maritime Executive. The article, "Capacity Building Must be a Focus as Sea Piracy Expands" discusses the recent increases in instances of sea piracy and how "maritime law enforcement capacity, improved regional cooperation, and better local governance" can combat maritime crime. You can read the full article here. 
illustration of nuclear images pointed at the globe

Global Security Fellows Continue Research on Nuclear Policy 

Dr. Matt Buehler, a Fellow with the Global Security Program, was recently appointed vice-chair of the Middle East and North Africa Politics section for the American Political Science Association. In addition, Buehler received two travel grants for his second book, which examines U.S. nuclear basing policy in the Middle East and North Africa, from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Foundation and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. Finally, Buehler along with Dr. Brandon Prins received a grant from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy to teach courses on nuclear nonproliferation in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. 

Get involved with the Baker Center!

Students walking with Senator Lamar Alexander

Get Involved with the Baker Center! 

The Center is a home for civic engagement for students in all disciplines and at all levels. Through programs, events and lectures, and helpful faculty and staff, the Center aims to engage the community on the topics of Global Security, Leadership & Governance, and Energy & Environment. Learn more at

Here are some ways you can get involved:

Contact Us
Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
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