Hosted By | Center for Homeland Security and Immigration

America First National Security Symposium

Mar 23, 2023

Washington, D.C.

In case you missed it, the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) hosted its inaugural National Security Symposium Thursday, March 23, 2023, which included discussions with members of Congress and national security experts on the landscape of an America First approach to foreign policies. 


Steve Yates, Chair of the China Policy Initiative at AFPI, kicked off the day by moderating a panel on the threats from Communist China. The discussion featured Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rep. Mark Green (TN-7), former Governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant, and noted commentator Gordon Chang.

"Look at what this administration has done to weaken this country... The embarrassing and dangerous surrender in Afghanistan was a very strong signal that embolden our enemies; 40-year high inflation; record gasoline prices; high energy prices; an open border. What has this administration done to strengthen our country? It is weakened, and a weakened America emboldens our enemies."

- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) 

Watch the full panel HERE


Chad Wolf, Executive Director and Chair of the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration at AFPI, led a discussion regarding homeland security that focused on securing the southern border. The panel featured Rep. Wesley Hunt (TX-38); Stephen Miller, President of America First Legal; Pam Bondi, Chair of the Constitutional Litigation Partnership and Co-Chair of the Center for Law and Justice at AFPI; and Morgan Ortagus, the founder of Polaris National Security and former State Department spokesperson. The panel was moderated by Hogan Gidley, Senior Advisor for Communications at AFPI.

"If we've lost 100,000 people in the last year and 200,000 people in the last two years, news flash we're already at war. We lost 68,000 Americans in Vietnam. We are already at war. At what point are we going to take the fight to the cartels and fix our border?"

- Rep. Wesley Hunt (TX-38)


Fred Fleitz, Vice Chair of the Center for American Security at AFPI, then moderated a luncheon panel on America First foreign policy and military power. This discussion featured Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13); Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Keith Kellogg, Co-Chair of the Center for American Security at AFPI; and Robert Wilkie, Distinguished Fellow in the Center for American Security at AFPI and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Trump Administration.

"We had an America First country. I think we've lost that over the last 2 years. It's rapidly continuing to slip away and I think that we got about another two years to figure out how we're going to fix it and get it back because when China becomes the dominant world power, both economically and militarily, we may not be able to get back in a position to make America First.

- Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13)

Watch the full panel HERE.


The afternoon panels began with a discussion on preserving peace in the Middle East by building upon the success of the Abraham Accords. The panel featured Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Abraham Accords Caucus; Rob Greenway, Executive Director and President of the Abraham Accords Peace Institute; and Victoria Coates, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. This panel was moderated by Dr. Jacob Olidort, Director of the Center for American Security and Middle East Peace Project at AFPI.

"I have had the chance to be able to work with three administrations and they couldn't be more different in how they're handling Middle East policy."

- Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)

Watch the full panel HERE.


Rounding out the day was a panel led by Lt. (Ret.) Gen. Keith Kellogg on ending the war in Ukraine and the need to define the American interest in the conflict. Gen. Kellogg was joined on stage by Robert Wilkie and Editor-in-Chief of the Federalist Mollie Hemingway. James Carafano, Vice President of the Heritage Foundation’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, also participated in this panel discussion.

"If someone continues to tell you that he wants to kill you, believe him.  The Chinese and the Russians and the Iranians have declared to the world that not only do they want the rules-based American-centric world order. They want to destroy the United States of America. Putin is Xi's vessel."

- Robert Wilkie, AFPI

Watch the full panel HERE.

Given the current state of U.S. national security, this in-depth discussion on the America First approach to protecting our country is vital in our mission to defend the American people. Please read our policy solutions to America's problems at home and abroad, outlined in the America First Agenda.  
We hope you enjoyed this vital and timely discussion. 

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