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Building Civil Capacity in Iraq

Wed, Nov 16, 2011, 4:30pm - 6:00pm

You are cordially invited to a special lecture with

  • Greta Holtz
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
    formerly Minister-Counselor for Provincial Affairs, Baghdad
  • COL Pete Newell
    formerly Commander, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division
  • Bob Cassilly
    Formerly Senior Strategic Planner for the Office of Provincial Affairs, Iraq

Building Civil Capacity in Iraq:
Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future

Wednesday, November 16
4:30 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Please RSVP to

This lecture is part of IWP’s Distinguished Military Speakers Series.

About the Speakers

Greta C. HoltzGreta C. Holtz, a career Senior Foreign Service Officer, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She assumed this position in June 2010. Prior to this assignment, Ms. Holtz served as Minister-Counselor for Provincial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (May 2009-May 2010), and ran the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

Ms. Holtz entered the Foreign Service in 1985 and has served in U.S. missions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, and as Principal Officer in Adana, Turkey. From 2006-2007, Ms. Holtz was the Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, managing the State Department’s democracy promotion program in the Middle East. From 2004-2006 she was the State Department’s Coordinator for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Ms. Holtz received a B.S. in political science from Vanderbilt University, M.A. in International Relations from the University of Kentucky, and M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College (2004).

Ms. Holtz speaks Arabic, Turkish, and French, and has been the recipient of numerous State Department Superior and Meritorious honor awards, as well as the Christopher Medallion from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Holtz worked as an intern in the NATO policy office, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Peter NewellColonel Peter A. Newell
Director, Rapid Equipping Force
Fort Belvoir, Virginia

COL Newell began his career as an enlisted armor crewman in the 635th Armor Battalion, Kansas Army National Guard in December 1980.  He served in a variety of positions within the battalion before being commissioned as an Armor Officer in December 1985.  Upon graduation from Kansas State University in May 1986, he entered active duty as an Infantry Officer.  COL Newell’s initial assignment was with the 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Battalion S1 in the 4th Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.  While assigned to the division, he participated in the airborne assault on Torrijos-Tocumen Airport and subsequent combat operations supporting Operation Just Cause in December 1989.

In 1991, COL Newell assumed command of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry (Mechanized), 3rd Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany.  In February 1994 he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Upon his graduation from the Command and General Staff College in 1997, he was assigned as the Battalion S3, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry (Mechanized), 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.  In May 1999, he became the Brigade S3 for 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.  In June 2000, COL Newell was assigned to the Office of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he served as a Senior Operations Officer in the National Military Command Center.

In June 2003, COL Newell assumed command of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo.  He redeployed the battalion to Vilseck, Germany in July, and then deployed the battalion to Iraq in February 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.  In July 2005, COL Newell relinquished command of the battalion and was reassigned to Hohenfels, Germany as the Senior Infantry Maneuver Observer Controller and subsequently served as the Senior Brigade Observer Controller at the Joint Multi-National Readiness Center.

In June 2008, COL Newell assumed command of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.  The 4th BCT deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom X in May 2009 where they served in southern Iraq as the Army’s “proof of principle” for the Advise and Assist Brigade concept.  In July 2010, COL Newell was re-assigned to his current duty as Director, U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force.

COL Newell is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College with a Master of Science Degree in Operations and Training.  He is also a graduate of the Joint Advanced Warfighting School, with a Master of Science Degree in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy.

COL Newell’s awards and decorations include the Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (four Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Army Achievement Medal (four Oak Leaf Clusters).  He was a part of the National Military Command Center when they were awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Citation for their actions during the Global War on Terrorism.  His former unit, Task Force 2-2, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions during Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq in November 2004. His badges include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2nd award), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge with Bronze Star Device, and the Pathfinder Badge.

COL Newell and his wife Vianne have two sons, Ian (19) and Tanner (12).

Bob Cassilly has since 2005 served in various positions in support of the U.S. mission in Iraq, including: State Department’s Senior Strategic Planner for Press and Public Diplomacy; Senior Strategic Planner for the Office of Provincial Affairs, Embassy Baghdad; Acting Director of Stability Operations for the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington; Senior PRT Governance Advisor in Karbala Province; Senior Civil-Military Operations Trainer at the Army’s National Training Center, Fort Irwin; and as the Governance and Rule of Law Advisor while serving as a JAG officer (101st ABD) in Tikrit Province.

Other experience includes: eighteen years as litigator in civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts; twelve years elected office as a county councilman, mayor, and commissioner; military service as an active and reserve office in the Infantry (7th ID), JAG (352nd CACOM), and enlisted service with the Army National Guard (20th SF Grp).

He holds a B.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from the University Of Baltimore School Of Law.  His military and State Department awards include: Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign Medal, Department of State Superior Honor Award, Department of State Meritorious Honor Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Devise, Ranger, and Airborne.  He is married with five children.