As professor at the National War College in Washington, D.C., Janet Breslin-Smith has guided military officers and diplomats through discussions of national security strategy.
She will bring her approach to Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics tonight as a panelist for "Rocket Science: North Korea, the Bomb and What We Can Do About It," an examination of North Korea's nuclear threat.
The lecture comes as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill visits China to discuss negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program.
"It's very difficult to know exactly the long-term goals of North Korea - what their intentions are on a day-to-day basis," Breslin-Smith said Tuesday. "Are they signaling? Are they on the verge of taking another action? It's very difficult to read them.
"What I'm hoping to do is put this in context for how we see this in relationship to all of the other things that are on our plate right now."
Breslin-Smith said she also hopes to help the audience explore how the issue is perceived by all of the players, including China, Japan and the U.S.
Breslin-Smith, faculty member at the War College from 1992 until her recent retirement, is part of a diverse lineup invited for the lecture.
She'll be joined by David Lambertson, U.S. Foreign Service diplomat ambassador who from 2000 to 2005 implemented North Korea's nuclear program agreements with the international community, and Takao Shibata, former consul general of Japan in Kansas City, Mo.
Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute, said each panelist would bring a unique perspective.
And though events in the Middle East have pushed North Korea off the front pages of newspapers, the issue remains topical, Lacy said.
"Clearly, it could be on the front page anytime, including tomorrow morning," he said.
The lecture is set for 7:30 p.m. today at the Dole Institute on KU's west campus.