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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Retired general to discuss transnational terrorism at global security, transportation conference at URI Sept. 25

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Providence native now a security consultant

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 13, 2006 -- Retired U.S. Army Gen. Leon J. Laporte will discuss transnational terrorism threats as the featured luncheon speaker on the first day of the global security and marine transportation conference being held at the University of Rhode Island Sept. 25 through 26. His lecture will take place at noon at the Memorial Union Ballroom on the Kingston Campus.

The former commander of the United Nations and combined Republic of Korea and U.S. forces in Korea, Laporte retired last spring after 34 years of military experience, having attained the highest rank in the Army, four-star general. A native of Providence and a 1968 graduate of URI, he served as a combat aviator in Vietnam and later commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood and was deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command. He is now the senior consultant for Laporte & Associates, an international security consultancy based in San Antonio, Texas.

Laporte's lecture will focus on the increasingly international nature of terrorism. "Transnational terrorism poses an irregular threat to the world greater than any conventional enemy in our history," he said. "These violent extremists have the capability to attack targets anywhere in the world with asymmetric weapons capable of producing catastrophic results. This constantly evolving threat requires a new understanding of its global aims and uncompromising quest. Combating this enemy will require renewed strategies, international cooperation and above all commitment and perseverance."

The conference will bring together some of the top maritime, port and transportation security experts from around the world, including Coast Guard Rear Adm. Brian Salerno, New York/New Jersey Port Authority security chief Beth Ann Rooney, Port of New Orleans President Gary LaGrange, and America the Vulnerable author Stephen Flynn, along with representatives from academia, business and government agencies, to assess the risks to ports and maritime transportation, examine case studies, and identify emerging issues and research needs.

The conference is being held in conjunction with a meeting of the President's Council of the Global U8 Consortium, a group of eight universities from around the world that was formed to address emerging issues confronting the global community through collaborative research, education and building administrative capacity.

The conference registration fee is $250. For more information, visit or contact Thomas Grigalunas at or 401-874-4572.