As the world continues to grapple with last week's attacks in Paris, national leaders and security experts are trying to figure out the best way to prevent terrorism.
UT's conference on national security Friday afternoon was planned before the Paris attacks, but the rise of the Islamic State group was always set to be a major focus.
The group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris.
Several national security experts on the UT panel say there are many layers involved, but dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is key.
"I think it's dealing with Assad first and the Russians are going to largely dictate those terms, we're going to pretend they don't," said Philip Mudd, former Deputy Director of CIA Counterterrorism Center.
Meanwhile, Bill McRaven, chancellor of the UT System, said America must step up and lead the fight against ISIS.
"We are the only country that has the resources to take that leadership position and the other countries know that," McRaven said.
Chancellor McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL and admiral who oversaw all U.S. special operations troops. He coordinated the raid in which Osama Bin Laden was killed.
He told an audience at the UT forum that this fight against terrorism will be long and costly, but necessary for America to take charge.
"It will be a generational fight, but if we don't take it on now then we should not be surprised when the barbarians are at our gate and we are wondering how they got here," McRaven said.
Two weeks ago, the chancellor announced plans to establish the UT Network for National Security.
He wants to make expertise in national security a hallmark of the UT system.
McRaven also said innocent Syrian refugees must be shown compassion, but added that he understands Gov. Greg Abbott's point of view to not allow them into the state right now.