Off-the-Record with Jerry Bremer, Doug Ollivant, and Paul Pillar

Ambassador Paul “Jerry” Bremer (former Administrator tof the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq), Dr. Doug Ollivant (former advisor to General Petraeus), and Dr. Paul Pillar (former National Intelligence officer for Near East and South Asia) joined PSA’s Congressional Partnership program for an off-the-record discussion with spring 2014 participants on the crisis in Iraq.

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III

Mr. Bremer’s diplomatic service spanned eight Presidents. He was Special Assistant to six Secretaries of State including service as Henry Kissinger’s Chief of Staff. His overseas assignments included Afghanistan, Malawi, and Norway. President Reagan appointed him Ambassador to the Netherlands (1983-86) and then Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism (1986-89).

In the 1990s, Bremer was Managing Director of Kissinger Associates, a strategic consulting firm and then Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh Crisis Consulting Company. He was a director of numerous Fortune 500 companies. He was Trustee of the Economic Club of New York and served on several International Advisory Boards.

A recognized expert in counter terrorism, in 1999, Bremer was appointed Chairman of the Bipartisan National Commission on Terrorism. The Commission reported in 2000 that the United States faced a growing threat from Islamic extremism. After 9/11, President Bush appointed him to the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Commission. He co-chaired a Heritage Foundation study on Homeland Security, was a member of the National Academy of Science Commission examining the role of science and technology in countering terrorism, and participated in studies leading to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2003 the President recalled Bremer to government service as Presidential Envoy to Iraq (2003-2004) charged with beginning the country’s political and economic reconstruction. Bremer wrote a best-selling book, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (2006).

Bremer has received numerous awards for his public service. On December 14, 2004, President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his service in Iraq.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Middle East Public Policy. He is a director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Bremer received his B.A. from Yale University, a CEP from the Institut D’Etudes Politiques of the University of Paris, and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He has an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Ave Maria University.

Bremer’s interests include biking, skiing, French cooking and oil painting. His oil landscapes have been exhibited in several cities. His languages are French, Norwegian and Dutch. He and his wife live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Dr. Doug Ollivant

Douglas A. Ollivant is a Senior National Security Fellow with the New America Foundation.

A retired Army officer, his last assignment in government was as Director for Iraq at the National Security Council during both the Bush and Obama administrations. Ollivant recently spent one year in Afghanistan as the Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to the Commander, Regional Command-East. He is now is the Senior Vice President of Mantid International, LLC, a global strategic consulting firm with offices in Washington, Beirut and Baghdad.

Prior to his posting at the White House, Ollivant served in Iraq as the Chief of Plans for Multi- National Division Baghdad in 2006-2007. During this time he led the planning team that designed the U.S. and coalition portion of Baghdad Security Plan, the main effort of what later became known as the “Surge.” He spent an earlier Iraq tour in 2004-2005 in Baghdad, Najaf, and Fallujah. He also taught politics at the United States Military Academy at West Point for three years.

A graduate of Wheaton College, Ollivant holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies. He is a frequent television commentator on defense and Middle East issues. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Political Science Association, he is also an Operating Advisor to Monument Capital Group. He is working on a book manuscript comparing the American involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Paul Pillar

Paul R. Pillar is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, a nonresident senior fellow of the Center for Security Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and a contributing editor at The National Interest.

He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, in which his last position was national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia. Earlier he served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. Pillar also served in the National Intelligence Council as one of the original members of its Analytic Group. He has been executive assistant to the CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence and Executive Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster. He has also headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and from 1997 to 1999 was deputy chief of the center. He was a federal executive fellow at the Brookings Institution from 1999 to 2000. Dr. Pillar was a visiting professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University from 2005 to 2012.

Pillar received an A.B. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, a B.Phil. from Oxford University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and served on active duty in 1971-1973, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. He is the author of Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process (Princeton University Press, 1983); Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2001; second edition 2003); and Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (Columbia University Press, 2011). He writes a blog at

Pillar’s writing chiefly addresses Middle Eastern and South Asia affairs, U.S. foreign and security policy and the policy-making process, counterterrorism, and intelligence. He is a frequent guest in broadcast discussions on programs such as the PBS NewsHour, The Diane Rehm Show, and To The Point. He also has given testimony as an expert witness in congressional hearings, including those of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Armed Services Committee. He currently is working on a book on the historical, cultural, and political roots of American perceptions of the world abroad.