Secretary Jeh Johnson Joins PSA Advisory Board

Washington, DC – Today, Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) welcomes Secretary Jeh Johnson as a member of the organization’s renowned bipartisan Advisory Board.  Johnson served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017. He is widely recognized for his pragmatic leadership and is credited with building a more effective, cohesive DHS.

Prior to leading the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Johnson served as General Counsel to the U.S. Department of Defense from 2009-2012 where he was a primary legal architect of the Obama administration’s military counterterrorism mission. From 1998 to 2001, Johnson was General Counsel of the U.S. Air Force under the Clinton Administration.

By joining the PSA Advisory Board, Johnson becomes the 23rd member of this distinguished bipartisan group.

“I am honored to join PSA’s Advisory Board,” said Johnson. “Bipartisanship is crucial to overcoming the challenges we currently face to our national security. These challenges are not partisan and solving them demands significant collaboration across the aisle. I very much believe in PSA’s mission and look forward to supporting PSA’s efforts to promote bipartisan solutions.”

“We are pleased to welcome Secretary Johnson to the PSA Advisory Board,” said Nathan Sermonis, PSA Executive Director.  “Secretary Johnson’s extensive experience, notable leadership, and commitment to bipartisanship will bring new insight to our mission, and we look forward to working together.”

PSA is a nonprofit founded by former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and the late U.S. Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) to promote bipartisanship on foreign policy and national security issues facing the country today. Utilizing the leadership of its Advisory Board, PSA has unique credibility and experience to generate space for thoughtful discussion and craft effective policy that advances America’s national interests.

Admiral Michael Mullen (U.S. Navy, Ret.) Joins PSA Advisory Board

Washington, DC– Today, Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) welcomed Admiral (Ret.) Michael Mullen as a member of the organization’s renowned Advisory Board. Mullen served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military advisor, for four years to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during his 43 years of service in the U.S. Navy. Mullen is widely recognized for his broad-minded leadership, overseeing the end of the combat mission in Iraq and developing a new military strategy for Afghanistan. In addition, he is an ardent promoter of international partnerships, new technologies and new counter-terrorism tactics.

Mullen graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD in 1968, and proceeded to embrace every challenge he was presented throughout his career with strong determination. Since retiring from the U.S. Navy, Mullen continues to serve his community and country through his dedication to helping fellow veterans, service members and their families, while also teaching the next generation of leaders at the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton University.

By joining the PSA Advisory Board, Mullen becomes the 23rd member of this distinguished bipartisan group.

“I am pleased to be a part of such an important organization,” said Mullen. “PSA’s mission of bipartisanship in the area of foreign policy and national security is imperative in today’s political climate. Promoting thoughtful, common-ground policy remains critical to addressing our nation’s great challenges.”

“PSA is thrilled to welcome Admiral Mullen to the Advisory Board,” said Nathan Sermonis, PSA Executive Director. “Admiral Mullen’s experiences and ideas will provide a fresh approach to PSA’s mission, and we look forward to working together.”

PSA is a nonprofit founded by former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and the late U.S. Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) to promote bipartisanship on foreign policy and national security issues facing the country today. Utilizing the leadership of its Advisory Board, PSA has unique credibility and experience to generate space for thoughtful discussion and craft effective policy that advances America’s national interests.

Madeleine Albright at CSIS Foreign Policy Forum

Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the North Korea crisis and her experiences as a top U.S. diplomat with Minister Kyung-wha Kang (Republic of Korea) and Victor Cha (Senior Adviser & Korea Chair, CSIS).


Albright on North Korea

Secretary Albright opened with her thoughts on how the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang has evolved in recent years. She emphasized that the relationship between the two countries has never been easy, and described how the U.S. and Kim Jong Il had discussed production of nuclear materials, Japanese and South Korean actions in the region, and whether U.S. was staying true to its promises. When Albright served as US ambassador to the United Nations, North Korea was threatening to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However,   when she served as Secretary of State, the U.S. and North Korea managed to sign a mutual “no-hostile-intent agreement”, which she believes was a remarkable step forward. According to Secretary Albright, the Washington-Pyongyang relationship took a turn when the Bush administration opted for a more aggressive and unwavering approach towards the North Korean regime.


Hopes for Future Diplomacy

Albright and Minister Kang both agreed on the direction that the U.S. and the international community should pursue when dealing with Kim Jong Un. Both believe that the pursuit of diplomatic strategies should be a top priority; Albright added that the U.S government should aim to “lower the temperature” and calm its rhetoric in order to get a conversation started. Albright is a staunch believer that there is room for peaceful diplomacy, however she acknowledges that time is running out. When asked about whether economic sanctions were working on North Korea, Albright responded by reiterating the need for a concerted effort from the international community to achieve multilateral consensus. The former Secretary of State also believes that the Chinese and Russians should be involved due to their proximity and economic interest in the region. Although the impact of sanctions is not immediately apparent, Albright is optimistic about their potential to pressure the North Korean government holistically.


Secretary of State: The Female Perspective

As the first female Secretary of State, Albright recalls how she managed to overcome the social pressures that came with the position. “I had more problems with the men in our own government”, Albright said jokingly. During discussions at the principals committee, Albright found herself taking over by demanding respect and speaking up. In addition, she assured the public that her gender did not prevent her from dealing with foreign diplomats. She stated, “if they were to have foreign policy discussions with the U.S., they had to go through me.” With Minister Kang present, Secretary Albright took the opportunity to share some advice. She assured her that if she is knowledgeable about the issues, speaks up early in meetings, surrounds herself with the best minds, and listens to outsider opinions, her life as the top South Korean diplomat will be full of successes and accomplishments.

Madeleine Albright at Bipartisan National Security Forum

Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the role of the United States in the world today with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum. Albright discussed bipartisanship, the role of the United States in the world, China, and Russia and NATO.

Albright on Bipartisanship

Madeleine Albright began by emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship in resolving national security threats. She explained that bipartisanship is essential for success, calling it the “hallmark of American foreign policy.” On this point, she acknowledged the important role of congressional staffers in advancing bipartisan solutions. Most of all, Albright recommended staffers form relationships and travel on delegation trips with other staffers in order to advance bipartisan solutions. She pointed towards her own friendship with Senator Jesse Helms, which allowed her to produce agreements on foreign policy. Albright finished her remarks by stating that bipartisan solutions would “make the Senate great again.”

America’s Role in the World

Albright promoted the need for a rule-based world order as it prevents the world from devolving into chaos. She explained the consistent involvement of the United States in creating these rules, but she warned that not following through with our self-created rules can weaken our position and image in the international community. When questioned on the topic of advancing human rights in the world, Albright responded, “Why should we worry about people in far away places?…Because our way of life depends on what happens in these other countries,” expressing the necessity of human rights in global peace and security.


Secretary Albright emphasized the dangers of not following internationally-accepted rules by pointing towards China, whose actions in the South China Sea are eroding the rule-based world order. China’s island-building, which was deemed illegal, has created more instability in the region. She highlighted that the instability caused by China’s actions supports the need for a rule-based order throughout the world.

Russia and NATO

On the topic of Russia, Albright reaffirmed the importance of NATO as leverage against Russia. With the rising threat that Russia poses to liberal alliances and institutions, Albright underscored that NATO is necessary for defending against armed attacks, but also for advancing the common goals of liberal democracies. She pointed towards Ukraine and Georgia,  which have gained confidence in promoting the goals and values of liberal democracies simply by being affiliated with NATO, despite lacking membership.

Paula Dobriansky at Bipartisan National Security Forum

Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State, spoke at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum on June 23rd alongside Kristen Silberberg, Charles Kupchan, and Julianne Smith. They came together to discuss ‘Restoring Transatlantic Alliances.’  The group examined the liberal world order, the EU, and the recent decision of President Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement.  The panelists often came to agreement, but also expressed many differences in opinions, especially on the Paris Agreement.

Liberal World Order

From the start, the panelists were in consensus that it was not the end of the “post-World War Two world order.” However, they also agreed that this order was indeed being challenged. Dobriansky, specifically, spoke on Russia’s recent aggression, explaining how Putin is challenging liberal values, alliances, institutions, and ideals. On this point, Kupchan argued that external threats have always been present and that the greater threat are new internal weaknesses. The panelists agreed that the system was under a great amount of strain and that the United States should promote dialogue between other states in order to work together on fixing the mounting issues.

The European Union

The panelists all expressed concern over the future of American influence within the European Union, especially due to the instability it is currently facing as a result of Brexit, mass immigration, and terrorism. Brexit was the greatest concern among the panelists, as the United Kingdom had consistently been the biggest champion of American interests. Smith suggested that, following Brexit, the United States should establish trade agreements between the European Union and the United Kingdom. On this point, Silverman expressed the need for trilateral talks until Brexit is officially carried out. Dobriansky acknowledged that the European Union needs reform, pointing to the inflexibility of its regulations as a point of contention between member states.

Dobriansky Disagrees on Paris Climate Agreement

Regarding the Paris Climate Agreement. the panelists were split over the implications of the U.S. withdrawal. Smith expressed concern that the withdrawal of the U.S. from such a popular agreement could cast doubt on our relationship with the European Union. On this point, Kupchan voice his concern over the effect our withdrawal will have on Europe’s willingness to advance the American agenda in the future, since climate change is an area of great concern for the European Union. Dobriansky, however, pointed to the Kyoto Protocol of 1992, which the United States did not accept, explaining that our relationship with Europe was not harmed, especially in matters of security. Despite some disagreement, the panelists agreed that the implications of our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement remain to be seen.

Perry, Lugar at Bipartisan North Korea Panel

Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board members William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, and Richard Lugar, former Senator (R-IN), recently spoke at the Hoover Institution on the future of North Korea, suggesting proposals on how to approach the North Korean threat. The PSA Advisory Board members joined Michael Auslin, Resident Scholar and Director of Japan Studies at AEI, on the bipartisan panel. The panelists agreed that Kim Jong Un is a rational and successful leader who will not attack unprovoked. They also suggested that this rationality will allow the United States to take a diplomatic approach to North Korea. Diplomacy requires cooperation between South Korea, Japan, Russia, and, most importantly, China, which will be the greatest challenge in this approach.

The Kim Regime

First, the panelists discussed the Kim regime, agreeing on Kim’s rationality and success as a leader. Perry, specifically, warned against calling Kim Jong Un ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational.’ Michael Auslin supported this claim, noting Kim’s successes in stabilizing the economy, developing new technology and weaponry, and securing the future of the regime more so than in the past. The panelists agreed that Kim’s main objective is to secure his regime’s power, which indicates that Kim is rational and understands that an unprovoked attack would be suicidal for both his regime and North Korea.

Diplomacy with North Korea

Coming to a consensus on the rationality of the Kim regime, the panelists noted that the current conditions are ideal for a diplomatic strategy. Perry noted that military action can no longer eliminate the nuclear program due to mobile missiles and secrecy within the country. He suggested that the President should appoint a special envoy to meet with North Korea, but proposed that the ideal diplomatic package must include China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Lugar suggested that the first steps in reaching diplomatic negotiations should be weakening the regime through economic means and helping North Korean citizens become better informed, noting that a better informed public would open up opportunities to work together in ways different from diplomatic negotiations. When questioned about Dennis Rodman’s role in diplomacy, Lugar joked that Rodman’s unlikely friendship could be considered this era’s ‘ping-pong diplomacy.’

Challenges of Diplomacy

The panelists agreed that one of the greatest challenges with diplomacy would be finding common ground with the various countries in the region, specifically China. Lugar compared the challenging nature of future negotiations with the Kim regime to negotiations in the past between the United States and the Soviet Union. Auslin highlighted that the United States must work harder to understand the different goals, perspectives, and capabilities of the different countries, but suggested that they can likely find common ground on nuclear nonproliferation. Perry, however, warned that the influence of the United States may be weakening as a result of our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it will allow China to take on a more dominant role within the region.

Gen. David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.) Joins PSA Advisory Board

Washington, DC – Today, Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) welcomed General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus as the newest member of the organization’s distinguished Advisory Board. Petraeus served 37 years with the United States Army and was widely recognized for his leadership of the Surge in Iraq, for his oversight of the organization that produced the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency manual, and for his command of coalition forces in Afghanistan as they reversed the momentum of the Taliban and enabled the commencement of the transition of tasks to Afghan forces. After General Petraeus’ retirement from the military, he served as Director of the CIA, leading the Agency during a period of significant achievement in the global war on terror and in the expansion of investment in the Agency’s human capital.

Petraeus graduated with distinction from the United States Military Academy and earned a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program of international relations and economics from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In addition to his current position as Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, he also is a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California.

Joining PSA’s Advisory Board, Petraeus becomes the 23rd member of the esteemed bipartisan group and the first retired General to hold a seat on the committee.

“We are very pleased to welcome General Petraeus to the PSA Advisory Board,” said Nathan Sermonis, PSA Executive Director. “General Petraeus’ wealth of knowledge and experience will bring important new perspectives to our mission promoting bipartisanship on today’s national security and foreign policy challenges.”

PSA is a nonprofit founded by former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and the late U.S. Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) to advance bipartisanship on today’s critical national security and foreign policy challenges. Leveraging the leadership of its distinguished Advisory Board, PSA has unique credibility and access to forge common ground and fashion thoughtful fact-based policy that promotes America’s national interests.

More information on PSA and bios of our distinguished bipartisan Advisory Board can be found at
CONTACT: Jessica Harrington (202-293-8580), or


1129 20th St., NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20036
tel: +1202-293-8580