On October 25, Partnership for a Secure America and the United States Institute of Peace hosted an off-the-record briefing on the strategic implications for U.S. interests around the Middle East powers’—Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Turkey—increasingly aggressive competition for influence in the Horn of Africa alongside an expanding Chinese and Russian presence.
On September 26, Partnership for a Secure America and the United States Institute of Peace hosted an off-the-record dinner on the war in Afghanistan.
On July 16th, Vice President of the Middle East and Africa Center at the United States Institute of Peace Mike Yaffe and Senior Analyst and Africa Team Lead for the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute Emily Estelle discussed evolving efforts in Libya and Tunisia to counter terrorist operations across the region.
On June 4, Partnership for a Secure America hosted an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Spring 2018 Congressional Partnership Program with Joan O’Hara, Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President. Ms. O’Hara discussed the National Security Strategy, the upcoming summit between the U.S. and North Korea and the role of trade in foreign policy.
Joan O’Hara joined the OVP NSA as Deputy National Security Advisor in February 2017, and served as Acting National Security Advisor from September 2017 through April 2018.
Prior to joining the Administration, Joan served as General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Majority Staff. As General Counsel, Joan provided legal advice to the Committee Chairman on national security matters, and played a central role in developing the Committee’s policy positions and legislative agenda. Working closely with House Leadership, Members of Congress, interagency principals, and private sector stakeholders, she shepherded bills through the legislative process from drafting to passage into law.
Before entering law, Joan enjoyed more than a decade of experience as an elite athlete and award-winning NCAA Division I Head Coach in the sport of Rowing. As a Resident Athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California, Joan trained with the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team and was United States National Champion in the Single Sculls and Quadruple Sculls.
Joan holds a B.A. from Loyola University, an M.A. from San Diego State University, and a J.D. cum laude from New York Law School. She hails from Long Island, New York.
On May 21, Partnership for a Secure America hosted an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Spring 2018 Congressional Partnership Program with Matt Olsen, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Mr. Olsen discussed the threat of terrorism, the rise of China, and the continuing challenges the cyber domain poses to U.S. national security.
Matt Olsen has served as a leading government official on a range of national security, intelligence, and law enforcement issues.
Mr. Olsen served for three years as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Created by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, NCTC is responsible for the integration and analysis of terrorism information and strategic operational planning.
Prior to joining NCTC, Mr. Olsen was the General Counsel of the National Security Agency, serving as the agency’s chief legal officer.
Mr. Olsen worked at the Department of Justice in a number of leadership positions. He served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, responsible for national security and criminal cases. He also was Special Counselor to the Attorney General and Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, where he led the review of individuals detained at Guantanamo. Mr. Olsen served as acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security and helped establish the National Security Division.
For twelve years, Mr. Olsen was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., prosecuting violent gang members, terrorists, and white-collar criminals. Mr. Olsen served as Special Counsel to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He began his public service career as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Mr. Olsen currently is an executive at a cyber security technology firm, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, and ABC News analyst. He graduated from the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School.
On May 12th and 13th, participants in the Spring 2018 class of the Congressional Partnership Program joined foreign policy and national security experts for a weekend of thought provoking discussions and bipartisan team-building. This retreat was a great opportunity for participants to assess global challenges, explore differences, and build common ground.
Participants heard from Ambassador Robert Gallucci who discussed his experience negotiating with the North Korean regime. Amb. Gallucci was the chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean crisis in 1994, and he described his experience preparing for and negotiating with the North Koreans.
Ambassador Robert Gallucci – Former Ambassador-at-Large and Special Envoy for the U.S. Department of State
The keynote address was provided by Ambassador Ryan Crocker who discussed global foreign policy challenges. Amb. Crocker explored challenges in the Middle East, opportunities to learn from history, and possibilities for congressional engagement.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker – Former U.S. Ambassador: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon
Ms. Bonnie Glaser discussed the future of US-China Relations. Her remarks covered Chinese military expansion, Chinese investment in Latin America and Africa, and opportunities for the U.S. and China to work together on efforts such as counterterrorism and combating climate change.
Ms. Melinda Haring and Mr. Tom Carothers examined U.S. efforts to promote democracy abroad. The outlined success stories, opportunities for improvement, and potential models to explore when considering future efforts.
Ms. Bonnie Glaser – Senior Advisor for Asia, CSIS
Ms. Melinda Haring – Editor of the UkraineAlert Blog at the Atlantic Council and Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute
Mr. Thomas Carothers – Senior Vice Preidesnt for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
National Security Council Simulation
Participants engaged in a National Security Council Simulation led by Mr. Robert Sheldon to advance strategic negotiation and communication skills.
Mr. Robert Sheldon – Director of Government Technology Strategy at CrowdStrike
On April 19th, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman and former National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan discussed the deteriorating US-Turkey relationship as part of the USIP-PSA congressional briefing series Dr. Graeme Bannerman moderated the discussion
On February 21st, the Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program with Admiral Michael Mullen to discuss today’s pressing foreign policy and national security challenges. Adm. Mullen served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and previously the Navy’s 28th Chief of Naval Operations and
This was a closed event for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program.
Admiral Michael Mullen
Considered one of the most influential Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in history, Admiral Mike Mullen takes a fresh approach to the most important geopolitical issues of the 21st century, including America’s position in the world and how economic health directly impacts our National Security. Admiral Mullen believes our national debt is our greatest security threat.
Mullen, who spent four years as Chairman—the top military advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama–is a broad-minded, intellectually curious leader widely recognized as an “honest broker” by policymakers, Members of Congress and senior military officers. He brought bold and original thinking to the work of strengthening the U.S. military and advocating for those who serve.
Admiral Mullen oversaw the end of the combat mission in Iraq and the development of a new military strategy for Afghanistan, while promoting international partnerships, new technologies and new counter-terrorism tactics culminating in the killing of Osama bin Laden.
A 1968 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Mullen sought challenging positions including command at every level to develop his leadership skills during his naval career. He rose to be Chief of Naval Operations prior to assuming duties as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In an unprecedented in-depth feature article, Fast Company called Mullen “not just a new model for military officers-and a new kind of business titan-but also a case study in 21st –century leadership.”
Since retiring from the Navy, Mullen has joined the boards of General Motors, Sprint, and the Bloomberg Family Foundation. He teaches at the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He is also known for his efforts on behalf of service members, veterans, and their families. He is renowned for his role in dismantling “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allowing gay service members to serve openly.
On February 12th, the United States Institute of Peace’s Associate Vice President of the Asia Center Moeed Yusuf and former Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson led a discussion on US-Pakistan Relations as a part of the USIP-PSA Congressional briefing series
On November 28th, Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Fall 2017 Congressional Partnership Program with Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South and Central Asia, Lisa Curtis. Ms. Curtis discussed U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Lisa Curtis was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South and Central Asia on April 24, 2017. She advises the President and the National Security Advisor and guides the U.S. inter-agency policy process on U.S. interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan.
Prior to serving at the National Security Council, Lisa focused on U.S. national security interests and regional geopolitics as senior research fellow on South Asia in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Her research focused on the U.S.-India strategic and defense partnership, U.S. counterterrorism policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and trends in Islamist extremism and religious freedom throughout the region. In this role, she regularly testified before Congress and appeared on major media outlets to discuss U.S. policy in South Asia.
Before joining Heritage in August 2006, Curtis worked for the U.S. government on South Asian issues for 16 years. From 2003 to 2006, she was a member of the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she was in charge of the South Asia portfolio for the chairman at the time, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).
From 2001 to 2003, Curtis was the White House-appointed senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, where she advised on political developments and Indo-Pakistani relations. Before that, she worked as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and, in the mid-1990s, served as a diplomat in the U.S. embassies in Pakistan and India.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Curtis received a bachelor’s degree in economics at Indiana University.