Perspectives on National Security
The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC
Ashton B. Carter
Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
Belfer Professor of Technology and Global Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
United States Secretary of Defense (2015-2017)
Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (2013-2017)
Co-chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems (emeritus), MIT
United States Secretary of Energy (2013- 2017)
Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School
United States Ambassador to the United Nations (2013-2017)
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Rachel Maddow is host of the Emmy Award-winning “The Rachel Maddow Show” on msnbc. “The Rachel Maddow Show” features Maddow’s take on the biggest stories of the day, political and otherwise, including lively debate with guests from all sides of the issues, in-depth analysis and stories no other shows in cable news will cover.
Maddow is the author of “DRIFT: The Unmooring of American Military Power,”which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list in March 2012.
“The Rachel Maddow Show” was the most successful show launch in msnbc history, immediately boosting ratings in its time period when it debuted in September 2008. “The Rachel Maddow Show” was named one of the top shows of the decade by the Washington Post in 2009. Maddow was also named a “Breakout Star of 2008” by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times named her to the “Best of Television 2008” and she was named one of the “Top Ten Political Newcomers of 2008” by Politico.com.
Maddow was honored by the Interfaith Alliance with the Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award and received the 2012 John Steinbeck Award from the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose University. She has received two Gracie Allen Awards including Outstanding Host – News/Non-fiction in 2012. “The Rachel Maddow Show” has been nominated twice by the Television Critics Association for the “Outstanding Achievement in News and Information” category and the show took home a GLAAD award in 2010.
Maddow was named an msnbc political analyst in January of 2008. She first gained national prominence as a host on Air America Radio, where she worked from its inception in 2004. Prior to joining AAR she worked for WRNX in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and WRSI in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Maddow received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford University. She earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.
Ashton B. Carter currently serves as the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School. He also is an innovation fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Most recently, Carter served as the 25th Secretary of Defense. For over thirty-five years inside government under presidents of both political parties as well as in the private sector, Ash Carter has leveraged his extraordinary experience in national security, technology and innovation to defend the United States and make a better world.
Carter served as Defense Secretary from 2015 to 2017. Leading the largest organization in the world with more than three million civilian and military employees and an annual budget of more than half a trillion dollars, Carter became known for his savvy leadership and for ensuring the Pentagon thought “outside its five-sided box.” At a time of global change and congressional gridlock, Carter transformed the way the Defense Department fought adversaries, stood with allies and partners, planned and budgeted, partnered with private enterprises, and managed its talent.
As Secretary, Carter advised President Obama and transformed the department’s strategic thinking and operations on critical global challenges and across the domains of armed conflict – not just sea and air and land, but also in space and cyberspace. He changed the trajectory of the military campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, coordinating a global coalition of dozens of nations, simultaneously conducting operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and beyond, and eliminating ISIL’s leaders and plotters. Carter also designed and executed the strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific, established the Defense Department and NATO’s new playbook for confronting Russia’s aggression, and launched the Defense Department’s latest cyber strategy.
At the same time Carter directed America’s global operations, he also spearheaded revolutionary improvements to the Defense Department. To develop new technological and operational capabilities, he pushed investments in research and development to nearly $72 billion dollars in the fiscal year 2017 budget alone. Carter also launched six transformative ‘Force of the Future’ initiatives to change the way the department recruits, trains, and retains quality people, and he also directed the opening of all military positions to women without exception. And to make the department more innovative, Carter created the Defense Digital Service to bring tech experts into the Pentagon for a tour of duty. He also opened Pentagon outposts in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, and other tech hubs to reconnect the government and military with visionary private sector leaders and companies, and established the Department’s first Defense Innovation Board, which attracted thought leaders such as Google Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, and many more, as well as the Pentagon’s Chief Innovation Officer position.
Before becoming Secretary of Defense, Carter served in the department’s number two and number three jobs.
As Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer from 2011 to 2013, he oversaw the department’s management and personnel and steered strategy and budget through the turmoil of sequester. As Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (ATL) from 2009 to 2011, Carter led the department’s procurement reform and innovation agenda, the successful completion of key procurements like the KC-46 tanker and the cancellation of unsuccessful programs like the presidential helicopter, rapid acquisitions (including the development of thousands of mine-resistant ambush protected “MRAP” vehicles that saved countless service members’ lives in Afghanistan and elsewhere), and global logistics for the largest enterprise on earth.
Earlier in his government career, Carter served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from 1993 to 1996. He was responsible for the Nunn-Lugar program that removed and eliminated nuclear weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, the military planning during the 1994 crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the Defense Department and on Capitol Hill during the Cold War, Carter was known for his work on missile defense and the then-Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as basing options for the MX Missile. Over the past three decades, Carter has also served on the Defense Policy Board, the Defense Science Board, and the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.
In addition to his government service, Carter has taught at many of the world’s outstanding academic institutions. He has been a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a lecturer at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. At Harvard’s Kennedy School from 1996 to 2009, Carter was a Professor of Science and International Affairs and Chair of the International & Global Affairs faculty. He served as a physics instructor at Oxford University, a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University and M.I.T., and an experimental research associate at Brookhaven and Fermilab National Laboratories. Secretary Carter is also author or co-author of 11 books and more than 100 articles on physics, technology, national security, and management.
Outside of government and the university, Carter was a Senior Executive at the Markle Foundation’s America-wide initiative to shape technology and trade strategies to enable all Americans to flourish in a networked global economy. Previously Carter was a Senior Partner of Global Technology Partners focused on advising major investment firms in technology, and an advisor on global affairs to Goldman Sachs. Carter has also served on the boards of the MITRE Corporation, Mitretek Systems, and Lincoln Laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and as a member of the Draper Laboratory Corporation. He was also elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.
For his government service, Secretary Carter has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the department’s highest civilian honor, on five separate occasions, and he twice received the Joint Distinguished Service Medal from the Chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Secretary Carter earned his bachelor’s degrees in physics and in medieval history, summa cum laude, at Yale University, where he was also awarded Phi Beta Kappa; and he received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Jeh Johnson was Secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017. Johnson is now a partner with the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP. He has been affiliated with Paul, Weiss on and off since 1984, and first became a partner in the firm in 1994. Johnson is also currently on the board of directors of Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation.
As Secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson was the head of the third largest cabinet department of the U.S. government, consisting of 230,000 personnel and 22 components, including TSA, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Services, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and FEMA. Johnson's responsibilities as Secretary included counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, border security, port security, maritime security, protection of our national leaders, and response to natural disasters. In three years as Secretary of DHS, Johnson is credited with management reform of the Department which brought about a more centralized approach to decision-making in the areas of budgets, acquisition and overall policy, and for raised employee morale across the Department.
Prior to becoming Secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson was General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2012). In that position, Johnson is credited with being the legal architect for the U.S. military’s counterterrorism efforts in the Obama Administration. In 2010, Johnson also co-authored the report that paved the way for the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by Congress later that year. In his final days as General Counsel of the Defense Department, Johnson delivered the first of his two notable addresses at the Oxford Union in England, entitled "How Will the War Against al Qaeda End?," which received international attention and acclaim.
In October 1998, Johnson was appointed by President Clinton to be General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, and served in that position until January 2001. Earlier in his career, Johnson was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1989-1991), where he tried 12 cases and argued 11 appeals in three years. Johnson is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a graduate of Morehouse College (1979) and Columbia Law School (1982), and the recipient of nine honorary degrees.
Ernest Moniz served as the thirteenth United States Secretary of Energy from 2103 to January 2017. As Secretary, he advanced energy technology innovation, nuclear security and strategic stability, cutting-edge capabilities for the American scientific research community, and environmental stewardship. He strengthened the Department of Energy (DOE) strategic partnership with its seventeen national laboratories and with the Department of Defense and the broader national security establishment. Specific accomplishments included producing analytically-based energy policy proposals that attracted bipartisan support and statutory implementation, leading an international initiative that placed energy science and technology innovation at the center of the global response to climate change, and negotiating alongside the Secretary of State the historic Iran nuclear agreement. He reorganized a number of DOE program elements, elevated sound project and risk management, and strengthened enterprise-wide management to improve mission outcomes.
Dr. Moniz previously served in government as DOE Under Secretary from 1997 until January 2001 with science, energy and nuclear security responsibilities and from 1995 to 1997 as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy with responsibility for the physical, life and social sciences. He was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and of the Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee from 2009 to 2013. He also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future that provided advice to the President and the Secretary of Energy on nuclear waste management.
Dr. Moniz served on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty from 1973 until becoming Secretary of Energy in 2013. He held the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems Chair, was the Founding Director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), and was Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. MITEI grew to involve a substantial number of faculty across the entire Institute, launched new educational programs for energy, and established novel models for industry-faculty engagement that simultaneously provided individualized company research portfolios with a commons that lifted the entire energy enterprise.
Prior to government service, Moniz was Head of the Department of Physics during 1991-1995 and 1997 and Director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center from 1983-1991. His physics research centered on developing the theoretical framework for understanding intermediate energy electron and meson interactions with atomic nuclei. Since 2001, his primary research focus has been energy technology and policy, including a leadership role in MIT multidisciplinary technology and policy studies addressing pathways to a low-carbon world (such as Future of Nuclear Power, of Coal, of Natural Gas and of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle). These studies had significant impact on energy policy.
Dr. Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College, a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University, and eight honorary doctorates, including three from European universities. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and received the 1998 Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Medals of the Department of Defense and of the Navy. He also was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III (Cyprus) and of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator (Portugal). Moniz received the Charles Percy Award of the Alliance to Save Energy and the Right Stuff Award of the Blue-Green Alliance Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Moniz is a resident of Brookline Massachusetts with his wife Naomi of more than four decades, their daughter Katya, and grandchildren Alex and Eve. He is a very modestly accomplished but very enthusiastic practitioner of fly-fishing and soccer.
Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. Ambassador Power is a 2017-18 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. In this role, Power became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, helped build new international law to cripple ISIL’s financial networks, and supported President Obama’s pathbreaking actions to end the Ebola crisis. President Obama has called her “one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy,” saying that “she showed us that the international community has a moral responsibility and a profound interest in resolving conflicts and defending human dignity.”
From 2009 to 2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, where she focused on issues including atrocity prevention; UN reform; LGBT and women’s rights; the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of religious minorities; and the prevention of human trafficking.
Called by Forbes “a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy,” Ambassador Power has been named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” and one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”
Power has been recognized as a leading voice internationally for principled American engagement in the world. Her book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. Power is also author of the New York Times bestseller Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008) and was the co-editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). She is currently writing a new book, The Education of an Idealist, which will chronicle her years in public service and reflect on the role of human rights and humanitarian ideals in contemporary geopolitics.
Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Before joining the U.S. government, Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School, a columnist for TIME, and a National Magazine Award-winning contributor to the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books.
Power immigrated to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine. She earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She is married to Cass Sunstein, with whom she has two children.