Security Paradox - A Public Address by General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


Associated Program:
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum
Martin E. Dempsey
HKS National Security Fellows Program

This Forum, co-sponsored by the National Security Fellows, featured the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey. General Dempsey began his address by challenging the students in attendance to serve and support their country in any capacity. General Dempsey focused his address on what he called the “security paradox.” The paradox is that on the one hand, the U.S. remains a dominant international force while violence is at an evolutionary low, but on the other hand, the potential for violence has never been greater. He attributed this danger mostly to technological advances which make more states, terrorist groups and even individuals serious security threats. General Dempsey then discussed the ways in which the U.S. military is adjusting to this different climate of security dangers. Throughout his address and in the Q&A session after, General Dempsey’s impressive character was on display, marked especially by his intelligence, integrity and humor, resulting in a compelling event. Harvard Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood moderated the evening.