Building on her experiences as a security leader in both state and federal government, Juliette Kayyem will address our national security apparatus and how it responds to changing threats. The challenges America faces today seem infinite, but resources and focus are not. Many of the threats we face today are borderless or come from within: homegrown terror, mega-storms, cyber attacks, pandemics. These challenges require governments — whether local, state or federal — to adapt, while still keeping an eye on the threats that may lie ahead. Kayyem will describe how the federal security apparatus prioritizes its efforts and responds should danger come to pass, how it works (in fits and starts) with local and state authorities, and how those authorities can better harness and engage to protect the safety and security of their communities. Drawing on lessons learned managing crises from terrorism to the BP Oil Spill, and working in the Situation Room, Kayyem’s ultimate goal is to remind the audience that it is our citizens’ homes we are meant to protect.
About Juliette N. Kayyem
Juliette N. Kayyem is the national security and foreign policy columnist for the Boston Globe and lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has spent nearly 15 years in counterterrorism, homeland security and emergency management arenas, most recently serving for President Obama as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. As assistant secretary, Kayyem was responsible for coordinated and consistent planning between the department and all of its state, local, tribal and territorial partners on issues as varied as immigration, intelligence sharing, military affairs, border security, and the response to operational events such as H1N1, the December 25th attempted terrorist attack, the Haiti earthquake and the BP oil spill. In this capacity, she served as the co-chair of the congressionally mandated Preparedness Task Force, a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico and the Defense Departments Council of Governors. She also managed the security efforts surrounding major sporting events, including the Chicago Olympic bid, the Vancouver Olympics, the Caribbean Games and the World Equestrian Games. She was the most senior Arab American female appointee in the Obama Administration.
In the immediate aftermath of the BP oil spill, Kayyem was tasked to direct inter-agency and intergovernmental affairs for the National Incident Command. She received the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor for her work in this capacity.
Before joining the Obama Administration, Kayyem served as Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security advisor. Prior to that, she was a lecturer at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, serving also as co-chair of the Dubai Initiative and as executive director of the school’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. A lawyer by training, she began her legal career in 1995 at the Department of Justice, ultimately serving as an advisor to then Attorney General Janet Reno until 1999.
Kayyem was a congressional appointee to the National Commission on Terrorism in early summer 2001. She is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book “Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror” (with Phil Heymann) as well as the author and editor of numerous books and articles, including “First to Arrive: State and Local Responses to Terrorism”.