What will U.S. security look like under Biden?
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta joins Hayden Center experts to discuss
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta will join the Schar School of Policy and Government’s Michael V. Hayden Center for a virtual discussion on the future of U.S. national security under the Biden administration on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
“It’s an inside look at the national security agenda and players of the incoming Biden administration from one of America’s living legends and quintessential public servants,” said Hayden Center Director Larry Pfeiffer, who will moderate the discussion.
In his more than 55-year career, Panetta served as a U.S. Army officer, a congressman, and supported four U.S. presidents: He was the civil rights director in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Nixon; Office of Management and Budget director and White House chief of staff for President Clinton; a member of George W. Bush’s Iraq Study Group; and CIA director and Secretary of Defense under President Obama.
“He’s literally seen it all—and that kind of expertise and experience will be invaluable to our audience in understanding how things will change,” said Pfeiffer, who was Panetta’s policy chief during his time as CIA director.
The discussion and accompanying audience Q&A will focus on national security challenges in the aftermath of Trump’s presidency and in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
It’s a topic that has been growing in relevancy.
“Even before Trump announced his run for the presidency, General Hayden had growing concern about attacks here and abroad on evidence-based institutions—intelligence, academia, science, and the law, in particular—on the reliance on ‘truth’ and ‘experts’ that has underpinned modern Western thought since the Renaissance,” Pfeiffer said. “His worry mounted with President Trump’s adoption of a neo-isolationist foreign policy, rejection of the value of American leadership on the global stage, and embrace of authoritarian leaders and values.”
Hayden, the only person to serve as both the director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, founded the Hayden Center at Mason in 2017 to create a space for dialogue about how intelligence interplays with U.S. national security.
In addition to experts like Pfeiffer, who was the director of the White House Situation Room, former CIA acting director Michael Morell, and Hayden himself, the center frequently brings in prominent members of the intelligence community as guest speakers.
It’s a unique benefit for Mason students.
“Students will get a rare opportunity to hear from and directly question this great public servant, and gain insights into how national security and foreign policy may divert significantly away from the ‘America First’ agenda of the past four years,” Pfeiffer said.
“They should also walk away with understanding how this won’t just be a third Obama term, and how the new administration recognizes that a strong American role overseas is wholly dependent on mending the health of our domestic situation—be it defeating the pandemic, dealing with economic wealth disparity and social justice issues.”
Register here for the Hayden Center event.