The Biden Administration’s First 100 Days in Review
The Biden Administration’s First 100 Days in Review
The Aspen Security Forum hosted National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, former Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, and Chairman of BlackRock Investment Institute and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in an open conference on April 30th. The conversation was facilitated by journalists, including The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib and The New York Times’Helene Cooper. Through keynote and panel conversations, the speakers examined President Biden’s efforts to modernize the U.S. military for the conflicts of tomorrow, address its biggest foreign policy challenges including China and Russia, craft a foreign policy for the middle class, among other topics.
Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Jake Sullivan is Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Previously, Mr. Sullivan was a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Sullivan also served as National Security Adviser to then-Vice President Joe Biden and Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was the Senior Policy Adviser on Secretary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Sullivan has also been a Senior Policy Adviser and Chief Counsel to Senator Amy Klobuchar from his home state of Minnesota, worked as an Associate for Faegre & Benson LLP, and taught at the University of St. Thomas. He clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and Justice Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mr. Sullivan holds both undergraduate and law degrees from Yale and a master’s degree from Oxford.
Kathleen H. Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Kathleen H. Hicks serves as the 35th Deputy Secretary of Defense; she was sworn into office on Feb. 9, 2021. Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, she held the position of Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 2009 to 2013, she served as a senior civilian official in the Department of Defense. Confirmed by the United States Senate in 2012 as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, she was responsible for advising the secretary of defense on global and regional defense policy and strategy. She also served as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Forces, leading the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and crafting guidance for future force capabilities, overseas military posture, and contingency and theater campaign plans. Prior to becoming the DUSD for SPF, from 2006 to 2009 Deputy Secretary Hicks was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She launched her career as a civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving from 1993 to 2006 in a variety of capacities and rising from Presidential Management Intern to the Senior Executive Service. Deputy Secretary Hicks holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs, and an A.B. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College.
Stephen Biegun, Former Deputy Secretary of State
Stephen E. Biegun has more than three decades of international affairs experience in government and the private sector, including high-level government service with the Department of State, the White House, and the United States Congress. In 2021, Mr. Biegun concluded his most recent government service as the Deputy Secretary of State, to which he was confirmed by the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 90-3. Prior to his most recent government service, Mr. Biegun served as 15 years as a corporate vice president with Ford Motor Company. Mr. Biegun began his career as a foreign policy specialist with the United States Congress, with a focus on Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Europe, ultimately rising to a number of senior-level positions including as Chief of Staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as the National Security Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. He served two years as the Executive Secretary of the White House National Security Council, serving as an advisor and deputy to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. From 1992-1994, Mr. Biegun was the Resident Program Director in the Russian Federation for the International Republican Institute. Mr. Biegun has volunteered as a board member for several international, national, and local non-profit organizations and has led mentoring programs for next generation United States foreign policy and national security leaders. He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian language and political science.
Thomas E. Donilon, Chairman, BlackRock Investment Institute and Former National Security Advisor
Tom Donilon is Chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute. Mr. Donilon has worked closely with and advised three U.S. presidents. Most recently he served as National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama. He chaired the 2016 National Commission on Enhancing Cybersecurity and currently is a distinguished fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has been a member of the U.S. Defense Policy Board and the CIA’s External Advisory Board. Mr. Donilon has received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Defense Department’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the CIA Director’s Award, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Mr. Donilon is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, and the Brookings Institution Board of Trustees. Mr. Donilon lives in Washington D.C. with his spouse, Ambassador Cathy Russell.
In Conversation with
Helene Cooper, Pentagon Correspondent, The New York Times
Helene Cooper is a Pentagon correspondent with The New York Times. She joined the paper in 2004 as assistant editorial page editor, before becoming diplomatic correspondent in 2006 and White House correspondent in 2009. In 2015, she was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, for her work in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic. She is also the winner of of the George Polk award for health reporting (2015) and the Overseas Press Club Award (2015). Ms. Cooper is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood” (Simon and Schuster, 2008), a memoir of growing up in Monrovia, Liberia, as well as “Madame President: The Extraordinary Story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf” (Simon and Schuster, 2017).
Jennifer Griffin, National Security Correspondent, Fox News Channel
Since 2007, Jennifer Griffin has reported daily from the Pentagon as a national security correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent, and has previously reported from Moscow, Cyprus, Pakistan/Afghanistan, and South Africa. She is co-author with her husband, Greg Myre, of This Burning Land: New Lessons from the Frontlines of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. She is the recipient of the Tex McCreary journalism award from the Medal of Honor Foundation, and is the mother of three children.
Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal
Gerald F. Seib is the Executive Washington Editor of The Wall Street Journal, where he writes the weekly “Capital Journal” column. Mr. Seib reported on the Middle East for the Journal in the early 1980s and covered the White House from 1987 through 1992. He has moderated three presidential debates and interviewed every president since Ronald Reagan. He has won the Merriman Smith Award for coverage of the presidency, the Aldo Beckman Award for coverage of the White House, and the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Reporting Prize. He was part of a team of Journal reporters and editors who won the Pulitzer Prize in the breaking news category for their coverage of 9/11. Mr. Seib is author of a 2020 book from Random House, “We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump, a Front-Row Seat to a Political Revolution.”
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