Fault Lines: Hot Topics in the Arctic

In This Episode: “You know nature abhors a vacuum, and, as the polar ice cap shrinks, people are going to move in and the degree of human activity is going to increase” says NSI Visiting Fellow and former senior intelligence official Jim Danoy.

What do Russia, China and Canada all have in common?  All disagree – in one manner or another – with American policy goals in the Arctic, where climate change is driving opportunities and challenges for US policy-makers.  In this episode, former senior intelligence official Jim Danoy discusses his paper, “The Arctic: Securing the High Ground,” with host Lester Munson.  They discuss the fascinating policy dilemmas posed by the unique geography of the North Pole and how the United States can exploit new opportunities to maximum benefit.

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Fault Lines: Gobsmackingly Apparent

In This Episode: “This to me is another example that this model is not stable and it doesn’t do better for its people” says former Senior Staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Dana Stroul

Our favorite foreign policy nerds – with the addition of NSI Visiting Fellow Andy Keiser – discuss the geopolitics of the Coronavirus that has massively impacted China and its economy.  Listen in as Jodi, Dana, Lester and Andy discuss what the Coronavirus pandemic may mean for China’s place in the world, China’s internal politics, and the ins-and-outs of the U.S. response.

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Fault Lines: War and Peace, or: How Do You Solve a Problem Named Putin

In This Episode: “I actually think we are losing when it comes to the international arena.  We look at what’s happening in the Middle East and the whip hand today goes to Russia and goes to Turkey” says NSI Founder and Executive Director Jamil N. Jaffer.

Jodi, Dana, Jamil and Lester discuss constitutional changes in Moscow, the future of Vladimir Putin, how the United States should handle Russian aggression and whether Republicans and Democrats have any common ground on the matter.

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Fault Lines: Soleimani Fallout

In This Episode: “You have a lot of people who are not non-Iran experts looking at this as if they were Iran experts and thinking that this is the end game. I wish this was the end game. I am not sad about Qasem Soleimani’s death but I am not at all convinced that this will be the last retaliatory reaction we see from Iran” says Jodi Herman.

Jamil, Dana, Jodi, and Lester discuss the current state of affairs between Iran and the United States, for better and for worse. A vigorous and pointed analysis of congressional war powers is not to be missed. The first Fault Lines Podcast of 2020 is a humdinger! And that’s no malarkey!

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NSI Welcomes New Advisory Board Members and Visiting Fellows

December 20, 2019
Contact: Jessica Moreno

The National Security Institute Welcomes New Advisory Board Members and Visiting Fellows

Arlington, VA – The National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School announced today four prominent additions to its Advisory Board:

  • Judy Ansley – Former Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, National Security Council
  • Richard H. Ledgett, Jr. – Former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency
  • Kristi M. Rogers – Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Principal to Principal
  • Michelle Van Cleave – Former National Counterintelligence Executive

These four add decades of distinguished experience to NSI’s bipartisan Advisory Board that already includes a former CIA director, a former NSA director, and a former U.S. Attorney General.  More information on NSI’s full Advisory Board can be found here.

NSI also added to its impressive roster of Visiting Fellows.  NSI’s newest Fellows served as leaders in Congress and the Executive branch, and continue to hold senior positions in the private sector and academia.  These new Fellows include:

  • Christian Beckner – Senior Director of Retail Technology and Cybersecurity, National Retail Federation
  • Ernie Bio – Vice President, ForgePoint Capital
  • Jennifer Cafarella – Research Director, Institute for the Study of War
  • Giovanna M. Cinelli – Partner and Practice Lead, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • David Etue – Global Head of Managed Security Services, BlueVoyant
  • Alex Gallo – Executive Director, Common Mission Project
  • Salman Husain – Vice President of Investment Banking, Aronson Capital Partners
  • Mario Loyola – Former Associate Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Margaret Martin – Director and Assistant General Counsel, Capital One
  • Andrew McClure – Principal, ForgePoint Capital
  • Sasha Moss – Senior Director, Insight Public Affairs
  • Kenneth Nunnenkamp – Partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Tony Samp – Former Director, Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus; Policy Advisor, DLA Piper
  • Heather West – Head of Public Policy, Americas, Mozilla, Corp.
  • Sounil Yu – Author and Inventor, Cyber Defense Matrix; Former Chief Security Scientist, Bank of America

These experts join a class of 100 Fellows who have already made outstanding contributions to NSI through policy papers, panel discussions, and other scholarship.  A complete list of NSI Visiting Fellows can be found here.

About the National Security Institute

The National Security Institute serves as a platform for research, teaching, scholarship, and policy development that incorporates a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and its allies, as well as an appreciation of the legal and practical challenges facing U.S. intelligence, defense, and cybersecurity communities.  NSI draws on the experience of its visiting fellows, as well as its highly distinguished advisory board and faculty, to produce timely research and policy materials that deliver insightful analysis and actionable recommendations to senior policymakers in the White House and key departments and agencies, as well as those on Capitol Hill.

About the Scalia Law School

The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is defined by three words:  Learn.  Challenge.  Lead.  Students receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), are taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, are well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead).  It has been one of America’s top-ranked law schools for the last fifteen years.

About George Mason

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university.  Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130   countries and all 50 states.  Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

Fault Lines: The Empire Strikes Out?

Fault Lines: The Empire Strikes Out?

In This Episode: “This NDAA is a rejection of the bulk of this administration’s foreign policy.  It comes in hard against Russia and its involvement in Eastern Europe, it comes out hard against Turkey and our allowing of the Turks to roll over our allies and the Kurds, it comes out aggressively against China,” says NSI Founder and Executive Director Jamil N. Jaffer.

In our last episode of 2019, Dana, Jamil and Lester welcome special guest Elisa Catalano, former Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Council and former Senior Policy Advisor at the State Department, to the podcast.  The group takes on the Washington Post’s 6-part series on the war in Afghanistan and the foreign policy aspects of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

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The Arctic: Securing the High Ground


This NSI Law and Policy Paper:

  • Describes the changing security dynamic in the Arctic as a result of increased access to the region.
  • Evaluates the actions undertaken by Arctic stakeholders including key U.S. competitors Russia and China.
  • Argues for more robust action by the U.S. in the Arctic to include leveraging key partnerships.
  • Proposes actionable recommendations aimed at the U.S. establishing a credible and persistent presence in the Arctic.

Click here to read the complete paper.

About the author:

James P. Danoy is a Visiting Fellow at the National Security Institute at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  Mr. Danoy is a career intelligence officer with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and is currently serving as the DIA Executive Representative to the FBI and is responsible for leveraging defense and law enforcement intelligence capabilities in support of national security requirements.

Episode 5: Groundhog Day All Over Again?

Fault Lines: Groundhog Day All Over Again?

In This Episode: “I think action should have consequences, and I think NATO collectively should be treating Turkey like the bad actor it is,” says NSI Senior Fellow and Associate Director for Global Security Matthew R. A. Heiman.

What better way to begin Thanksgiving week than to listen to our motley bunch discuss Turkey… and Iran?  Jodi, Dana, Lester and guest Matthew Heiman review protests in Iran, Turkish incursions into Syria, and how Washington is responding.  Is it “Groundhog Day” in Iran?  (What would Bill Murray do?)

Also included: a serious discussion of changing power dynamics in the Middle East and how that affects American interests.

Tune in each week to hear about topics dominating headlines, as well as to gain glimpses into the news stories you may have missed.

NSI Accepting Applications for Technologist Fellowship

The NSI Technologist Fellowship is a year-long fellowship geared at taking technologists from across the country and giving the them the core tools they need to effectively engage policymakers in both the legislative and executive branches on cyber issues.  NSI Technologist fellows have the opportunity to engage with cyber experts and leading technology and national security policymakers.  Past speakers include former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers; Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs; former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency Rick Ledgett; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon; and entrepreneur Ron Gula, co-founder of Tenable Network Security.

The goal of the NSI Technologist Fellowship is to enhance technologists’ ability to influence the larger policy community and thereby inject more direct technology-related expertise into the national security and cyber policy processes.

The application for the 2020 class is now open.  Applications are due Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

More Fellowship Information can be found here.

Application Information can be found here.

NSI Technologist Fellowship Class of 2019

Fault Lines Podcast – Episode 2

In This Episode: 

“This decision by the president…it’s a terrible decision, it’s bad for our policy worldwide, it makes our enemies not fear us, it makes our allies not willing to trust us,” says NSI Founder Jamil Jaffer.

This week, Dana, Jamil and Lester delve into two hot spots.  First, in Syria, they will explore the implications of President Trump’s abrupt pullout of American troops for the region and American politics.  Second, they’ll take a look at the dustup between the NBA and China, and what it might mean for the politics of US national security and they’ll also decide who is the greatest basketball player of all-time.

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Fault Lines is the fortnightly podcast of the National Security Institute at George Mason University, featuring a regular cast of foreign policy experts: Jodi Herman, former Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Jamil Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute and former Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Dana Stroul, former senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and moderator Lester Munson, former Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University.

This motley crew will examine national security and foreign policy issues with perspectives from across the political spectrum-finding points of agreement and often disagreement along the way. Each episode explores the topics dominating headlines, as well as gives glimpses into the news stories you may have missed.

A Book Talk: “How We Win”

Monday, October 7
Hazel Hall 215
12 – 1 PM

NSI Advisory Board Member Farah Pandith participated in a conversation about her latest book, How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat.  In her book, Ms. Pandith presents a revolutionary new analysis of global extremism as well as powerful but seldom-used strategies for vanquishing it.  NSI Founder and Executive Director Jamil N. Jaffer interviewed Ms. Pandith.

Watch the video

Fault Lines Podcast – Episode 1

Introducing Fault Lines
A Podcast from the National Security Institute

After three episodes as guests of the Lawfare Podcast, the National Security Institute at George Mason University is stepping out on its own!  Fault Lines will feature a regular cast of foreign policy experts: Jodi Herman, former Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Jamil N. Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute and former Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Dana Stroul, former senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee covering the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey; and moderator Lester Munson, NSI Senior Fellow and former Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University.This motley crew will examine national security and foreign policy issues with perspectives from across the political spectrum – finding points of agreement and – often – disagreement along the way.

In This Episode: 

“Whether you’re looking at Iran’s efforts to build a covert nuclear program, its use of proxies in Iraq to kill American troops back in 1983 – the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks that killed 241 Americans – they have not been shy about coming directly at their adversaries really almost never since the revolution,” says Fault Line‘s Jodi Herman.

This week, our experts delve into two hot spots.  First, in the Middle East, where Iran attacked Saudi oil facilities, they examine possible reactions from President Trump, who is now without former National Security Advisor John Bolton, as well as the American public’s limit regarding Iranian aggression.  They also argued over whether China, with an ongoing trade dispute with the US, upcoming elections in Taiwan, and continued global attention on China’s crackdown on Uighurs, tempers its response to near open revolt in Hong Kong, and whether Congress is going to do something in light of the Administration’s seeming disinterest.


NSI Law and Policy Paper – Critical Access: Enhancing the Value of Private Sector Security Clearances to Protect Critical Infrastructure

This NSI Law and Policy Paper:

  • Describes the development of programs providing high-level clearances to critical infrastructure industry representatives to facilitate information sharing around growing nation state threats.
  • Evaluates the current gaps and inconsistencies among these clearance programs.
  • Argues that information sharing at classified levels is essential and critical infrastructure clearance programs must be enhanced.
  • Provides recommendations to ensure clearance programs are facilitating actionable information sharing and a secure critical infrastructure.

Read the complete paper here.

About the Author:

Jenny Menna is a Visiting Fellow at NSI.  Ms. Menna is currently the Senior Vice President and Cybersecurity Partnership Executive at U.S. Bank.  Ms. Menna previously held a variety of Senior Executive Service positions in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

NSI Law and Policy Paper – Privacy Regulation and Unintended Consequences for Security

This NSI Law and Policy Paper:

  • Describes the federal urgency to act in response to public concern and the rapid global and domestic expansion of comprehensive privacy regulation.
  • Evaluates the implications privacy regulation can have for data protection and beneficial security activities.
  • Argues that AI, biometrics, and certain data categories are all critical to security innovations and activities and must be protected in privacy regulation.
  • Provides actionable recommendations to ensure privacy regulation appropriately balances individual rights with security.

Click here to read the complete paper.

About the Authors:

Megan Brown is an NSI Senior Fellow and Associate Director for Cybersecurity.  She is also a partner at Wiley Rein LLP.  Prior to joining Wiley, Ms. Brown served in the Department of Justice as Counsel to two U.S. Attorneys General.

James B. Burchfield is an NSI Visiting Fellow.  He is a partner at Williams & Jensen PLLC and also serves as a professional staff member for the House Committee on Small Business.

Filling the Vacuum: Harnessing Innovation & Securing Space

Van Metre Hall
July 16
12:00 – 3:00 PM

Jamil N. Jaffer, NSI Founder and Executive Director, and former Chair of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, NSI Advisory Board Member, and former Rep. Mike Rogers discussed the “Securing the Highest Ground, Integrating Commercial Space Innovation into National Security Missions” report written by Rep. Rogers and Glenn Nye, President & CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress on July 16. Professor Jaffer and Rep. Rogers discussed the importance of a more robust and rapid space industry. Specifically, Rep. Rogers stressed the need for a rapid launch pattern that focuses on private industries that are qualified bidding for space contracts to increase competition, lower costs, and lead to greater innovation. This is in contrast with the current culture and practices of the United States government, which is focused on mission assurance and actively fights against failure. Rep. Rogers stressed that the space industry, both public and private, needs to fail fast and fail often in order to innovate new technologies and to deter adversaries from interfering. Rep. Rogers shared that it took 400,000 people to achieve the moon landing in 1969, and since then the space industry has become smaller and more condensed in its capabilities. By doubling the number of people working in space, costs will be driven down, an industrial base will be encouraged, and new capabilities will be filled.

Following the fireside chat, NSI Senior Fellow Bryan Smith, Former Budget Director, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence led a discussion, featuring Retired Colonel Lars Hoffman, Senior Vice President, Rocket Lab; Adrian Mangiuca, Commerce Director, NanoRacks; and Jeff Trauberman, Vice President of Government Affairs, VOX Space. These panelists discussed the advantage of harnessing innovation, agility, and cost advantage of commercial companies. The panelists came from different backgrounds of “old space” (traditional space companies), “new space” (up and coming companies), and the government. Despite their backgrounds, the panelists stressed the need for a hybrid architecture of the space industry. They also spoke about the importance of both “old space” and “new space” working together to enhance national security and global commerce.  Watch the entire discussion below.