“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”
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Juliette Kayyem has spent over 15 years managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises in both state and federal government. A national leader in homeland security, resiliency and safety, she is currently the Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government where she is faculty chair of the Homeland Security Program. Kayyem is the author of Security Mom, a memoir that explores the intersection, and commonalities, of her life in homeland security and her life as a mother. She is also the founder of Kayyem Solutions, LLC, providing strategic advice in resiliency planning, risk management, mega-event security, infrastructure protection and cybersecurity. Kayyem appears frequently on CNN as their on-air national security analyst.
Most recently, she was President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. There she played a pivotal role in major operations including handling of the H1N1 pandemic and the BP Oil Spill response; she also organized major policy efforts in critical infrastructure protections and community resiliency. Before that, she was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security advisor guiding regional planning and the state’s first interoperability plan, climate change policies, and overseeing the National Guard.
She has served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorism, a legal advisor to US Attorney General Janet Reno, and a trial attorney and counselor in the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. She is the recipient of many government honors, including the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Coast Guard’s highest medal awarded to a civilian. In 2013, she was named the Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns in the Boston Globe focused on ending the Pentagon’s combat exclusion rule against women, a policy that was changed that year.
Juliette is a board member of Mass Inc., the International Centre for Sport Security (until 2015), and the Red Cross of MA. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Cyber Alliance, and the Trilateral Commission. As a private advisor, she co-authored, for the Department of Homeland Security, its strategic assessment of critical infrastructure and cyber security vulnerabilities.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and the mother of three children, she is married to First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron.Last Updated: May 9, 2019, 9:00am