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Director Brennan Speaks With UT Students About National Security and Public Service

On Thursday, September 3, 2020, former CIA Director John Brennan, and Senior Advisor of the Intelligence Studies Project, joined in a virtual conversation on national security with the University of Texas at Austin students. Director Brennan provided remarks emphasizing the value of public service and encouraged students to take full advantage of the array of resources available at UT-Austin. After reflection on the trajectory of his own education and career path, he underscored the importance of five particular elements which had aided him: a sense of wanderlust, curiosity, good mentors, risk-taking, and adaptability. Director Brennan discussed his own experiences in combatting the spread of viral diseases during his career in public service, most notably the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. He described the important role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Intelligence Community (IC), emphasizing the value people with diverse experiences and backgrounds bring to the IC. The discussion on diversity resonated with students, eliciting questions about the CIA’s support to the workforce in cultural-immersion programs. The students also posed questions on the role of the IC in ensuring election security and the tension between U.S. academic institutions and Chinese theft of intellectual property. Director Brennan’s forthcoming book, Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, At Home and Abroad, will cover these and many more topics in further detail. The book release date is October 6, 2020 and can be pre-ordered here. The conversation was co-sponsored by the Strauss Center, the Clements Center, and the Intelligence Studies Project.

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