Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary from 2009-2013, visited Belmont’s campus on June 24 while in Nashville to talk about her new book, “How Safe Are We: Homeland Security Since 9/11.”
Napolitano was invited to speak with the “Global Tennessee” podcast by Belmont campus partner Tennessee World Affairs Council. According to Council President Patrick Ryan, Napolitano spoke about the work of DHS in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 and specifically about the challenges she faced during the first term of the President Obama Administration.
“She described the scope of the Homeland Security secretary’s responsibilities – running the third largest U.S. government organization behind the Pentagon and the VA,” said Ryan.
Napolitano talked about aviation security measures that were needed, natural disasters that struck, pandemic outbreaks like H1N1, terrorist attacks like the Times Square and Boston Marathon bombers and the challenge of cyber threats to U.S. infrastructure.
“Secretary Napolitano went into detail about immigration, refugees and the situation at the southern border – something she’s very familiar with as former two-term Governor of Arizona,” said Ryan.
The Global Tennessee Podcast concluded with Napolitano providing insights and perspective on the foreign cyber threat to U.S. elections, existential threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change and “Black Swans” – the low probability, high impact phenomena that DHS must be ready to address.
The podcast is available on the Tennessee World Affairs Council website.
The Tennessee World Affairs Council, a nonpartisan educational nonprofit, and Belmont University have partnered on global affairs awareness programs since 2009, including numerous speaking programs with ambassadors, business leaders and other specialists. The Council, with offices in Fidelity Hall, offers town halls and other programs on campus and free membership to Belmont students and faculty. It welcomes Belmont students to become involved through internships and volunteer support.