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Juliette Kayyem

Mailing address

Littauer 327
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Mailbox 53
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Juliette Kayyem

Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Telephone: 617-384-7325
Fax: 617-495-8963



In government, the academy, private sector, and journalism, Juliette Kayyem has served as a national leader in America's homeland security efforts.

Kayyem is founder of one of the few female-owned security businesses and provides strategic advice to a range of companies in technology, risk management, mega-event planning, and venture capital. As a faculty member at the Harvard Kennedy School, she teaches new leaders in emergency management and national security and has authored several books on homeland security.

Kayyem has spent over 15 years managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises in both state and federal government. 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 as well as organizing major policy efforts in immigration reform and community resiliency.  Before that, she was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's homeland security advisor where she guided regional planning, the state's first interoperability plan and oversaw the National Guard. She has also served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorism, a legal advisor to U.S. 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.

A journalist and commentator, she has a weekly  segment on Boston's public radio station WGBH.  For nearly eight days straight, she provided non-stop analysis during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings for CNN, where she continues to serve as a security analyst. In 2013, she was named the Pulitzer Prize finalist for her hard-charging editorial columns in the Boston Globe focused on ending the Pentagon's combat exclusion rule against women, a policy that was changed that year.

She is a board member of Mass Inc., the Boston 2024 Olympic Committee, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Described as a "rising star" of the Democratic Party, in 2014 Kayyem was a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. 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. Her memoir—The Education of a Security Mom—will be published by Simon and Shuster in 2015.



By Date



February 5, 2016

"Zika: Why We Shouldn't Panic"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"As for other preventative measures, the United States is in a much better position than most other countries. For one, despite its flaws, our public health apparatus is sophisticated and capable of monitoring potential outbreaks and delivering medical services should the need arise. Our urban neighborhoods aren't as dense as those in the countries where the outbreak is happening, so mosquito control is easier. We widely use air-conditioning, and we tend to screen our windows. If the need arises, efforts to eradicate mosquitos can begin, as well as education efforts to limit large-scale breeding grounds, like water or puddles, can be initiated."



January 24, 2016

"A Winter Storm Wake-up Call"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"But while it goes without saying that citizens need — and expect — government to work during times of disaster, they should also expect government to anticipate and mitigate the consequences for the next time around. Because there will be a next time."



Fall/Winter 2015-2016


Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Mark Bell, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, Amanda J. Rothschild, Research Fellow, International Security Program, Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Anita Gohdes, Empirical Studies of Gender and Political Violence Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Women and Public Policy Program, Paul Staniland, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2008–2009, Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

A sampling of Belfer Center fellows and affiliates in the news.



January 7, 2016

"Are The Oregon Militia Domestic Terrorists?"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"Domestic terrorism has existed in this country since the beginning, and it has a legal definition. It is essentially the use or threatened use of violence for political change or to effectuate political change through undemocratic processes."




January 4, 2016

"Face it, Oregon Building Takeover is Terrorism"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"They are dangerous, they are unforgiving, they are flouting federal law, they have a political purpose and they clearly are willing to use violence to get their way. Simply because they are not Muslim jihadists does not mean they are authorized to threaten or use violence to support their political cause."



December 21, 2015

"Security Takeaways From The Paris Summit"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

The recent climate change talks in Paris animated a lot of security concerns from many different perspectives. Of of the most common security themes at the Paris summit—and was even mentioned in the final draft—hinged on how the impacts of climate change are a driver for a lot of security concerns.



December 5, 2015

"What President Obama Should Say about Terror"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"Fewer people died in San Bernardino than might have, otherwise, thanks to the incredible performance of public safety and health professionals in California....And it certainly wasn't down to chance — it was investments in security training and exercises based on the potential for an active shooter or a mass casualty event that taught those on the ground how to react, protect and respond when the community needed them the most."



December 2, 2015

"Move Over Selfie, Introducing The 'Dronie'"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Lisa Ellman

Lisa Ellman is a leading public policy lawyer in a Government Regulatory practice group focusing on domestic drones and other emerging technologies. She describes drones as "anything from a toy to a war plane" and she discusses the spectacular scope and possibilities of the crafts to help and hurt. Ellman draws attention to many of the practical policy issues at play with private drone ownership, including stalking and other safety issues, but also the flying robots capacity to help taking on jobs like assessing cell towers—which may be too dangerous for humans.



November 23, 2015

"When Should Terror Force a City to Shut Down?"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"...[E]very city is inherently vulnerable. What makes them vital — their very openness — also puts residents at risk. For public safety officials, what to do about threats in a city is a constant balance between the risk and the reward. And it is in this context that the decision for an indeterminate lockdown must be considered."



Creative Commons

November 18, 2015

"After Paris—Am I Safe?"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"It's been a week of unrest, of massive investigation, of more bombings in Syria. I'd be silly to say 'this is how it is.' Things are changing too fast, but the universal question that  you hear today will remain the same. Not just because of what happened in Paris, but because it's a question we have been asking ourselves since 9/11: Am I safe?"

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.