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Juliette Kayyem

Mailing address

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

Juliette Kayyem

Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, 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




November 20, 2016

"How to Prepare for the Day After"


By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"But as the days have unfolded, I have been growing more concerned with what the management, backstabbing and infighting also reveal. This team of mostly white men — with conservative and racially tinged inclinations, including from the recently announced national security adviser Michael Flynn — may not be able to handle a crisis with a steady hand and commitment to unity."



November 8, 2016

"What's the Biggest Threat on Election Day?"


By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"Databases of who is registered are not considered a type of critical infrastructure subject to regulations and oversight, so instead the federal government is simply dependent on the states to protect their own data rolls."



November 4, 2016

"Episode 101: Democracy in the Age of Cyber Security"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School and Jonathan Zittrain, Faculty Affiliate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program

Is Russia deliberately trying to impact the U.S. presidential election? What are the consequences of these cyber leaks for our democracy and our society, not just in the remaining days of this election, but beyond November 8th?



Fall/Winter 2016-2017


Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School, Paul de Sa, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 1999-2000, Chuck Hagel, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Institute of Politics, Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School, Zhu Liu, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Barry Posen, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1979-1981; Former Associate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 1995-2000; Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security, Robert Springborg, Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar, Middle East Initiative and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

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




October 24, 2016

"Why the Opioid Crisis is an Issue of Homeland Security"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"Our homeland defenses are focused on risk planning — terrorism is a threat, but so are hurricanes and tornados, oil spills and border controls, and public health risks like Zika and, clearly, synthetic drugs. Our nation's security is about calculating risks to all-hazards and supporting those who are trained to protect our citizens. Simply put, the drug epidemic is challenging our overall response capacity and we haven't closed the gaps in our postal system that brings the drugs here."



October 17, 2016

"The Rise of the All-hazard Moms"


By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"...'[S]ecurity moms' are no longer just about ISIS or al Qaeda. In my field, we use the term 'all-hazards' to reflect how America's security apparatus has changed since the terror attacks of 9/11 — and how it needs to think about every type of risk, whether it be from ISIS, climate change, cyberattacks or gun violence. Now, it seems, security moms are taking a similarly broad view of security: To them, it is about protecting their homes and children, whatever the threat. They have, in short, embraced an all-hazards approach to their own security.



October 13, 2016

'Women are Leaving the Party That Once Promised Them Safety'

Op-Ed, Politico

By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"Working women like me have long laughed off or even forgotten those slights and inappropriate behavior—until last Friday's video reminded me of all those times when forging a career in a predominantly male field, and having three kids, wasn't without its abuses."



Creative Commons

August 23, 2016

"Debate on Whether to Show Up for Flood Misses the Point"


By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"...[T]he truth is that showing up is the easy part. Making government work when people need it is the real challenge."



August 12, 2016

"Terrorism Only Works on Nations That Aren't Ready for It"

Op-Ed, The Atlantic

By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"At the moment the explosions went off at the Boston Marathon, the first responders had no idea if it was the result of two brothers with a bomb or an overheated generator. It didn't matter. Plans in place to protect American citizens had to be viable for national-security threats, natural disasters, or any other mayhem."




July 20, 2016

"How Our Disaster Relief System Forces Foolish Decisions"

Op-Ed, Boston Globe Magazine

By Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School

"The system favors negligent behavior because it provides no incentive to change and no penalties for making the same mistakes over and over. Not only is this a waste of taxpayer money, it is also fundamentally inconsistent with the goal of building a resilient society that must have the capacity to learn from the past."

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.