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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

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 Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, 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



June 23, 2015

"The Art of Staying Safe In Summer Crowds"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy and Paul Wertheimer

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday (and so many other summer gatherings) host Juliette Kayyem tracked down "the marshall of the mosh pit" Paul Wertheimer to learn more about what to fear in crowds, and how we can protect ourselves. Wertheimer is the founder and head of Crowd Management Strategies, a Los Angeles-based international crowd safety consulting service with a specialty in concert and festival safety issues.



June 8, 2015

"Inside the Minds of ISIS Members"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy and Jessica Stern, Former Lecturer in Public Policy; Former Faculty Affiliate, International Security Program

On this week's episode of "Security Mom," Juliette Kayyem sits down with Dr. Jessica Stern. She's spent a career in government and academia as a thought leader, advisor and author of books that look at the world of terror, including her most recent book ISIS.



May 27, 2015

"The Price of Life: Compensating For Tragedy"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy and Ken Feinberg

On this week's episode of "Security Mom," Juliette Kayyem sits down with Ken Feinberg, who's sometimes referred to as the Compensation Czar. He's a contemplative and frank man who has distributed funds to victims of some the worst crises of our times, from 9/11 to the Boston Marathon bombing.



NASA Image

May 20, 2015

"Declare War on Climate Change?"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy

"The world is physically changing and that will put demands on future U.S. military officers. For the Coast Guard in particular, the changes in water — from the opening of the Arctic Ocean due to warming atmosphere to the devastation we have seen (and will see) in coastal nations — will bring about a brand new world order. This administration should know. Now that the Arctic is relatively ice-free for several months each year, a new and lasting occurrence, the administration recently approved offshore drilling in the Arctic, bringing a new challenge to the Coast Guard's response and recovery efforts."



May 18, 2015

"Abu Sayyaf Raid: Messing with the Heads of ISIS"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy

"..[T]he orchestrated U.S. government announcements about the documents, computers and other financial materials that were captured in the raid have got to make a lot of ISIS leaders very nervous. And it is likely to make members of ISIS who have avoided the violence of the battlefield — men like Sayyaf — believe that not even an office job is safe."



May 13, 2015

"Protecting Our Kids in a World of Social Media"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy and Emily Bazelon

The present Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced on Sunday that what we need to fear are the strangers from abroad who infiltrate through the Internet, radicalize our citizens, and set them on a course of destruction. It is a scary thought, though it shouldn't be that surprising, given that terrorists have always adapted to new means of communication. They just discovered Twitter, that's all.



April 28, 2015

"The Slow Death Of The Color-Coded Terror Alert System"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy and Michael Chertoff, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and Internaional Affairs

Juliette Kayyem spoke with former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff about what was wrong with the color-coded terror alert system, so we might better understand the bigger challenges we confront in a world of mayhem—how to understand risk, and how to talk about scary things.



April 19, 2015

"What Really Kept Boston Strong"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy

"The quick decisions to move runners off Boylston Street, the ability of police officers to seal the large crime zone and to utilize the military to do so, the pivot of public health officials from tending to blisters and dehydration to forming makeshift triage centers. It is worth remembering that not a single person of the hundreds who were transported to hospitals died; the three fatalities occurred at the bombing site only."



Wikimedia CC 2.0

April 13, 2015

"Inside Command And Control During the Boston Marathon Bombings"

Media Feature

By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy and Ed Davis

Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis was in command and control during the week of the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013. On the eve of the second anniversary of the bombing, he details incredible behind-the-scenes decisions during the 100 hours spent in pursuit of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.



Francis Pellier/Getty

March 26, 2015

"Was 9/11 Safety Precaution a Flaw?"


By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy

"...[W]e have seen that there is a real risk of pilots bringing down planes. We have built no back-up plans into the secure cockpit programs. It might be necessary to devise secure and classified entry access passwords or electronic keys that are available only to both pilots or a pilot and the lead flight attendant. No system of security should rely on a single point of entry and while the post-9/11 security planning made sense then, it may have outlived the threat now."



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