The 14 members of the 2021-22 cohort began their program with a week-long module in Washington, DC. The fellows met with senior officials at key government agencies, as well as a wide range of national security leaders, practitioners and scholars. We welcomed in-person guests, such as former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, former Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan and current National Counterterrorism Center Director Christy Abizaid. Using videoconferencing technology, fellows engaged with virtual speakers, such as former Head of U.S. Special Forces Command Admiral William McRaven, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense and current John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow Mark Esper.
The module also included several site visits. The fellows met with Deputy Director David Cohen at the Central Intelligence Agency, with three members of the National Security Council at the White House, and with Counselor Derek Chollet at the U.S. State Department. They also participated in a leadership Monuments Walk on the National Mall.
Engagements with each of the speakers touched on specifics related to current challenges and opportunities in the national security field, but also on broader themes of character-driven leadership. The week also gave fellows the opportunity to build strong relationships with one another, strengthening a network of emerging leaders across the Five Eyes.
This weeklong convening was the first of three gatherings that will be held over the course of the fellowship, with gatherings planned in London in May 2022 and in Canberra in August 2022.