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National Security Seminar

The CNA National Security Seminar series brings together thought leaders from across the US government, academic and research institutions, the private sector, and US partner nations to share their expertise, facilitate discussions, and contribute to an ongoing dialogue about critical national security issues. CNA is uniquely positioned to examine the range of these issues through the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research. CNA supports both the Department of Defense and homeland security, public safety, and emergency operations at all levels of government.

2023 Season

Confronting Shared Challenges to National Security in a Decisive Decade

The term “shared challenges” appears 29 times throughout the Biden-Harris Administration’s 2022 National Security Strategy in a variety of contexts: everything from climate and energy security, pandemics and biodefense, food insecurity, arms control and non-proliferation, to combatting terrorism and transnational crime, and shaping the future of technology, cyberspace, and trade. As the 2022 National Security Strategy makes clear, US policymakers and defense planners will increasingly need to balance a cooperative response to these shared challenges against a long-term contest with geopolitical competitors. In 2023, the NSS will continue to focus on how US policymakers can simultaneously confront shared challenges and strategic competition. Topics the series will explore this year include nuclear cooperation, emerging frontiers in counterterrorism, biodefense lessons learned from the pandemic, and cybersecurity.

This event took place September 7, 2023

COVID-19, Public Health, and Emergency Management: Best Practices & Lessons Learned 

Featuring: Amy Gillespie, Deputy Director, Dept. of Emergency Management, Pierce County, Washington State
Sarah Tuneberg, Co-founder and CEO, Geospiza former lead of the State of Colorado’s Innovation Response Team
Curtis Brown, Co-founder, Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM); Virginia’s former State Coordinator of Emergency Management
Dr. Carrie Shelton, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Critical Incident Analysis

Moderator: Eric Trabert, Managing Director, Center for Public Health Preparedness and Resilience

This event took place on April 20, 2023 


FEATURING: Mallory Stewart, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, US Department of State, Dr. Paul Scharre, Vice President and Director of Studies and military uses of AI expert, CNAS and Dr. Timothy P. McDonnell, Research Analyst and nuclear weapons policy expert, Strategy and Policy Analysis Program, CNA

MODERATOR: Dr. Larry Lewis, Principal Research Scientist and Artificial Intelligence expert, Special Activities and Intelligence Analysis Program, CNA 

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This event took place on March 21, 2023 

Nuclear Cooperation with Strategic Competitors

FEATURING: Rose Gottemoeller, Steven C. Házy Lecturer, Center for International Security and Cooperation, and Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; former Deputy Secretary General (2016–2019), NATO; former Under Secretary for Arms Control & International Security (2012–2016), US State Department and Dr. Timothy P. McDonnell, Research Analyst and nuclear weapons policy expert, Strategy and Policy Analysis Program, CNA

MODERATOR: Mary Chesnut, Research Analyst, Russia Studies Program, CNA 

WITH INTRODUCTION BY: Dr. Eric Thompson, Vice President, CNA, and Director, Strategy, Policy, Plans, & Programs Division

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2022 Season

Mobilizing Cooperation to Advance National Security

Mobilizing cooperation to advance national security — both international and domestic — has become increasingly critical to meeting security challenges in areas such as the Arctic, military application of commercial drones, and supply of critical minerals. The 2022 National Security Seminar series explored how US policymakers simultaneously confront shared challenges and strategic competition while leaning into a culture of cooperation to enhance national security activities.

2021 Season

National Security in a Post-Pandemic World

The COVID-19 pandemic had implications for national security, affecting US security partnerships, operations, and logistics, and the health and safety of government and military personnel. The 2021 National Security Seminar series considered ways in which the pandemic reshaped the contours of the national security landscape and explored challenges the US faced in a changed world. The series drew upon a wealth of expertise from across the organization to spotlight emerging issues and altered trajectories that national security leaders needed to consider as they look to the future.


Kaia Haney,
Nicholas Bradford,
John Milton,