Hindsight: Reflections on 15 Years of the War on Terror





On Tuesday, April 26th, the Center on National Security hosted over twenty experts in the fields of national security, foreign policy, and counterterrorism to discuss the evolution of national security policy since 9/11. With over 400 people in attendance, this timely discussion looked at government oversight, Middle East policy, and the national security landscape for the next president.  


Watch full videos of the discussion below:

The conference featured an opening conversation between former U.S. counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, and Center on National Security Director, Karen Greenberg, that addressed the contents of a classified 28-page portion of a joint congressional report on 9/11, the fallout from what Clarke described as President Obama's "overcautious" approach to Syria, and America's struggles to combat cybersecurity threats. 

This first panel of the day, "Reconciling Liberty and Security in 2016," addressed the following questions: "What is the state of U.S. counterterrorism policy since 9/11?" "Has a more balanced management of threats and responses evolved over time?" and "Where is future policy headed in response to the emergence of ISIS?" 


Rachel Brand, Board Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

David Cole, Professor in Law and Public Policy, Georgetown Law School  

Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director, ACLU

Matthew Olsen, President, IronNet CyberSecurity

Matthew Waxman, Professor, Columbia Law School 

Michel Paradis, Senior Attorney, Military Commissions Defense Organization, U.S. Department of Defense  

The conversation between John Miller, the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, and Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent and Chairman/CEO of The Soufan Groupm provided firsthand accounts of how terrorism spread from the mountains of Afghanistan and is combated today in New York. 

The second panel of the day, "Today's Foreign Policy Matrix," addressed the following questions: "What foreign policy challenges in the Middle East will the incoming president immediately face?" and "How have institutions dedicated to foreign policy altered to address the non-state actor and at what cost?"


Gen. Charles Jacoby, U.S. Army General (Retired), Thayer Leader Development Group, West Point

Douglas Ollivant, ASU Future of War Senior Fellow, New America

Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs

Emma Sky, Senior Fellow, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University 

Steven Simon, Visiting Lecturer, Dartmouth College 

The last panel of the day, "The Evolution of Terrorism from al Qaeda to ISIS," addressed the following questions: "In what ways does the threat of ISIS in the U.S. differ from the threat posed by al Qaeda?" "How should U.S. domestic policy best address ISIS?" and "Has the rise of the Islamic State changed the way we look at jihadist terrorism?" 


J.M. Berger, Fellow, Program on Extremism, George Washington University 

Joshua Dratel, Attorney, Law Offices of Joshua L. Dratel 

Hina Shamsi, Director, National Security Project, ACLU

Adam Shatz, Contributing Editor, London Review of Books

Phil Hirschkorn, Senior Producer, PBS NewsHour Weekend