SFS professors appointed to Biden administration’s Defense Policy Council

Professors from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (SFS) have been appointed to the Biden administration’s Defense Policy Council.

The Defense Policy Board, a 19-member subset of the U.S. Department of Defense under the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, provides informed advice to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. New board appointees include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Victor Cha, Vice Dean for Faculty and Graduate Studies Affairs and DS Song-Korea Foundation Endowed Chair in the Department of Government and SFS; and Michael O’Hanlon, professor at the Center for Security Studies and senior fellow and director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution.

Former Secretary of State Albright was sworn as Chairman of the Board in November 2021 after being deleted of the board by the Trump administration a year earlier.

@georgetownsfs/Facebook | Professors from the School of Foreign Service, including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Victor Cha and Michael O’Hanlon, were appointed to the Defense Policy Board.

According to O’Hanlon, the Defense Policy Board provides an opportunity for independent citizens to provide their expertise and perspective to assist the Secretary of Defense in defense policy decision-making.

“Based on the first meeting, and based on my expectations of what this type of advice can usefully accomplish, I will use words like friendly skeptic, tough love, and second pair of eyes to convey the notion of ‘a group of individuals who would like to see Secretary Austin and the United States and the Department of Defense do well, but may or may not agree with him on everything, may or may not agree with each others on everything, but still hope there’s some purpose in the band getting together,” O’Hanlon said in an interview with The Hoya.

Although the United States should remain concerned about other threats, the most concerning issue of the Biden administration’s defense policy concerns Russia and China, according to O’Hanlon.

“The goal here is to try to keep in mind that the world is interfering with your plans and your strategies,” O’Hanlon said. “The idea that you might think that Russia and China should be your main concerns, but something else completely changes that dynamic – that’s always a possibility. On a purely conceptual and historical level, I would say that this are the two biggest concerns, and they will remain so.

Cha has been a faculty member at Georgetown since 1995 and has taught a wide range of courses in international relations, foreign policy, and Asian studies. He is also currently Senior Vice President and Korean President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

Cha hopes to work alongside other members of the Defense Policy Board to provide guidance to US Department of Defense officials.

“It is an honor to serve in the PBO and a lesson in humility to do so under the leadership of Secretary Albright. The purpose of the PBO is to provide advice to senior Pentagon leaders and there is no better senior official to do that than Secretary Albright. I hope to support her and the PBO in any way I can,” Cha wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Albright, in addition to teaching diplomacy courses at Georgetown in the SFS, is chairman of Albright Stonebridge Group, part of Dentons Global Advisors, and Albright Capital Management LLC. She also chairs the National Democratic Institute, is president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation, and is honorary co-chair of the World Refugee Council.

Georgetown is proud to see its professors serve as true world leaders in foreign policy, according to SFS Dean Joel Hellman.

“SFS faculty live our SFS values ​​through their commitment to public service,” Hellman wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We welcome the appointment of such accomplished professors as Victor and Michael O’Hanlon to the Defense Policy Council. They represent the best of SFS.


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