The opening phrase in Charles Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities nicely captures the national security challenges confronting the nation as a new administration takes office. After the stunning failures of the preceding Administration, Obama’s inauguration in November 2008 was greeted with euphoria. Obama’s bearing, approach and outlook seemed to offer a “just in time” rescue for national security policies run aground. Now, as the day-to- day reality of governing sets in, it is increasingly clear that the nation will need every bit of the new President’s heralded thoughtfulness and calm. Obama seems an excellent example of Ernest Hemingway’s definition of courage as “grace under pressure.” Even without considering the economic debacle confronting the world and its impact on global markets, the national security concerns confronting the United States as the world’s leading power are daunting.
- Dean Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker has served as dean of Pacific McGeorge since July 2002. A widely-published scholar and frequently-cited expert on matters of national security law and terrorism, she served in key federal government positions, most notably as general counsel for the National Security Agency, principal deputy legal adviser, Department of State, and general counsel for the CIA. Dean Parker currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences’ Roundtable on Scientific Communication and National Security, and the U.S. Public Interest Declassification Board.