Heather Hurlburt is the Executive Director of the National Security Network, where her policy work focuses primarily on the politics of U.S. foreign policy, counter-terrorism and resilience, and the nexus of civilian and military approaches to conflict resolution. She has previously served in the White House, State Department and Congress and held leadership positions in Washington-based non-governmental organizations. Before joining NSN, Hurlburt ran her own communications and strategy practice, working on global and political issues with political, entertainment, and educational leaders. From 1995-2001, Hurlburt served in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant and Speechwriter to the President, speechwriter for Secretaries of State Albright and Christopher, and member of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff. She has also worked for the International Crisis Group, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Congressional Helsinki Commission. In 2012, Hurlburt was named to Foreign Policy’s “FP Top 50”. She appears frequently as a commentator in print and new media and her work has been published by the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Guardian, POLITICO, and New Republic. Hurlburt holds a BA from Brown University and an MA from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. Follow her at www.twitter.com/NatSecHeather
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In the News
By Heather Hurlburt April 3, 2013 | Foreign Policy Beltway insiders yawned at the progress of the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the first treaty to regulate the massive global trade in conventional weapons that are responsible for most conflict deaths worldwide, from its near death in the summer of 2012 to its Easter-week [...]
Heather Hurlburt On HuffPost Live Discussing North Korea, Syria and Diplomacy versus Dictators With Alicia Menendez
When Diplomacy Fails, HuffPost Live March 15, 2013
What the U.S. Can Do to Support the Human Rights of Women: A Conversation, Human Rights First March 8, 2013
Bloggingheads TV March 8, 2013
Mad Libs: War Edition FP asked more than 70 top military thinkers to fill in the blanks on the world’s global conflicts — from the drone wars to the budget wars. March/April 2013 | Foreign Policy AMERICA’S NO. 1 GEOPOLITICAL FOE IS… Iran. —Graham Allison, David Barno, Gian Gentile, Seth G. Jones, Peter Mansoor, Barry Pavel, Dov Zakheim • China. —Douglas Birkey, Kenneth Gause, Paul Kapur, Thomas Keaney, Edward [...]
Obama faces turning point on administration drone policy By: Jeremy Herb and Justin Sink March 03, 2013 | The Hill A 13-hour filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has thrust the expanded use of drone attacks to greater public scrutiny and is putting new pressure on the White House to explain its use of drones [...]
“The resolution reiterates strong support for Israel and concern with Iran’s nuclear research – two sentiments no one would argue,” Heather Hurlburt, director of the National Security Network, told IPS.
“Those who vote on it will understand that it is hortatory and doesn’t have any effect on U.S. national security decision-making, but that may not be so clear to observers overseas,” continued Hurlburt, a former staffer in Madeleine Albright’s State Department under President Bill Clinton.
“It’s critical that the U.S. be seen to retain decision-making flexibility as negotiations seem to be moving toward a more sensitive phase,” she said.
The Price of Hagel By Heather Hurlburt February 19, 2013 | Foreign Policy The Hagel nomination fight will have significant effects, but they won’t come in America’s national security policy. As much as any president in recent memory, Barack Obama has made sure the fundamental direction and specific tactical choices come straight from his desk. [...]
War on terror “sums up an idea in the public mind,” says Heather Hurlburt, executive director of the National Security Network, a think tank in Washington, D.C. “It’s very specific and correct about what Americans wanted to defeat [after 9/11].” As intellectually inaccurate as it might be to wage war on a tactic, Hurlburt says, the threat of terrorism is exactly what Americans wanted to be rid of after the towers fell. (And still do, she says, even if they’re less willing to believe that eradication is possible.) A promise of war was also the only natural response for Bush, given how strongly people wanted to respond, she says, and the military aspect of America’s fight against terrorism has been front and center ever since. So war has remained.
With test, N. Korea threat looks more real By AFP February 13, 2013 | AFP With a defiant nuclear test, North Korea has shown it poses an increasingly credible threat but some doubt whether even the notoriously bellicose regime would ever use weapons of mass destruction. North Korea said it had miniaturized a nuclear device [...]
By Heather Hurlburt February 13, 2013 | The Guardian Beyond any words that were spoken, Internews’ Jamal Dajani caught what may have been the most powerful message of last night’s state of the union: “Given by an African American, rebuttal offered by a Latino. Not bad.” But Barack Obama’s speech also held up for the [...]
Republicans Bring Iran Into North Korea Discussion By Rosie Gray and John Stanton February 12, 2013 | BuzzFeed The foreign policy issue that seems to swallow all others in Washington — the prospect of a nuclear Iran — absorbed on Tuesday even the reality of a nuclear North Korea, as President Barack Obama’s critics moved [...]
Expert: North Korea’s Nuclear Test Not About Obama’s State of the Union By Rebekah Metzler February 12, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report A confirmed nuclear test in North Korea on the eve of President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union address is likely more about internal messaging than it is about international [...]
Finally, a Serious Discussion on Foreign Policy By Heather Hurlburt February 12, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report After a two year election season of deeply unserious rhetoric on national security, followed by the even more painful Hill codas of the Benghazi witchhunt and Hagel confirmation bloodletting, the State of the Union’s national security [...]
Why the Man who Shot bin Laden Doesn’t Have Healthcare By Heather Hurlburt February 11, 2013 | U.S. News & World Report This month’s Esquire and today’s Washington Post highlight a tragic personal story—the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, known pseudonymously as “the Shooter,” retired from the military 36 months short of the 20 year vesting time [...]
By Heather Hurlburt, US News January 28, 2013
Debt Deal May Increase Risk of Sequestration By Joyce Tsai January 27, 2013 | Stars & Stripes WASHINGTON — The federal debt limit extension deal passed by House Republicans last week assures that the federal government will not default on its loans through mid-May. But that might not be good news for Pentagon officials gearing [...]
By Heather Hurlburt January 15th, 2013 | The Guardian One might think, from reading the breathless newspaper coverage, that the United States only discovered Mali after Islamist militants from Libya got there first; or, alternately, that the infusion and failure of US training for Mali’s military is the proximate cause (or at least the failure that can be blamed) for the [...]
Heather Hurlburt discusses Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Spending, and Iran
Liberals Shouldn’t Fear Chuck Hagel’s Environmental Record By Ben Adler December 24, 2012| New Republic Former Senator Chuck Hagel served in the Senate as a Republican, but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise this week: Most of the attacks on his potential nomination as Secretary of Defense have come from conservatives troubled by his [...]