11 January 2021

Dear NSF friends, members, and community,

I had hoped to write an upbeat letter at the start of 2021 with greetings for the new year, but the specter of insurrection at our Nation’s Capitol on Jan 6th dimmed my optimism for 2021. As our country works to recover and heal from these horrible events, I have been reminded by many friends and colleagues that our democracy is only as strong as our communities make it. To that end, NSF is committed now more than ever to providing programs that share different perspectives and encourage thoughtful dialogue and civil discourse on topics that underpin our national security.

Two quotes this week summarized for me the challenges ahead and the need to focus our energy on restoring democracy at home, in Washington DC, and abroad by seeking truth and honoring diverse viewpoints…even when we disagree.

“The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion.” (August 18, 1792 letter from Alexander Hamilton to George Washington)

“Our democracy is not self-sustaining. Rather, it demands that we nurture and defend it through thoughtful, truthful discourse, free and fair elections, and respect for the decisions of the American people. We must reaffirm and defend this commitment every day. By honoring facts and truth as fundamental underpinnings of the democratic process, I am confident we can move forward as a country, and in our pursuit of a healthy environment and thriving economy.” (08 Jan 2021, Richard G. Newall, President, Resources for the Future)

Our upcoming programs are designed to bring you a range of perspectives on new and ongoing national security issues. Watch the NSF website for program dates, videos of past programs, and new invited commentaries: https://nationalsecurityforum.org

Due to the events on Jan 6th, our January program was delayed until the Jan 27th. Dr. Erin Miller from the START Center at the University of Maryland will be presenting on “Global Terrorism Challenges.” She will be joined by discussants from the Department of Homeland Security. Future NSF topics include a first look at the Biden Administration National Security Agenda in February, transitioning to a new energy security in March, and rethinking Iran nuclear policy in April.

If you have additional topics you would like to see covered, please email me: mccarthy@nationalsecurityforum.org

An exciting new development for NSF is an expanded collaboration with our corporate sponsor, Mission Support Technical Services (MSTS) – the contractor managing the National Nuclear Security Site (NNSS) in southern Nevada. In partnership with MSTS, we are developing a series of programs around nuclear security, counterterrorism, and environmental issues related NNSS operations. This will include quarterly NSF programs on different topics, longer more in-depth workshops focused on nuclear issues in Nevada, and the rescheduled on-site tour of NNSS after we are all vaccinated and COVID is our rearview mirror.

NSF is also working with the Washoe County School District to reconvene (virtually) the Youth Security Forum (YSF) in May 2021. We will be looking for volunteers to lead discussions and participate in the YSF in the coming weeks. Investing in the next generation of national security leaders is one way we can all build a brighter, more secure future.

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions, requests, or comments about NSF Programs.

I wish you all a safe, healthy and peaceful 2021 and I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming programs.

Stay safe and healthy!

Maureen I. McCarthy, PhD
Director, Programs & Commentary
Email: mccarthy@nationalsecurityforum.org