Juliette Kayyem

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Juliette Kayyem
Juliette Kayyem at Suffolk Law School.jpg
Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Homeland Security
In office
2009–2010
President Barack Obama
Deputy Stephanie Tennyson
Preceded by Anne Petera
Succeeded by Betsy Markey
Personal details
Born (1969-08-16) August 16, 1969 (age 45)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) David Barron
Children 1 daughter
2 sons
Alma mater Harvard University

Juliette N. Kayyem (born August 16, 1969) is former candidate for Governor of Massachusetts[1] and a former Boston Globe columnist, writing about issues of national security and foreign affairs for the op-ed page. She is also a lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Prior to this, Kayyem was the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Homeland Security. Kayyem has an extensive background in terrorism and national security affairs. Prior to her federal position, she served as Massachusetts' first Undersecretary for Homeland Security, where she was responsible for developing statewide policy on homeland security, with a focus on preventing, protecting, responding to, and recovering from any and all critical incidents.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Los Angeles to Lebanese-Christian parents,[2] Kayyem graduated from Harvard University with her Bachelor's degree in 1991 and later from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1995.[3]

Career[edit]

A lawyer by training, she began her legal career in 1995 at the Department of Justice, ultimately serving as an advisor to then Attorney General Janet Reno until 1999.

From 1999-2000, Kayyem served as former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt's appointee to the National Commission on Terrorism, a Congressionally mandated review of how the government could better prepare for the growing terrorist threat. Chaired by L. Paul Bremer, that Commission's recommendations in the year 2000 urged the nation to recognize and adapt to the growing tide of terrorist activity against the United States.[2]

She was appointed as Massachusetts’ first Undersecretary for Homeland Security by Governor Deval L. Patrick in January 2007,[4] overseeing the National Guard, the commonwealth's strategic security planning, and the distribution of homeland security funds consistent with the Governor's priorities.

Kennedy School of Government[edit]

As of fall 2011, Kayyem has returned to the Kennedy School as a lecturer in Public Policy. She is a member of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs board of directors, and Faculty Co-Chair, Dubai Initiative.[citation needed]

Since 2001, Kayyem has been a resident scholar at the Belfer Center, serving both as Executive Director of the Kennedy School's Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, a terrorism and homeland security research program, and as co-Director of Harvard's Long-Term Legal Strategy for Combating Terrorism. She also taught courses on law and national security.

Department of Homeland Security[edit]

On March 5, 2009 United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed Juliette N. Kayyem Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs.

As Assistant Secretary, Kayyem was responsible for coordinated and consistent planning between the Department and all of its state, local, tribal, and territorial partners on issues as varied as immigration, intelligence sharing, military affairs, border security, and the response to operational events such as H1N1 influenza outbreak, the December 25th attempted terrorist attack, the Haiti earthquake, and the BP oil spill. In this capacity, she also served as the co-chair of congressionally mandated Preparedness Task Force and a member of President Obama's Task Force on Puerto Rico and the Defense Department's Council of Governors. She also managed the security efforts surrounding major sporting events, including the Chicago Olympic bid, the Vancouver Olympics, the Caribbean Games, and the World Equestrian Games. She was the most senior Arab-American female appointee in the Obama Administration.[5]

She left the DHS in the fall of 2010.[6]

BP Oil Spill[edit]

In the immediate aftermath of the BP oil spill, Kayyem was tasked to direct interagency and intergovernmental affairs for the National Incident Command, overseeing a diverse interagency and interdisciplinary staff for the White House and DHS to address unprecedented issues in the response, including public safety, public engagement, environmental remediation, and legal compliance. For her work, she received the Coast Guard's highest civilian honor.[5]

Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2014[edit]

On August 21, 2013, Kayyem announced she was running for Govenor of Massachusetts.[7]


In February 2014, it was reported by The Boston Globe that Kayyem failed to vote either 2009 and 2010. At the time she was living temporarily in Washington, D.C., and did not ask for an absentee ballot for Massachusetts or register to vote in the District of Columbia.

When asked about her voting record, Kayyem’s spokesman initially stated that Kayyem had registered in the District of Columbia during those years. But records later showed that Kayyam was never registered in Washington. When confronted with this evidence, Kayyam's campaign spokesman stated that Kayyem didn't think she could vote in Massachusetts during the time in Washington.[8]

At the state party convention on June 14, 2014, Kayyem failed to receive the 15% of delegate votes required to make the primary ballot.[9]

Personal[edit]

Named one of CNN/Fortune Magazine's People to Watch, Kayyem served as an on-air analyst for NBC, MSNBC News, and CNN. Her bi-weekly Boston Globe column is distributed through the New York Times wire service. She was nominated for a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary "for her colorful, well reported columns on an array of issues, from women in combat to oil drilling in Alaska." She is married to David J. Barron, a Harvard Law Professor and former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. They have one daughter and two sons.[5]

Books authored[edit]

Nonfiction[edit]

  • First to Arrive: State and Local Responses to Terrorism (with Robyn L. Pangi). The MIT Press, September, 2003 ISBN 0-262-11281-7
  • Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror (with Philip Benjamin Heymann). The MIT Press, September 2005. ISBN 0-262-08343-4

External links[edit]

References[edit]