Careers in National Security


Friday, April 23, 2021, 12:30pm to 1:30pm


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Please join the Harvard Kennedy School Student Government, Center for Public Leadership, and Office of Career Advancement for a panelist discussion with General (Ret) Joseph L. Votel, USA, former Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command; Mr. Darrell Blocker, 28-year veteran of the CIA clandestine service who served as the most senior black Directorate of Operations Officer when he retired in October 2018 with the rank equivalent to a three-star general; Mr. Dave Frederick, Executive Director of U.S. Cyber Command; Ms. Shawnee Delaney, distinguished veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency and current security business owner; and Mr. Paul Kolbe, Director of The Intelligence Project at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School.

During the conversation, panelists will discuss their experiences and insights about their career journeys. Panelists will also share recommendations and answer questions from students and the greater Harvard community.

Discussion will be moderated by Michelle Cresswell MC-MPA 2021, CPL Black Family Fellow and Alice Zhang MC-MPA 2021, Vice President of Professional Development, Harvard Kennedy School Student Government.
Mr. Darrell Blocker
A recipient of the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, Darrell M. Blocker is a 28-year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service. He served as Deputy Director of the Counterterrorism Center and Chief Africa Division after leading the CIA’s iconic and legendary training facility. Darrell served multiple tours as a Chief of Station and was the most senior black Directorate of Operations Officer when he retired in October 2018 with the rank equivalent to a three-star general. He is currently the COO of MOSAIC, a boutique strategic risk and crisis management, intelligence and security advisory firm. Darrell serves on one nonprofit board dedicated to improving the future for youth in foster care and advises another board on countering the exploitation and human trafficking of youth and women.
Ms. Shawnee Delaney
Shawnee Delaney, a decorated Intelligence Officer and licensed private investigator, is the founder and CEO of Vaillance Group. Shawnee spent nearly a decade with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a Clandestine Officer conducting Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operations all over the world. She served four combat zone tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Case Officer and Detachment Chief and served as a Supervisory Branch Chief in Europe. After leaving DIA, Shawnee supported the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the protection of U.S. critical infrastructure and industrial control systems for the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). Shawnee has built Insider Threat programs for major Fortune 500 companies such as Uber and Merck. She holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies with a Specialization in Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Proliferation, and a M.S. in Cyber Security. She is a doting mother of three very talkative and strong-willed children.
Mr. Dave Frederick
Dave Frederick is the Executive Director of United States Cyber Command, serving as the highest-ranking civilian in the command.  Mr. Frederick assists the Commander in leading an organization of over 12,000 personnel. His portfolio focuses on strategic management initiatives to improve global cyber operations and DOD support to defending U.S. critical infrastructure, shaping a budget of nearly $700M, and elements of DoD budgets totaling in the billions. Following seven years in the Army as an intelligence analyst and Korean linguist, he has served in the National Security Agency for almost 25 years.  His senior executive leadership roles have included multiple oversea assignments, service as the Deputy Inspector General, and, most recently, leadership in the Cyber mission.  He represented NSA at the National Security Council on cyber policy matters for three years.  Before joining Cyber Command, he co-lead the design and establishment of NSA' Cybersecurity Directorate.
Mr. Paul Kolbe
Mr. Paul Kolbe is the Director of the Intelligence Project at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Relations. Paul served 25 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in variety of foreign and domestic roles including as Chief of Station, Chief/Central Eurasia Division and Balkans Group Chief. His overseas assignments included operational and leadership roles in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and Central Europe. He was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service and is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. Following his CIA career, Paul was Director for Intelligence and Analysis at BP where he built an enterprise-wide intelligence capability focused on geo-political threat, strategic cyber threats and support to commercial operations.
General Joseph L. Votel, USA (Ret.)
General (ret.) Joseph L. Votel is the President and CEO, Business Executives for National Security (BENS). He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow with Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Gen. Votel most recently served as Commander of the U.S. Central Command – responsible for U.S. and coalition military operations in the Middle East, Levant and Central and South Asia. During his 39 years in the military he commanded special operations and conventional military forces at every level. His career included combat in Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq. Notably he led a 79-member coalition that successfully liberated Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State Caliphate. He preceded his assignment at CENTCOM with service as the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations Command.
Michelle Cresswell
Ms. Michelle Cresswell is pleased to join the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership as a Black Family Fellow. Ms. Cresswell is a Harvard Kennedy School Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Program 2021 candidate. She served in the United States Department of Defense for 24 years, to include 11 years in the United States Air Force as a Middle East Cryptologic Linguist and Debriefer. Ms. Cresswell recently served as the Defense Liaison Officer in the United States Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy Ghana between 2016-2019. Ms. Cresswell has deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Turkey. She holds a BA in Social Science from Chapman University in Orange, was certified as a military attaché by the U.S. Joint Military Attaché School, and graduated from the Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey, as an Arabic linguist. Ms. Cresswell is the recipient of multiple service citations, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Alice Zhang
Alice Zhang is a current Mid-Career Master in Public Administration student at Harvard Kennedy School. She is also the Vice President of Professional Development, Harvard Kennedy School Student Government. Alice is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and a Research Assistant at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School. In addition, Alice is the Chief Operating Officer at World Education Fund and a board member for various nonprofit organizations. Alice was a Partner at Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund and a Partner at Yardy Ventures. She acquired an MBA from University of Southern California, a BS in Management Science and a BA in International Studies from University of California, San Diego.


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This event is open to HKS students, faculty, and staff. The session will be recorded, and may be posted to YouTube and/or CPL's social media channels. Attendees must register for this event using the registration link above. Persons with disabilities who wish to request accommodation or who have questions about access, please contact in advance of the session.