Precision-Guided Podcast: Rethinking National Security: The Hunter/Gatherer Theory

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In a world increasingly polarized and facing complex challenges like climate change, distrust in institutions, and great power competition, it is vital to move beyond apathy and fear and rethink how we approach security. Kellsie Herrmann (SSP’ 24) hosts Professor Gina Bennett, a renowned former member of the intelligence community with a distinguished counterterrorism record who considers national security to encompass more than bullets and bellicose leadership. On this episode of the Precision-Guided Podcast, she explains why America must incorporate a ‘Gatherer’ mindset into traditional national security approaches to better meet the intimidating challenges of today and the future.

Gina M. Bennett is a retired CIA seasoned counterterrorism specialist and member of the Senior Analytic Service who authored the earliest warnings in the 1990s about the growing danger of the movement Osama bin Laden fomented. She served for 34 years in the counterterrorism mission in numerous tactical and strategic roles. These roles included serving as a terrorism targeter, in management positions at both CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and the National Counterterrorism Center, as the Program Manager for the Analytic Tradecraft Program of the CIA’s Directorate of Analysis, Deputy National Intelligence Officer at the National Intelligence Council, and Senior Strategist and Advisor to the Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning, where she contributed to authoring and monitoring the implementation of national security strategies.

Ms. Bennett is often featured in documentaries and other media profiling her role in counterterrorism and as a pioneer for women in National Security and Intelligence careers, which she now continues as the Strategic Advisor for Girl Security, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that seeks to empower, secure, and advance young girls into national and international security missions. Ms. Bennett is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, where she teaches both Ethics in Intelligence Support to National Security and Hunter-Gatherer National Security. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Alturas Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing American Democracy by promoting the Constitution, civic education, gender equality, and equal protection of the law.

Ms. Bennett is the mother of five children, who were the source of inspiration for her two “National Security Mom” books comparing national security to parenting: “National Security Mom: While Going Soft Will Make America Strong” and “National Security Mom 2: America Needs a Time-Out.” She has written numerous articles for a variety of journals. Ms. Bennett earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and her Master’s in Security Studies as a Distinguished Graduate of the Marine Corps War College.

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