Clay Pell: What is the National Security Council?

Thursday, April 13th, 2017 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm (ET)


Location: Wilson 301

Have you ever wondered what actually happens in the White House Situation Room?  Are you confused or concerned by how decisions are made on defense, foreign policy and homeland security in the United States?  Join this introduction to the National Security Council – what it’s like to work at the White House, what structures and processes exist to coordinate American national security policy, and where things can go right or wrong.  Led by Clay Pell, former director for strategic planning on the National Security Staff, in the Obama White House. 

In addition to this session, Clay will also be having regular office hours this spring at the Swearer Center.  You may contact Clay directly at to make an appointment or find the most up to date schedule!

Brief Bio


Clay Pell will be a practitioner in residence at the Swearer Center this spring with a focus on helping students engage in politics, law, and national security.  Clay's widespread experience in politics and public policy includes his own campaign for Governor of Rhode Island in 2014 and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, as well as service in both foreign and domestic policy roles in the Obama Administration.  Clay served as Director for Strategic Planning on the White House National Security Staff and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education, where he led the U.S. government’s world language and international education programs. Clay graduated first in his class from the Coast Guard Direct Commission Officer School, earned his J.D. from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard University with high honors in Social Studies and a citation in Modern Standard Arabic. In addition, Clay is a practicing attorney, a member of multiple non-profit boards in the Rhode Island community and beyond, and continues to serve as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves.  


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