Please join the Intelligence Project and the Women in Defense, Diplomacy, and Development (W3D) student group for a conversation with national security and intelligence expert Katrina Mulligan, who currently serves as the Managing Director for National Security and Policy and the Center for American Progress. Usha Sahay, Belfer IGA Fellow and Editor-at-Large at War on the Rocks, will moderate. 

In this session, Katrina and Usha will discuss:

  • The national security dimensions of the election: foreign influence, disinformation and election security
  • Intelligence reform: oversight, whistleblowers, and the value of intelligence to policymakers
  • Careers in intelligence and national security 

Katrina Mulligan is the managing director for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she supports the team’s work on global security at a critical time for the United States.

Previously, she served as an attorney adviser and director for preparedness and response in the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she represented the department on a wide range of National Security Council (NSC) policy committees. In this role, she provided legal and policy advice on a broad range of national policies, including on foreign influence and election interference, immigration and watchlisting, preparedness and response, and efforts related to biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. She also contributed on a number of national strategies and operational plans, including the 2017 National Security Strategy.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mulligan served on the NSC staff as the director for disclosures response, where she developed messaging, strategy, and policy in response to unauthorized disclosures of classified information. She also served in several roles within the office of the director of national intelligence, including as associate director for strategic communications initiatives, special adviser for detainee affairs, and chief of the mission management group. In these roles, she was responsible for developing and implementing intelligence community media and internal communications strategies; managing the development and delivery of intelligence community policy related to rendition, detention, interrogation, and Guantanamo; and scoping and executing interagency projects to better integrate the intelligence community and realign resources to optimize for strategic warning. She also served as the assistant to the director of the National Counterterrorism Center during the response to Benghazi and the Boston Marathon bombings.

Prior to joining the federal civil service in 2009, Mulligan practiced law at DLA Piper in Washington, D.C. Her practice focused on civil litigation and regulatory matters and, most interestingly, she represented the government of Peru in their case against Yale University over the return of the Machu Picchu artifacts. Mulligan started her career as the deputy finance director for Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign and later managed the traveling press corps on Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Her first job out of college was as a paralegal at the law firm of Miner, Barnhill, and Galland, where she supported Obama.

Usha Sahay is a Belfer IGA fellow and a first-year MPP candidate at HKS. Prior to Harvard, she was the managing editor of War on the Rocks, where she remains editor-at-large. She has been an editor at the Wall Street Journal and HuffPost, and a Scoville Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Usha is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University. Her research interests include nuclear strategy, Cold War history, and leadership and decision-making in foreign policy.