Blog No. 51 Postscript: An All-Star Panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum


On November 15, 2014, a remarkable panel was assembled at the Reagan National Defense Forum to discuss a variety of national defense issues. The panel consisted of:

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama

Steven Hadley, National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush

Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense under President Obama

Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

John McCain, soon to be Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee

The panelists not only gave illuminating vignettes of their personal experiences in dealing with national security matters, but expressed candid views on current issues including ISIS, Ukraine, and the impact of sequestration and reductions to the military budget. It was a cogent and compelling presentation. Rather than attempting to summarize the observations of the participants, we would strongly urge readers of to view the discussion at

The entire presentation lasts approximately an hour and a half, but we believe it is worth watching from start to finish. For those who cannot spare that much time, we would particularly recommend the comments of Secretary Panetta at 33:33 and 54:35, Steven Hadley at 43:24, and 1:06:08, Secretary Gates at 49:05 and Secretary Johnson at 1:05:30.


One thought on “Blog No. 51 Postscript: An All-Star Panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum

  • Indeed an extraordinary panel of leaders in our great nation.

    The first thing that strikes me is that only 208 have viewed this show, sad!

    After listening to the very on point questions and answers, I amazingly formed my opinions of these gentlemen. My two favorites are Steven Hadley and Bob Gates because of their deep knowledge of the history of our country as it relates to the subjects presented to them but also their extremely articulate explanations. My next two favorites are Leon Panetta and John McCain both of whom express themselves with such passion and wisdom. By far, my least favorite is Jay Johnson who I felt was odd man out in this group of extremely informed, talented, and experienced leaders. He seemed more of a thorn in their sides than a part of their overall thinking. That said, it was good that he was on this panel to add perspective to the overall picture.

    Thank you Doug for bringing this important meeting to my attention. Hopefully members of congress are among the earlier viewers.

    I imagine the program viewership will remain quite small due to the disparity of the length of the program and what I perceive as the relatively short attention span of the average busy American and that is too bad.

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