Institute of Politics

Samantha Vinograd

CNN National Security Analyst

  • Fall 2020 Pritzker Fellow

  • Seminar Series: “The National Security Recovery from COVID-19”


Samantha Vinograd is a CNN National Security Analyst, a Senior Advisor at the Biden Institute and a co-founder of Global Opportunity Advisors. She began her career under President Bush as the Deputy U.S. Treasury Attaché to Iraq and subsequently served on President Obama’s National Security Council as Director for Iraq, Director for International Economics, and Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor.  She joined Goldman Sachs in 2013 where her work focused on building public-private sector partnerships across a broad range of policy and business issues, and she later led Global Public Policy at Stripe.

She is deeply engaged in social impact work and serves as an advisor to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and to the Concordia Summit. She was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Public Policy Institute, a David E. Rockefeller Fellow at the Trilateral Commission and a Millennium Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Ms. Vinograd writes a weekly column on (the Presidential Weekly Briefing) and has been published in several outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Daily Beast, USA Today, Harper’s Bazaar, Politico, and Marie Claire.

She is fluent in French and studied advanced Arabic and Hebrew. She received her B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University.


“The National Security Recovery from COVID-19”

There was no pandemic pause button for global threats facing the United States during covid-19. North Korea and Iran didn’t stop nuclearizing, Russia didn’t stop interfering in our elections, and Assad didn’t cease his brutal behavior. At the same time, rival powers like Russia and China tried to take advantage of the pandemic period to advance their own agendas against us and COVID-19 exacerbated existing threats like global food insecurity and poverty.

Despite this heightened threat environment, the national security apparatus had fewer resources available to just do routine national security work. Urgent and necessary measures were taken to safeguard the health of US personnel, but because of travel restrictions, remote working, and shift work, U.S. government personnel were unable to fully perform their day jobs during the pandemic.

We also had to redirect significant resources to meet the COVID-19 threat - in terms of physical, financial resources, and human resources. This puts a strain on other work during this period and down the road.

Whenever we do mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, the national security recovery will depend on a thoughtfully executed recovery plan. New geopolitical realities, perceptions of the United States, and gaps in our national security will need an unbiased, sustained focus.

This seminar will explore all aspects of the national security recovery from COVID-19.

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