Former CIA director John Brennan appointed as distinguished non-resident scholar

Tristan Davantes

John Brennan, former director of the CIA, will be joining UT as a distinguished non-resident scholar, as announced by the Clements Center for National Security on Tuesday.

In his new role, Brennan will make regular visits to campus to give public statements, serve as a guest speaker in different courses, contribute to research projects and mentor on national security and intelligence, the Clements Center said in a press release.  

Prior to serving as the director of the CIA, Brennan served as the deputy national security advisor for the Department of Homeland Security under former president Barack Obama.

“He’s an incredibly accomplished public servant,” said Stephen Slick, director of the Intelligence Studies Project. “Holding some of the most influential and impactful positions in the executive branch of government.” 

As well as a distinguished scholar, Brennan will be the senior advisor for ISP, a program established in 2013 to increase studies surrounding the United States Intelligence Community and national security. Brennan will advise on future programs and research projects and work to improve the ways UT prepares students for careers in national security. 

Slick said Brennan will be an asset to the University due to his years of experience. 

“John Brennan has served at the highest levels of government for the last several decades,” Slick said. “He was a participant in some of the most impactful and even controversial government programs in recent years, so getting his perspective will be very important for our students.” 

Jade Monk, international relations and global studies junior, said she thinks Brennan’s input is going to prove invaluable to the intelligence community and the University community. 

“The stances that he’s taken under the Obama administration point towards cultural sensitivity when approaching counter-terrorism and national security issues,” Monk said. “I think his cultural awareness in implementing security in American foreign policy matches with UT’s philosophy and methodology of teaching.” 

Monk said that she hopes Brennan’s appointment will raise questions surrounding national security. 

“It might inspire people to put more thought into that anyway because it is an issue of concern for everyone,” Monk said. 

Slick said there is an enormous amount of curiosity in studying national security and foreign affairs.  

“We’re very fortunate that we have leaders who think this is an important public service the University can provide,” Slick said. “The University of Texas can and should have strong programs in this area, and I’m very satisfied with the situation.”