WSB EXCLUSIVE SPEAKER

John Brennan

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WSB Exclusive Speaker

John Brennan

CIA Director (2013–2017); Senior Intelligence and National Security Analyst at NBC and MSNBC

John Brennan blends wisdom, experience, and candor in a cogent analysis of dynamic trends in national security.

John Brennan Profile Photo

CONTACT WSB FOR John Brennan'S SPEAKING FEES

A consummate insider who worked his way up through the ranks to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan had a front row seat in the turbulent and tumultuous arena of world affairs for more than three decades.

Serving six successive U.S. presidents, Brennan was deeply involved in the decision-making for an array of complex international issues, including Osama bin Laden, the Arab Spring, Benghazi, ISIS, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Iran deal, and Russian election meddling.

“Through the course of my career, I’ve had the great fortune of being in meetings with the world’s most notable leaders at critical times of world history,” he says.

Before being tapped to head the CIA, Brennan served as the CIA’s daily intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton, the founding director of the National Counterterrorism Center during President George Bush’s administration, and Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Deputy National Security Advisor for President Barack Obama.

Often credited as being cerebral, courtly, and deferential, Brennan was characterized by fellow White House aides as having a “moral depth that was leavened by a dry Irish wit.” He has been honored with the National Security Medal, as well as numerous other medals from the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and foreign intelligence services.

After a lifetime in the intelligence community, Brennan now serves as a Senior Intelligence and National Security Analyst at NBC and MSNBC, where he offers his opinions with his unvarnished, shoot-from-the-hip delivery. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a member of the Board of Directors of ImmunityBio Inc, and an advisor to a variety of private sector companies. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies at Home and Abroad, a memoir of his career in public service.   

Brennan teaches audiences how to think about and act quickly in response to global events, terrorism, and cybersecurity concerns. Pensive and articulate, he details his pragmatic take on global trends, while expertly exploring issues of national security, foreign policy, governance, and the rule of law.

Offering an insider’s look at the shifting global landscape, Brennan reveals what it takes to remain an effective player in business, while keeping pace with the alarming proliferation of cyber threats. Drawing on his experience spearheading a comprehensive restructuring of the CIA, he discusses the importance of organizational agility and what it takes to implement major change.

Featured Videos

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John Brennan’s Speech Topics

  • Examining Global Threats

    In unvarnished terms, John Brennan lays out the myriad of threats to our national security and prosperity in the current geopolitical landscape. From cyber threats to terrorism, instability, nuclear proliferation, and biotechnology, Brennan offers expert insight into how these issues impact our daily lives and businesses.

    “Global instability is one of the defining issues of our time,” observes Brennan. “More people are shifting their allegiances away from sovereign governments, leading societies to fracture along ethnic and sectarian lines.”

    Cyber security is another strategic challenge. “Defense lags behind offense,” says the former CIA director. “The information age has totally transformed the way we need to operate,” he says.

    Informed by decades of service as both an intelligence officer and policy official, Brennan calmly and fluently discusses options for protecting our infrastructure, privacy, and property in the face of multiple menacing forces. 

  • The State of Global Politics

    In this candid discussion, fueled by three decades of experience in national security affairs, John Brennan shares his insights into the very dynamic, unstable, and dangerous geo-strategic developments on the global landscape. Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine not only has caused thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, and devastating economic destruction, it also has transformed the relationship between Russia and the West, disrupted global supply chains, and raised the spectre of a military confrontation with existential implications between NATO and Russia. The reverberations of the conflict will affect global events for many years to come, including on how militaries fight wars, China's role in international affairs, and the competition between authoritarian and democratic systems of governance. Also uncertain is the future willingness and ability of governments to work together to deal with other major 21st century issues such as climate change, cybersecurity, pandemics, disinformation, and groundbreaking technological and scientific innovations. Join the former CIA director as he addresses the key developments, trends, and challenges that are shaping our rapidly transforming world.

  • Transformation for Innovation: The Keys to Modern Business Leadership

    As the former CIA director who led the most comprehensive restructuring of the agency in its history, John Brennan understands the challenges of transforming an organization.

    “We needed to overhaul our organizational structure in order to better integrate capabilities and knowledge, foster greater collaboration and teamwork, and instill an Agency-wide culture of shared mission and responsibility,” says Brennan.

    Citing specific examples of the mission-critical solutions he employed to boost leadership training and talent development, Brennan shares how these efforts helped to create a more effective, efficient, and productive workforce and management structure.

    A better sense of systems engineering, he states, is essential for successful organizational transformation. “You need to understand how best to configure and put in place the authorities, capabilities, processes, procedures, training programs, and evaluation criteria so that you optimize the outcomes you want,” according to Brennan.

    Cerebral and perceptive, Brennan offers insights into how an organization’s flexibility and openness to growth can enhance its capabilities both internally and externally. His cogent message inspires audiences to foster a culture of innovation in their own institutions. 

What other organizations say about John Brennan

John Brennan was so fabulous!! He was a dream of a guest — very friendly and so fascinating at the same time.

Universities & Colleges

What other organizations say about John Brennan

John Brennan was a powerful addition to our Annual program. He made our members think and ponder. We were so pleased to have him part of the event!

Economic Development Councils

What other organizations say about John Brennan

Director Brennan was a delightful speaker and extremely well received by the students who participated in the discussion and the audience at the Mayo PAC. So many of us were impressed with how well he handled the Q&A – so many different topics. It was a pleasure to work with you on this event as well. You made the event – from contract, to marketing approvals, to logistics – very easy for us!

Universities & Colleges

What other organizations say about John Brennan

Brennan was more than awesome. Very candid, engaged well with the audience and during the Q&A. Needless to say, he was the star attraction.

Universities & Colleges

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