University of Pittsburgh
October 13, 2011

Pitt’s Center for National Preparedness to Host Counterterrorism Expert for Lecture on Intelligence Oct. 20

Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—How can counterterrorism experts determine whether the intelligence information they’re vetting is reliable and worth acting on? How can the United States use intelligence to improve its counterterrorism efforts? Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Joseph Sestak Jr. will address these questions at 3 p.m. Oct. 20 in a free public lecture, “The Role of Intelligence in Counterterror Strategy.” Hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for National Preparedness (CNP), Sestak’s talk will be held in Pitt’s Alumni Hall, Room 528, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. 

Sestak, who served as director of defense policy for the National Security Council (NSC) during President Bill Clinton’s administration, will discuss the challenges of using intelligence to develop plans to respond to or prevent terrorist attacks. 

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Sestak entered the Navy as a surface warfare officer and was deployed seven times to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the Pacific. Between tours of duty, he earned a master’s degree in public administration and a PhD in political economy and government from Harvard University. After serving in the NSC, Sestak became the deputy chief of Naval Operations, overseeing the Navy’s $70 billion warfare budget. 

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Navy selected Sestak to head “Deep Blue,” the service’s initiative to develop a new counterterrorism strategy. Sestak also commanded the USS George Washington Aircraft Carrier Battle Group, comprising 30 ships, 100 aircraft, and 15,000 sailors, Marines, and SEALs during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sestak rose to the rank of three-star admiral.

After retiring, Sestak was elected in 2006 to the U.S. House of Representatives (Pa. 7th District) and was re-elected in 2008. He remains the highest-ranking military officer ever elected to Congress. 

Sestak’s lecture is part of the CNP’s 2011 Seminar Series. The CNP is an interdisciplinary collaboration of experts and departments at Pitt. It provides research, education, and service aimed at advancing the science, policy, and implementation of effective federal, state, and local preparedness efforts across the public and private sectors. For more information, visit





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