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Jim Miller: Hawkeye

Jim Miller reflects on his career as the former Undersecretary for Policy at the Defense Department.

About this episode:

Jim Miller is the former Undersecretary for Policy at the Defense Department. In that vital role – the number three position in DOD – Jim was at the forefront of some of the nation’s most important and most difficult national security issues. As a key adviser to three Secretaries of Defense – Bob Gates, Chuck Hagel, and Leon Panetta – Jim guided reviews of nuclear weapons policy and ballistic missile defense policy, and led the formulation of national defense strategies for space and cyberspace.Jim’s path to the Pentagon began in the middle. As the only boy in a household of five children, Jim was raised in a middle-class family in the middle of the country – in Waterloo, Iowa. A brilliant student and a superb athlete, Jim made his way to Stanford where a mentor inspired him and guided him into public service. Recently, and after my interview with Jim was recorded, he resigned his position on the prestigious Defense Science Board. In an open letter to the current Secretary of Defense, Jim noted that peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights outside of the White House were dispersed “using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op.” Jim also wrote that though the Defense Secretary “may not have been able to stop … this appalling use of force, [he] could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, [he] visibly supported it.” You can read Jim’s letter here: Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense, June 2, 2020.

Jim is a deeply principled and thoughtful man and he shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his extraordinary public service career and his work at the highest levels of the Pentagon. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Read the transcript here.

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