USC Price School of Public Policy

Richard Clarke CREATE Lecture

Knowledge in Action:

Former White House Counter-Terrorism Chief Lectures at CREATE

By Kelly Buccola

Richard Clarke Counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke, left, with SPPD’s Erroll Southers
Photo by Dietmar Quistorf

Richard A. Clarke, counter-terrorism expert and author of CYBERWAR: The Next Threat to National Security and What To Do About It, spoke to a gathering of homeland security professionals at a special lecture hosted by CREATE, the National Center of Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, at USC in August.

In his lecture – “Breaking the Curse of Cassandra: What to Do About Low-Probability/High-Impact Disaster Scenarios – Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism chief and current chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, discussed an ancient phenomenon that has manifested itself repeatedly and catastrophically in recent years in the United States. Clarke discussed recent low-probably/high-impact disasters, what could have been done to prevent them or better mitigate their effects, and what can be done to change collective thinking in order to better plan for them in the future.

Clarke is an internationally-recognized expert on security, including homeland security, national security, cyber security, and counterterrorism. He is currently an on-air consultant for ABC News and teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Clarke served under the last three U.S. presidents as a senior White House Advisor. Over the course of an unprecedented 11 consecutive years of White House service, he held the titles of:

  • Special Assistant to the President for Global Affairs
  • National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism
  • Special Advisor to the President for Cyber Security

Prior to his White House years, Clarke served for 19 years in the Pentagon, the Intelligence Community and the State Department. During the Reagan Administration, he was deputy assistant secretary of state for intelligence. During the George H. W. Bush Administration, he was assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs and coordinated diplomatic efforts to support the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the subsequent security arrangements.