Leon Panetta

Chairman, Panetta Institute for Public Policy

Secretary Leon Panetta is Chairman of The Panetta Institute for Public Policy. Reflecting his ideals and personal example, the nonpartisan, not-for-profit study center seeks to attract thoughtful people to lives of public service and prepare them for the policy challenges of the future. Panetta co-founded the Institute with his wife Sylvia in 1997 upon completion of his service as White House Chief of Staff in the Bill Clinton administration. He co-directed the Institute with her until 2009, when he left to serve as CIA director and then Secretary of Defense under President Obama, but returned in 2013.

Secretary Panetta has served on several boards and commissions, and currently serves on the board of directors for Oracle and Blue Shield of California. He also serves as co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Defense Personnel Task Force and the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism. He is the recipient of hundreds of awards and honors, including California Forward’s Forward Thinker Award, the California Teachers Association’s Friends of Education Award and the Judicial Council of California’s Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award.

Podcast Guest Appearances

National Security and Climate Change

What’s the connection between climate change and national security? “Military commanders don't operate on the basis of fiction,” says Leon Panetta, who served as Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA under President Obama. “Understanding climate change and what was happening had to be part and parcel of our effort to protect our security.” The military has long seen climate as critical to readiness, as Rear Admiral David Titley (Ret) explains. “If you’re directly connecting renewable energy to increasing our combat effectiveness,” explains Titley, “the military is all in.”