For the past 20 years, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) has convened national security leaders after every change in administration to affirm the peaceful transfer of power and the bipartisan character of American foreign policy through its signature Passing the Baton event.

In 2021, USIP and its partners believe that this event is more important now than ever.

Read the full event transcript

On January 29, USIP brought together Jake Sullivan, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s national security advisor, and Ambassador Robert O’Brien, President Donald J. Trump’s former national security advisor, for a conversation on the most critical foreign policy challenges facing the nation. Secretary Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State and former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, moderated the conversation.

Passing the Baton: Securing America’s Future Together provided an opportunity to assert and reflect on the importance of standing united against threats to global peace and security, which is rooted in the American commitment to the peaceful transition of power.

USIP was pleased to host this bipartisan event with the American Enterprise Institute, Atlantic Council, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for American Progress, The Heritage Foundation, and Hudson Institute.


Opening Remarks

  • Stephen J. Hadley
    Chair, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Lise Grande
    President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Top National Security Threats Facing the Nation

  • Admiral Michelle Howard
    USN Retired                       

Securing America’s Future Together

  • Jake Sullivan
    National Security Advisor to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
  • Ambassador Robert O’Brien
    Former National Security Advisor to President Donald J. Trump
  • Secretary Condoleezza Rice, moderator
    66th Secretary of State and Former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush

Meeting the Moment: Reflections from Partners  

  • Frederick Kempe
    President and CEO, Atlantic Council
  • Kenneth Weinstein
    President Emeritus and Walter P. Stern Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute
  • Thomas Carothers
    Senior Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • James Jay Carafano
    Vice President of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
  • Ambassador Gordon Gray
    Chief Operating Officer, Center for American Progress
  • Kori Schake
    Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Closing Remarks

  • Ambassador George Moose
    Vice Chair, U.S. Institute of Peace

Speaker Bios

co host logos

Latest Publications

Zambia’s New Leadership and the Stakes for Africa

Friday, September 24, 2021

By: USIP Staff

Weeks after his election to lead his southern African nation, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema vowed to reverse his country’s recent erosion of democracy and good governance, and to stabilize an economy in recession—all despite the burdens of COVID, environmental shocks, and a dangerous “mountain” of debt accumulated in recent years.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Prioritize Building Resilience at this Year’s U.N. General Assembly

Prioritize Building Resilience at this Year’s U.N. General Assembly

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

By: Corinne Graff, Ph.D.

World leaders are gathering in New York this week for the 2021 U.N. General Assembly against a backdrop of unprecedented global crises, including the continued spread of COVID-19 due to lack of access to vaccines; a growing hunger crisis as more people around the world die every day from starvation than from COVID-19; and the fact that roughly one percent of the world’s entire population — or one in every 97 people — is now forcibly displaced. These humanitarian challenges are compounded by a generational climate crisis and rising tensions with Russia and China that will need to be carefully managed. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

China and the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan: Not a Zero-Sum Outcome

China and the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan: Not a Zero-Sum Outcome

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

By: Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.

It has become fashionable to characterize recent events in Afghanistan as a loss for the United States and a win for China. This zero-sum interpretation framed in the narrow context of U.S.-China relations is too simplistic and off the mark. The reality is far more complex and nuanced. The end of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and the collapse of that country’s pro-Western government do not automatically translate into significant Chinese gains, nor do they trigger a swift Beijing swoop to fill the vacuum in Kabul left by Washington.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

View All Publications