By: Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama from 2009 to 2017
As someone who spent eight years as President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, I am concerned about America’s national security and our standing in the world. At this dangerous moment, Congress needs more leaders who are willing to defend American values, inspire others to get involved, and put our country’s long-term interests ahead of their personal ones.
Jessica Morse is that kind of leader. She served our country in Iraq with USAID, helped coordinate the significant Iraq foreign aid budget at the State Department, and served as an advisor to the head of U.S. Pacific Command. She has first-hand experience in defense, diplomacy, and development. Representative Tom McClintock is a career politician who has supported President Trump’s reckless approach to foreign policy, which risks greater conflict. Jessica has worked, sometimes in dangerous places, to address the consequences of war and build the cooperation that can prevent new ones.
Jessica showed personal courage. As a young person, she went to an Iraq that was still rife with conflict. Jessica showed creativity. While at PACOM, she developed an innovative approach - using renewable energy as a way to advance the U.S.-India defense relationship, which was a top national security priority for the Obama Administration. She drafted a strategy and built a coalition of people across the government to get that done, which is what we need more of from Congress today.
I’ve sat in the room with the most senior decision-makers in our government. And I can tell you that they rely on the advice, analysis, and hard work of people in positions just like the ones that Jessica occupied - people whose names are not in the headlines. Indeed, I believe that the young people I met in national security - whether in the military, Foreign Service, intelligence community, or development professionals like Jessica - are the lifeblood of our nation’s defense. They bring energy, patriotism, and new ideas to the table. We should be honoring that type of service; we certainly need more of it.
We are lucky, as a country, that there is a generation of Americans who signed up to serve in various capacities after 9/11. Jessica Morse did the type of jobs that don’t always get the spotlight, but they make the difference. She has a perspective that doesn’t just come from Washington, it comes from the field. She had colleagues who liked and respected her.
Jessica Morse has every reason to be proud of her accomplishments. She has proven that she has the intelligence, courage and commitment to find constructive solutions to daunting problems in some of the most trying circumstances. That’s why I am proud to support her as she pursues the next chapter in her service by running for the United States Congress.