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  • John Tierney: Questions that Congress is Failing to Ask

John Tierney: Questions that Congress is Failing to Ask

  • 05 Nov 2021
  • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC


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Drawing on his years as a member, and chair from 2007-2011, of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Oversight and Reform Committee and his membership on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, plus his present role as Executive Director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and for the Council for a Livable World, Tierney posits some examples of “Questions that Congress is Failing to Ask” – in other words, failing in its oversight of national security and foreign policy efforts – resulting in potential for international destabilization or conflict.”

Tierney does this by identifying the number of overseas basis and troop deployments, most without U.S. Congressional approval or even knowledge; questioning whether China is truly the military threat now being suggested, and whether approaching China solely as a potential military adversary is sound policy; and highlighting problems with the missile defense program – is it strategically wise, and do the laws of physics even point toward success of a possible reliable and credible intercept given the realities of what has been proposed, built and tested? Or is it simply too costly and a failed strategy and program?


John TierneyJohn Tierney is the Executive Director at Council for a Livable World, where his work focuses on national security issues in Congress, nuclear nonproliferation, missile defense, and other areas of peace and security.

Tierney is a former nine-term Massachusetts congressman who served on the House Intelligence Committee and chaired the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee. During his congressional career, Tierney spent considerable time advocating on nuclear non-proliferation and national security issues. As a Member, Tierney was regularly endorsed by the Council for a Livable World for his leadership in arms control and preventing nuclear proliferation.

Tierney’s 18-year career included oversight of the Government Accountability Office’s annual assessment of the Pentagon’s Weapons Selection Programs and reform of overall Pentagon spending. In 2009, Foreign Policy Magazine praised Tierney, noting that he “has a reputation for taking on thorny oversight issues the House Armed Services Committee shied away from.”

Tierney’s congressional colleagues have repeatedly honored his non-proliferation and national security work.

Tierney is an appointed member of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), an advisory committee established by the U.S. Congress with the official mandate of promoting the fullest public access to a thorough, accurate and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. The Board also advises the President and other Executive Branch officials on the identification, collection, and review for declassification and release of declassified records and materials of archival value.

He is also a member of the Higher Education Task Force of the national Bipartisan Policy Center (PBC) tasked with improving the affordability and accountability of the U.S. Higher Education system.

Tierney holds a B.A. from Salem State College and J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.

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