What is the Hagel Advisory Council?

The Hagel Advisory Council is an advisory group of top business leaders and entrepreneurs in the Midwest and the nation united by a deep commitment to making a difference in the key national security challenges facing the United States and the world today. The Hagel Advisory Council is named in honor of  former U.S. Senator and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who has decades of experience in foreign affairs and national security policymaking and shares the Council's commitment to national security.

Senator Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel served as U.S. Senator (R-NE) from 1997 to 2009 and as Secretary of Defense in the Obama Administration from 2013-2015. As a Republican who worked for a Democratic President in the service of our Country, Chuck Hagel strongly signals bipartisanship. Hagel, hailing from Nebraska, represents the heartland of America and seeks with CPOST to give greater voice in American Security Policy to the Midwest. The Midwest is where work is accomplished across the political aisle, bringing Democrats Independents and Republicans together. We know of no better positioned senior government leader nor better region within the United States to bring people together over what brings our Country together as a whole: the Security of our Country.

The Hagel Advisory Council is the cornerstone of CPOST’s efforts to highlight and promote dialogue on security topics vital to our Nation’s prosperity. Members meet regularly with CPOST research staff and current and past government officials to discuss national security challenges facing our country and to share best practices.

The Hagel Advisory Council also helps underwrite the Hagel Lecture Series, an integral part of CPOST’s mission to engage the public on national security issues that impact the country and the world. The Hagel Lecture Series was established in 2019 in collaboration with Secretary Hagel, CPOST, and the University of Chicago. The Lecture Series aims to promote open and informed debate on current foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was the inaugural lecturer; the most recent Hagel lecture featured former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul in 2023.

HAC Chair

Chris Hasbrook

Chris Hasbrook is Chair of the Hagel Advisory Council of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST), a Research Center at UChicago.  Chris owns Public Safety Strategies L.L.C and works with companies to develop products, enter markets, and assist owners in expanding their businesses. Click here for his full bio.

HAC Members

Bill Obenshain

Michael Kennedy

Goerge Little

Carol Montag

Anne Wedner

Aaron Dowd

Aaron Dowd is Managing Director of Mellontikos, an international, diversified venture development company. From 2003-2013, he served as a Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to The Honorable Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator. Dowd has also advised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).