• Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger, III (Sully) was born in Denison – a small North Texas town on the Oklahoma border.  There, as a teenager, he learned to fly a single engine prop plane off a grass strip.  A serious and talented - but shy and introverted - high school student, Sully was admitted to the highly competitive United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  When he graduated in 1973, he received the Academy’s prestigious Airmanship award as its top flyer.

    Sully flew the F-4 Phantom jet fighter in the Air Force, acquiring thousands of hours of flight time, always honing his airmanship.  That ability, that skill to perceive his environment, to be situationally aware, to anticipate issues, and to solve problems – that airmanship – enabled him as a commercial airline pilot, to safely navigate a crippled passenger jet to a dramatic water landing in the Hudson River on a frigid January day in 2009.

    That flight - US Airways flight 1549 – lost thrust in both engines shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia airport when it struck a flock of Canada geese.  Thanks to the remarkable skills of Sully and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, everyone aboard that plane survived the harrowing landing.

    Sully’s story is moving – humble beginnings, exceptional hard work, exacting dedication to his craft, and a lifetime of experience and knowledge that enabled him – in a moment of unprecedented crisis – to solve one problem after another, step by step, in 208 seconds, to navigate his crippled plane to the river, and to save the lives of its 155 passengers and crew.

    Sully shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating insights about his childhood, his education at the United States Air Force Academy, his passion for flight, and his dedication to his craft.

    Sully is also the author of two books:

    Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, with Jeffrey Zaslow (2010), and

    Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America's Leaders, with Douglas Century (2013)

    If you have thoughtful feedback or questions, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com

  • Mike Leiter grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, where his extraordinary public service career began early – in high school – when he worked as an Emergency Medical Technician.  After graduating from Columbia University, Mike served as a Naval Flight Officer before attending Harvard Law School, where he was one of only four military veterans in his class of more than 500 students.  At Harvard, Mike was elected President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review – a job once held by Barack Obama.

    After clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for Judge Michael Boudin and then on the United States Supreme Court for Justice Stephen Breyer, Mike worked as a federal prosecutor.  He left that job to become a key staffer on the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission - which examined substantial US Intelligence Community failures in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Ultimately, Mike directed the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) under Presidents Bush and Obama – the organization responsible for analyzing terrorism threats against the United States and its interests, at home and abroad.

    Mike shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating insights on the US intelligence community, as someone who studied it on the WMD commission and as someone who ran a vital part of it at NCTC.  You can find a link to the final report of the WMD Commission here:


    And you can read Mike's Washington Post Op Ed here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/weve-briefed-many-presidents-uncertainty-comes-with-job/

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

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  • Amy Hess dreamed – as a child – of being an astronaut.  A star student and athlete in high school, she studied aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue – though poor eyesight dashed her NASA dreams.  Instead, Amy got her start in the FBI as a special agent in Kansas City, working violent crime.  She rose quickly through FBI ranks to run the Memphis and Louisville field offices, and to run two large FBI divisions at headquarters, where she oversaw FBI technology in one job and the FBI’s criminal and cyber work, in another.  Those jobs made her the highest-ranking woman in FBI history.  Today, Amy is back home as the Chief of Public Safety for Louisville, Kentucky – across the Ohio River from the small Indiana town in which she grew up.

    Following the tragic March 13 shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville this year, and after we recorded this episode, Amy was named to lead police reform efforts in that city – to reduce use of force incidents, to review police policies and training, and to make recommendations on police disciplinary matters by establishing an Independent Civilian Review Board.

    Amy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an FBI special agent, including at the site of the horrific 1995 domestic terrorism attack at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Fiona Hill is the former Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council.  A highly respected scholar on Russian history and culture, Fiona was born and raised in the industrial northeast of England.  She comes from a long line of coal miners – uncles, cousins – families, like hers, that persistently struggled with poverty.  Fiona’s father, Alfred, joined his own brother in the coal mines at the age of 14.  Her mother, June, who still lives in Bishop Auckland – was a midwife.  And though money was always tight, Fiona grew up in a loving and supportive family that strongly embraced both her desire to go to college and, ultimately, to emigrate to the United States – a place her father loved and admired and always hoped one day might be his own home.

    Guided by a series of dedicated mentors and teachers, Fiona graduated from the University of Saint Andrew’s in Scotland, and then earned her Ph.D. at Harvard.  Along the way, she studied Russian history and culture and became fluent in its language.

    Fiona became a naturalized American citizen in 2002 – a country that gave her opportunities that she would not have enjoyed in the UK, where the fact that she grew up poor and with a distinct working-class accent, she believes, would likely have held her back.

    She served at the highest levels within the US government, on both the National Intelligence Council under Presidents Bush and Obama and, ultimately, on the National Security Council under President Trump.  Fiona is deeply respected for her expertise on Russia and Eurasia and widely admired for her honesty, courage, intellect, and fortitude.

    Fiona testified in the 2019 House impeachment hearings of President Trump, and you can find a link to her written testimony here.


    Fiona is also the author or co-author of three books about Russia and Vladimir Putin:

    ·    The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, with Clifford Gaddy (2003)

    ·    Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival (2004)

    ·    Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, with Clifford Gaddy (2015).

    Fiona shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the highest levels of the National Security Council.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Jim Miller is the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.  In that vital role – the number three position in DOD – Jim was at the forefront of some of the nation’s most important and most difficult national security issues.  As a key adviser to three Secretaries of Defense – Bob Gates, Leon Panetta, and Chuck Hagel – Jim guided reviews of nuclear weapons policy and ballistic missile defense policy, and led the formulation of national defense strategies for space and cyberspace.

    Jim’s path to the Pentagon began in the middle.  As the only boy in a household of five children, Jim was raised in a middle-class family in the middle of the country – in Waterloo, Iowa.  A brilliant student and a superb athlete, Jim made his way to Stanford where a mentor inspired him and guided him into public service.

    Recently, and after my interview with Jim was recorded, he resigned his position on the prestigious Defense Science Board.  In an open letter to the current Secretary of Defense, Jim noted that peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights outside of the White House were dispersed “using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op.”  Jim also wrote that though the Defense Secretary “may not have been able to stop … this appalling use of force, you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it.”  You can read Jim’s letter here: Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense, June 2, 2020


    Jim is a deeply principled and talented man and he shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his extraordinary public service career and his work at the highest levels of the Pentagon.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Carol Lam grew up in New Jersey, and was educated at Yale and Stanford Law School.  Soon after law school, she found a job she loved in the Justice Department – as a federal prosecutor in San Diego – where she handled complex health care fraud cases.  Though she enjoyed the work, she accepted an appointment to the California Superior Court bench from Governor Gray Davis.  Carol envisioned a long tenure as a judge – a difficult and vital job – but that changed when she became the presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of California – the office in which she started as a prosecutor. Today, Carol plays flute with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, serves as a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and works as an MSNBC legal analyst.

    Carol shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as a judge and a federal prosecutor and reflects on the role of prosecutors in the criminal justice system.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Kathy Sullivan is an explorer and a pioneer, an oceanographer and a scientist, an astronaut and an American hero. Selected as one of the first female astronauts in NASA history, Kathy flew three missions on the space shuttle and became – in 1984 – the first American woman to walk in space. Kathy also flew on the space shuttle mission in 1990 that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope – one of the most advanced and important scientific achievements in the history of NASA. After leaving NASA, Kathy ran the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – a crucial part of the Department of Commerce – that houses, among other agencies, the National Weather Service.

    In June 2020, after this episode was recorded, Kathy became the first woman to descend to the deepest spot in the ocean – a nearly seven-mile journey to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean. That makes Kathy the only person to walk in space and to dive to the ocean’s deepest known point.

    Kathy is the author of a book that describes her extraordinary NASA career – Handprints on Hubble – An Astronaut’s Story of Invention.

    Kathy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an astronaut, the thrill of venturing into space, and the dedicated and brilliant team of men and women who make spaceflight possible. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Vivek Murthy is a doctor and an author - a deeply thoughtful, interesting, kind, caring, and reflective medical professional - who served as the Surgeon General of the United States.  As Surgeon General, Vivek was also a Vice-Admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.   In that role, and after an exhaustive listening tour throughout the country at the beginning of his tenure as the “Nation’s Doctor,” Vivek realized that loneliness is a pervasive medical issue in the United States, and that it is both a cause of – and a consequence of – chronic illness.  In his powerful and illuminating new book, Together, he explores the role of loneliness in society and its relationship to chronic illness, and prescribes ways that we can identify it, think about it, and counter it.  Vivek was born in England and raised in Miami, and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Medical School.  

    Vivek shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his work as the Surgeon General of the United States – the “Nation’s Doctor” – and important insights into his research on the connection between loneliness and chronic illness.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Maya Wiley is a brilliant and powerful woman who has spent her professional life at the intersection of law, education, and policy. Born into both privilege and poverty – the child of two prominent civil rights activists, Maya grew up in a loving and intact home and, yet, in a broken educational system. And if that seems contradictory, Maya explains why it is not.  

    Educated at Dartmouth and Columbia, Maya served in city government and in the federal government, at the United States Department of Justice. Her most recent turn in public service put her in charge of the Civilian Complaint Review Board – the independent oversight agency of the New York City Police Department – the largest police force in the nation. This gave Maya a unique perspective on policing in America – particularly, what we need to do as a nation to address police misconduct, to improve policing, and to build bridges between police and the communities they are sworn to serve. Maya’s moving story is one of struggle and success, of love and tragedy, of friends and mentors and, always, of the pursuit of justice, dignity, and equality for all. 

    Maya shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the forefront of the civil rights movement. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Leon Panetta is one of the most distinguished and most accomplished public servants in American history.  Leon was born and raised in Monterey, California, the place where his father – an Italian immigrant and the youngest of 13 children – ultimately settled.  Carmelo Panetta could not have dreamed that his son, Leon, would serve eight terms in the Congress of the United States, as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, as the White House Chief of Staff, as the Director of the CIA, and as the Secretary of Defense.  It has been a remarkable career and a remarkable life for Leon Panetta – a kind, humble, thoughtful, intelligent, and considerate man.  I had the chance to interview Leon in his office at the Panetta Institute, on the campus of Cal State University – Monterey Bay – with his dog Bubba and his dog-in-law Copper, by his side.  

    Leon shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his extraordinary and distinguished career in public service.  He is also the author of the book, Worthy Fights.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • An oath is a solemn promise to serve a purpose greater than oneself. Now, that promise is more important than ever. In the third season of The Oath, Chuck Rosenberg speaks with people from many walks of life who served at the highest levels of public service. This season: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, and former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Listen to season 3 of The Oath starting on June 3.

  • Roberta Jacobson was the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 2016 through 2018.  
    A graduate of Brown University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Roberta became an expert on the Americas and particularly on Mexico during her more than three decades of public service at the State Department. She enjoyed postings in Argentina and Peru, served as the Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, and led the US delegation that reestablished formal diplomatic ties with Cuba, at the behest of President Obama, in 2016.  
    But Mexico was her focus. She was deeply respected on both sides of the border for her integrity, intellect, diligence, and brought a passion for Mexico and its history and people to her post.   
    In this episode, Roberta talks to Chuck Rosenberg about the role of the State Department in foreign policy and international affairs and the vital work of the men and women dedicated to this crucial mission. She also discusses our relationship with Mexico and the challenges faced by both sides as we move forward.  
    As usual, if you have thoughtful feedback or criticism please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com. 

  • John Pistole’s remarkable life has come full circle. A career FBI special agent who rose through the ranks to become the Deputy Director (the second highest official in the Bureau), John held that crucial and sensitive position longer than anyone in the history of the FBI and, in his case, under iconic Director Robert Mueller.
    Though John imagined that would be his last job in public service, President Obama tapped him in 2010 to serve as the head of the Transportation Security Administration - an agency John led for almost five years and through significant change.
    Raised in Anderson, Indiana, on the campus of Anderson University - where his father and sister both taught - John has since returned to his alma mater to serve as the President of Anderson University. Indeed, his life has come full circle.
    On The Oath, John shares fascinating stories of his work as an FBI special agent, of working with and for Bob Mueller after 9/11, and of reforming the TSA, including the use of intelligence assessments and risk mitigation strategies to drive TSA operations.
    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com

  • MSNBC national security analyst, Jeremy Bash has an extensive background in intelligence and national security affairs at the highest levels of the United States Government.
    After graduating from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal judge before serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He then served as Chief-of-Staff to Leon Panetta, both at the Central Intelligence Agency (where Panetta served as the Director) and at the Department of Defense (where Panetta served as the Secretary of Defense).
    Jeremy tells host Chuck Rosenberg some fascinating stories of time in the CIA, including the tragic 2009 murder of seven CIA personnel at Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, and the riveting account of the operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com

  • After a remarkable career in law enforcement, Bob Paulson retired as the 23rd Commissioner of the iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Bob explains the RCMP, also known as The Mounties, and its unique mandate as national, provincial, and municipal law enforcement in Canada. It's also responsible for three territories, eight provinces, more than 150 municipalities, and more than 600 Indigenous communities.
    On The Oath, Bob discusses his stalled career as a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and his transition to policing. Bob rose quickly through the enlisted and officer ranks of The Mounties, where he stood out as a thoughtful, intelligent, and selfless leader.
    As host Chuck Rosenberg’s first international guest on The Oath, Bob discusses the RCMP’s shameful past in connection with Canada’s notorious residential schools and the painful reconciliation that took place in Canada and within the RCMP many years later.
    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • James Stavridis retired from the United States Navy as a four-star admiral and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, the only Navy Admiral ever to serve in that crucial role. His retelling of his work in NATO, including its special design, challenges, and impact, is essential for anyone interested in global affairs.
    Jim also tells host Chuck Rosenberg some fascinating tales of his time in the Navy. During his service, Jim rotated through some of the most difficult and sensitive jobs in the military. In one recounting of mistakes made and lessons learned at sea, Jim remembers almost running a destroyer aground in the Suez Canal as a young officer. The result is a remarkable study in humility and leadership.
    A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Jim is the acclaimed author of four books: The Accidental Admiral, Sea Power, Destroyer Captain, The Leader’s Bookshelf (with R. Manning Ancell) and most recently, Sailing True North.
    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Anthony Williams's path to becoming the fifth mayor of Washington, D.C. was circuitous.
    During the Vietnam years, Williams left college to join the Air Force, ultimately leaving the service as a conscientious objector. He was given an honorable discharge in 1974 and went on to graduate magna cum laude with a BA in Political Science from Yale College. Williams then earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
    Anthony served in local and state governments in Boston, St. Louis, and Connecticut, before President Clinton appointed him as the first Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Anthony became the CFO for the District of Columbia, before becoming mayor of the District and rescuing the city from the brink of financial ruin.
    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com. 

  • Joyce Vance was an Assistant United States Attorney in Alabama for many years. Rising through the ranks in Birmingham, she was confirmed by the Senate as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She handled a wide variety of fascinating cases, including one in which the police preyed on vulnerable immigrants in a small Alabama town. 
    Her path to public service was borne partly of tragedy. In 1989, her father-in-law and federal appellate judge Robert Vance, was murdered by a mail bomb. That event set Joyce Vance on her path to federal prosecutor in her adopted home of Birmingham. 
    Joyce is also an avid knitter and a well-known contributor of legal analysis to MSNBC. 
    Email us any thoughtful feedback at theoathpodcast@gmail.com. 

  • Kathy Ruemmler served for three years as White House Counsel to President Barack Obama. She advised the President on numerous complex issues and helped usher the Affordable Care Act into law.
    A graduate of the University of Washington and Georgetown Law School, Ruemmler was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and one of the Enron Task Force lead prosecutors. In one of the most complicated and brazen cases in US history, Ruemmler convicted former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling of corporate fraud.
    In this episode, Kathy Ruemmler talks about her distinguished work in public service and return to private practice.
    As always, if you have thoughtful feedback, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.