Event Details

From June of 2019 until his firing by President Trump after the November 2020 election, Secretary Mark T. Esper led the Department of Defense through an unprecedented time in U.S. history—a period marked by growing threats and conflict abroad, a global pandemic unseen in a century, the greatest domestic unrest in two generations, and a White House seemingly bent on breaking accepted norms and conventions for political advantage.

Join us for a conversation on January 26 with Mark Esper as he provides an unvarnished firsthand account of this tumultuous and historic moment and discusses his recent book, "A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times." A reception will follow.

January 26, 2023

5:00 PM Program • 6:00 PM Reception

APS • 400 N 5th St, Phoenix

Beverages and Hors D'oeuvres will be served


4:30 PM - 4:55 PM
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


  • Dr. Mark T. Esper (Former U.S. Secretary of Defense)

    Dr. Mark T. Esper

    Former U.S. Secretary of Defense

    Dr. Mark T. Esper became the 27th Secretary of Defense in July 2019 after being confirmed 90-8 by the U.S. Senate. During his tenure, Esper led the department through unprecedented times: from conflict with Iran, an ongoing campaign in Afghanistan, and rising tensions with China; to the greatest civil unrest in decades and a once-in-a-century global pandemic. He also implemented a new defense strategy focused on the PRC; prioritized international alliances by strengthening U.S. and allied military capabilities; established the Space Force; improved the nation’s cyber and space capabilities; proposed a bold force structure for the U.S. Navy; and implemented novel warfighting and readiness concepts. In response to COVID, Esper took steps to protect DoD personnel while co-leading Operation Warp Speed, the national effort to rapidly develop and distribute vaccines.

    From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Esper served as the 23d Secretary of the Army, where he launched a renaissance in how the Service organized, manned, trained, and equipped itself while refocusing on high-intensity combat operations. He also established a new Army Futures Command designed to accelerate and improve the Service’s modernization efforts, directed an overhaul of recruiting standards and marketing, initiated a new combat fitness test and basic combat training, and jumpstarted the development of a Talent Management system, all while advancing important initiatives for Army spouses and families.

    Dr. Esper earned a BS from West Point, an MPA from Harvard University, and a PhD from George Washington University. He served as an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division during the 1990-91 Gulf War, and later commanded an airborne rifle company in Europe. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
    After leaving active duty, Dr. Esper worked in senior national security positions across Capitol Hill, as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, in a presidential campaign, and with prominent think tanks, commissions, and business associations. He later served as a senior executive at Raytheon Company.

    Dr. Esper currently works in venture capital and serves on public policy boards. His memoir, A Sacred Oath, is a NYT bestseller.

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  • Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas (Executive Director of The McCain Institute at ASU)

    Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas

    Executive Director of The McCain Institute at ASU


    Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas has three decades of experience working on national security and foreign policy in the U.S. executive, legislative branch, private sector and for international organizations overseas. In 2019-2020 she ran to represent New York’s 17th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. She is currently the executive director of the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. Prior to that, she was president of Farkas Global Strategies and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United State and the Atlantic Council and national security contributor for NBC/MSNBC.

    She served from 2012 to 2015 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, Balkans, Caucasus and conventional arms control. From 2010 to 2012, she was the senior advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and special advisor to the Secretary of Defense for the NATO Summit. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism and senior fellow at the American Security Project. From 2001 to 2008, she served as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee responsible for Asia Pacific, Western Hemisphere, Special Operations Command, and policy issues including combatting terrorism and export control.

    From 1997-2001, Dr. Farkas was a professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. She served 1996-97 in Bosnia with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). She has published numerous journal articles and opinion pieces and “Fractured States and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, Ethiopia, and Bosnia in the 1990s “(Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press). She speaks Hungarian and German and has studied French, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, Russian and Hindi.

    Dr. Farkas obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She serves as a D.C. family court-appointed special advocate. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Directors for the Project 2049 Institute, Supporters of Civil Society in Russia, Leadership Council-Women in National Security, and the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College.

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400 N 5th Street
Phoenix, Arizona

If you have any questions please contact Samuel Richardson

Contact Organizer

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