The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) is pleased to announce that it has bolstered its government affairs team, bringing aboard former top aides to key policymakers as it continues to heighten its influence on the Washington foreign policy and national security debate.
Joining JINSA on Sept. 1 as Vice Presidents for Government Affairs were Morgan Viña and Matthew Kenney. Viña is a former Pentagon official and Senate aide who served as chief of staff and senior policy advisor to Nikki R. Haley when she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Kenney, a former senior Department of Defense official overseeing congressional relations, was a longtime top aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. (R-KY).
Together, Viña and Kenney will lead JINSA’s outreach to key congressional and executive branch decision-makers to provide insight on how to advance American defense and strategic interests. Their arrival marks another milestone for JINSA as it increases its ranks of policy experts and research capabilities in support of its mission to strengthen the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship and promote a powerful American national security posture in the Middle East.
Speaking about her new affiliation with JINSA, Viña said: “During such a consequential time for our nation’s security, I am thrilled to be joining an organization whose mission is to educate congressional, civilian, and military leaders. JINSA’s commitment to a strong American defense and robust cooperation with Israel is the best guarantor of peace in the Middle East and beyond.”
Kenney said he is “excited to join the JINSA team. With its deep bench of seasoned experts working to advance peace and security in the Middle East, JINSA punches well above its weight class in Washington. In an increasingly volatile world, such expertise is uniquely valuable to policymakers.”
JINSA President and CEO Michael Makovsky added: “I am very pleased to welcome Morgan and Matt to JINSA. Their expertise gained from years of government service in Congress and the executive branch will add tremendous value to the organization. I know they will do an excellent job in furthering JINSA’s vital work in educating policymakers on vital ways to advance the U.S.-Israeli security relationship and strengthen the American military and national security posture.”
Prior to joining JINSA, Viña worked for Haley at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, where she served as the key advisor to the Ambassador’s policy development and executive team and managed Haley’s priorities on United Nations management, budget, and reform initiatives. Viña’s government service includes time as chief of staff for international security affairs in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, where she led policy development and coordination among the Department and interagency stakeholders. She also worked on Capitol Hill advising U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), then-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on matters of State Department oversight, U.S. foreign assistance, and reform of international organizations.
A graduate of Sweet Briar College, Viña holds an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics. She is a visiting fellow at the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law and previously served as an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Kenney brings a broad spectrum of federal government experience to his new role at JINSA. He recently completed a three-year tour at the Department of Defense, performing the duties of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (PDASD) for Legislative Affairs from 2020-2021. During his tenure, Kenney spearheaded comprehensive legislative engagement strategies that contributed to the successful passage of multiple defense authorization and appropriations acts, including the legislative strategy that led to the creation of U.S. Space Force. He also served as a key advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.