2020 Tillman Scholar

Caroline Sabatt

Navy
Harvard University
M.P.P.

“I have seen firsthand what happens when well-intentioned policy lacks tactical feasibility.  I feel an obligation to craft relevant foreign policy that makes sense to the warfighter.”

Following the attacks of 9/11, Caroline was determined to serve her country to combat ideologies that threaten our way of life.  As a naval flight officer, she chose to serve aboard the P-8A “Poseidon,” knowing that its unique reconnaissance and anti-submarine missions would afford the greatest chance to participate in strategic operations overseas.  Her choice was affirmed during subsequent deployments to the Pacific and eastern Mediterranean, when she commanded reconnaissance missions that directly informed policymakers.  Caroline’s firsthand observation of Chinese and Russian naval activity sparked in her a desire to better understand these historic actions and their impact on U.S. national security.

For two years, as the personal aide to two U.S. fleet commanders, Caroline has seen the philosophy of our nation’s senior military leaders shift in preparation for a high-end fight.  While she believes it is the military’s duty to win our nation’s wars, no matter the adversary, she believes it is the highest responsibility of policymakers to prevent conflict so that the military’s warfighting ability might never be tested.  In light of this belief, she is choosing to leave the Navy and pursue work whereby she can influence America’s foreign relationships from a position upstream of conflict.  Caroline is leaving the Navy this summer to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, where she will build upon her military experience, hone her analytical skillset, and develop a more holistic understanding of the world — energizing the continuation of an impactful career in public service.