Thomas E. Donilon
|National Security Advisor|
October 8, 2010
|Preceded by||James Jones|
|Deputy National Security Advisor|
January 20, 2009 – October 8, 2010
|Preceded by||James Jeffrey|
|Succeeded by||Denis McDonough|
|Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs|
April 1, 1993 – November 7, 1996
|Preceded by||Margaret Tutwiler|
|Succeeded by||James Rubin|
May 14, 1955 |
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Alma mater||Catholic University of America
University of Virginia
Thomas E. "Tom" Donilon (born May 14, 1955) is the National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration, and has had a career as a U.S. political advisor, government official and lawyer. Previously, he served together with diplomat Wendy Sherman as Agency Review Team Lead for the State Department in the Obama transition, and as Deputy to National Security Advisor James Jones early in the Obama administration. Donilon replaced Jones as National Security Advisor on October 8, 2010.
Early life and education 
Donilon was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Theresa A. (née Conway) and Edward T. Donilon. His father was of Irish descent, and his maternal grandparents had immigrated from Ireland. He attended La Salle Academy, earned a B.A. at The Catholic University of America in 1977, and a J.D. at the University of Virginia in 1985. He served on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Law Review.
Private sector 
Before his appointment to the Obama Administration, Donilon was a partner in the Washington office of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers, where he advised companies and their boards on a range of "sensitive governance, policy, legal and regulatory matters".
Government and political work 
Donilon worked as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from 1993 to 1996, and served as the Clinton administration's Secretary of State's chief of staff. Although he has no military experience and worked as a lobbyist, Donilon was "intimately involved in many major foreign policy issues, including negotiating the Bosnian peace agreement and the expansion of NATO". 
Donilon figures prominently during formulation of strategy for Afghanistan and associated discussions in Bob Woodward's 2010 book, "Obama's Wars."
Donilon was 'criticized' by General Jones, who once disparaged Donilon, for his lack of overseas experience, telling him that as a result: "You have no credibility with the military", according to Bob Woodward's "Obama's Wars". Jones said that Donilon was not good in his dealings with his staff at the National Security Council, displaying "too little feel for the people who work day and night....". Donilon did visit Afghanistan March 2010 during President Obama's six-hour late-night visit to the country.
Donilon was the National Security Advisor during the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and was criticized in the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty for delaying that assassination.
Personal life 
Donilon is the brother of Mike Donilon, a lawyer and political consultant who is Counselor to Vice-President Joe Biden. His other brother, Terrence Donilon, is communications director for Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean O'Malley. Donilon's sister, Donna, is a nurse. He is married to Catherine M. Russell, who is Chief of Staff to Jill Biden, and they have two children.
- Donilon to Replace Jones as National Security Adviser Sanger, David E. The New York Times.
- "Obama-Biden Transition: Agency Review Teams | Change.gov: The Obama-Biden Transition Team". Change.gov. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Defense Secretary Said to Be Staying On Baker, Peter. The New York Times.
- "Duo Heading State Transition Seasoned Vets". USA Today. 2008-11-12. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- "O'Melveny & Myers LLP | Professionals". O'Melveny & Myers. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Bob Woodward book details Obama battles with advisers over exit plan for Afghan war Washington Post. September 22, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
- Tom Donilon Would Be A 'Disaster' As National Security Adviser, Robert Gates Reportedly Said
- Horowitz, Jason (March 10, 2013). "The brothers Donilon: One’s boss is President Obama, the other’s could be pope". Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- http://politicsblog.projo.com/2008/11/obama-biden-rel.html Obama, Biden relying on the Donilons of Providence] Perry, Jack. Providence Journal ProJo Politics Blog. November 26, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
- Biden Beefs Up Staff Rucker, Philip. November 26, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
- National Security Council
- Thomas E. Donilon collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Thomas E. Donilon on Charlie Rose
- Works by or about Thomas E. Donilon in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Thomas E. Donilon collected news and commentary at The New York Times
|Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
|Deputy National Security Advisor
|National Security Advisor