James Steinberg

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Jim Steinberg
10th Dean of Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Assumed office
November 1, 2021
Preceded byEliot Cohen
16th United States Deputy Secretary of State
In office
January 29, 2009 – July 28, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJohn Negroponte
Succeeded byWilliam J. Burns
20th United States Deputy National Security Advisor
In office
December 23, 1996 – August 1, 2000
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded bySandy Berger
Succeeded byStephen Hadley
Director of Policy Planning
In office
March 21, 1994 – December 23, 1996
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded bySamuel W. Lewis
Succeeded byGregory B. Craig
Personal details
Born (1953-05-07) May 7, 1953 (age 70)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseSherburne Abbott
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Yale University (JD)

James Braidy Steinberg (born May 7, 1953[1]) is an American academic and political advisor, and former United States deputy secretary of state. He has served as the dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University since November 1, 2021. Prior to his deanship, he was a professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University


Early career[edit]

Steinberg was born to a Jewish family in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] He was educated at Phillips Academy (1970),[3] Harvard College (1973), and Yale Law School (1978).[2] His previous positions included a senior fellowship for US Strategic Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, UK (1985–1987), and senior analyst at RAND Corporation (1989–1993). Steinberg also served as a Senior Advisor to the Markle Foundation (2000–2001) and was a member of the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age.

Early campaign work[edit]

During the national elections which brought President Jimmy Carter into office, Steinberg worked on the presidential campaign of the Carter-Mondale ticket. He also worked as a foreign policy advisor for Michael Dukakis's 1988 campaign.[4]

Clinton administration[edit]

Steinberg served as the U.S. State Department's director of policy planning (1994–1996), then as deputy national security advisor (December 1996–2001) to President Bill Clinton. He also served on the Project on National Security Reform's Guiding Coalition.

Brookings Institution director and Lyndon B. Johnson School dean[edit]

After serving in the Clinton administration, Steinberg was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and the institution's vice president and director of foreign policy studies (2001–2005). Steinberg was then dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin (2006–2009) until his appointment as deputy secretary of state on January 28, 2009, taking a leave of absence from the school for the duration of his term in office.[5]

Obama administration[edit]

with Yukio Edano (January 27, 2011)

According to The Wall Street Journal, Steinberg, along with Daniel C. Kurtzer and Dennis Ross, were among the principal authors of Barack Obama’s address on the Middle East to AIPAC in June 2008, which was viewed as the Democratic Party nominee’s most expansive on international affairs.[6]

He was mentioned as being "at the top" of Obama's list of candidates for the post of national security advisor,[7] but Andrea Mitchell reported on November 24, 2008, that Hillary Clinton would appoint Steinberg deputy secretary of state.[8] On December 23, 2008, Steinberg himself confirmed the appointment in a letter addressed to students and faculty at the Johnson School.[9]

As deputy secretary of state and principal deputy to secretary of state Hillary Clinton,[5] Steinberg notably coined the phrase "strategic reassurance" to describe China–United States relations suggestive of the idea that the United States should reassure China about welcoming China's rise while China would reassure the US and its neighbors that it would not conflict with their interests.[10][11]

Israel–U.S. strategic dialogue[edit]

In October 2010, Steinberg met with Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, in Washington, D.C., where they discussed how to improve regional security and stability through boosting and growing the already strong cooperation between their two nations. During the talks, both delegates expressed their commitment to a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors and their grave concern regarding Iran’s continued non-compliance with its international obligations through pursuit of a military nuclear program.[12]

The following spring, they met in Jerusalem where they again took advantage of the opportunity to work together to identify and strategize against the threats both countries face including the rapidly changing political situation in the Middle East and the ongoing Iranian nuclear program.[13]

Maxwell School deanship[edit]

In March 2011, Steinberg was named dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.[14] On July 28, 2011, he resigned as deputy secretary of state and assumed his new position. His term as dean ended in 2016.[15][16]

CFR and Albright Stonebridge Group[edit]

Steinberg is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group.[17]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Sherburne B. Abbott, vice president for sustainability initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at Syracuse University. They have two daughters, Jenna and Emma.[18][19]


  • Gavin, Francis J. & James B. Steinberg (Spring 2012). "Mind the gap : why policymakers and scholars ignore each other, and what should be done about it" (PDF). Carnegie Reporter. 6 (4): 10–17.
  • Steinberg, James B. (July 2012). "2012—a watershed year for East Asia?". Roundtable: Turning to the Pacific : U.S. Strategic Rebalancing toward Asia. Asia Policy. 14: 22–25. doi:10.1353/asp.2012.0022. S2CID 140555459.


  1. ^ date & year of birth according to LCNAF CIP data
  2. ^ a b Jewish Virtual Library: "James B. Steinberg" retrieved October 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Andover Bulletin - Spring 2009 by Phillips Academy". Issuu. September 22, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Mazzetti, Mark (November 8, 2008). "James B. Steinberg". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b US Department of State biography for James B. Steinberg, accessed March 16, 2011 Archived March 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Obama's Mideast Experts Emphasize Talks, Jay Solomon, The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2008; p. A7.
  7. ^ Want a Security Post? Say Nothing., Helene Cooper, New York Times, November 6, 2008
  8. ^ Morning Show Summary., Mark Halperin, The Page, November 24, 2008
  9. ^ Smith, Ben (December 23, 2008). "Steinberg confirms appointment". Politico.
  10. ^ Currie, Kelley (October 22, 2009). "The Doctrine of 'Strategic Reassurance'". The Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ Rogin, Josh (November 6, 2009). "The end of the concept of "strategic reassurance"?". Foreign Policy.
  12. ^ "Joint Statement on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Dialogue". U.S. Department of State.
  13. ^ "Israel-U.S. Strategic Dialogue".
  14. ^ Rogin, Josh (March 30, 2011). "Steinberg leaving State, Burns moves up". Foreign Policy.
  15. ^ "Steinberg to Conclude Tenure as Maxwell Dean Following 2015-16 Academic Year". SU News. September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  16. ^ Burke, Michael (May 1, 2016). "Maxwell faculty differ in view about James Steinberg's tenure as dean". The Daily Orange. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  17. ^ "News | Albright Stonebridge Group".
  18. ^ "Sherburne Abbott appointed Syracuse University's vice president for sustainability initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy". March 30, 2011.
  19. ^ sustainability.syr.edu http://sustainability.syr.edu/vision/who-we-are/contact-us/biographies/. Retrieved March 26, 2017. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Director of Policy Planning
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy National Security Advisor
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Deputy Secretary of State
Succeeded by