Jon Wolfsthal

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Jon Wolfsthal is an independent consultant and expert on all aspects of nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation, and deterrence issues. He is a non-resident fellow at the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center at Harvard University and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also a columnist for Foreign Policy's Shadow Government. He is also a senior advisor at Global Zero. He served most recently (2014-2017) as special assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Arms Control and Nonproliferation at the National Security Council. In that post, we was the most senior White House official setting and implementing U.S. Government policy on all aspects of arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear policy. He worked previously in government, in academia and in the non-governmental community and is a leading scholar and educator in the areas of nuclear deterrence, arms control and nonproliferation issues. During his 5+ years at the White House, he helped guide key aspects of U.S. nuclear and nonproliferation policy. He was directly involved in crafting President Obama's Prague speech (April 2009),[1] served on the delegation to the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, helped negotiate and gain Senate approval of the New START [2] arms control agreement with Russia, helped draft the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review [3] and coordinated U.S. policy for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. He was instrumental in supporting President Obama's historic visit to Hiroshima in 2016.

The co-author of Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction, he was described by the office of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as "a globally recognized expert on nuclear security and nonproliferation",[4] He served previously as deputy director of the James C. Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.[5]

He served from March 2009 to March 2012 as a special advisor for Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security in the office of the Vice President of the United States under Vice President Biden[4][5] and as Director for Nonproliferation at the National Security Council.[5] He served at the U.S. Department of Energy during the 1990s in a variety of positions, including in North Korea,[5] where he served in roles including as an on-site monitor under the 1994 "Agreed Framework".[6]

Before returning to the White House in 2014 to work at the National Security Council, he served as deputy director at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey and previously was deputy director for Non-Proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and later as a CSIS senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[5] During that time he was also a professorial lecturer teaching nuclear weapons policy at Georgetown University.[4]

He has taught at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies and Georgetown University, as well as at MIIS and has frequently provided commentary on air and in publications related to global security and nonproliferation issues.

He is an effective advocate for reducing the role of nuclear weapons, while preserving our alliances, strategic stability and protecting the effectiveness of the global nonproliferation regime. He has spent time on the ground at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility during the 1990s, implementing the now defunct Agreed Framework. he has also visited key Iranian nuclear facilities as a private citizen. He has also served on US delegation to Russia.

As of March 2017, Wolfsthal serves as a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board. [7]


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  4. ^ a b c Vice President Biden Announces Key Staff Appointments,, 2013-03-29. Accessed 2013-10-07.
  5. ^ a b c d e Jon Wolfsthal Appointed New CNS Deputy Director Archived 2013-10-02 on Wayback Machine., Monterey Institute for International Studies. Undated, some time before 2012-04-01. Accessed 2013-10-07.
  6. ^ Behind Enemy Reactors, Jon B. Wolfsthal, New York Times, 2006-10-14. Accessed 2013-10-07.
  7. ^ "Science and Security Board". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. March 30, 2017. 

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