Ambassador Eric S. Edelman retired as a Career Minister from the U.S. Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He is currently Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Hertog Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. From 2009-2013 he was a senior associate of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. In 2010 he served on the Congress’s Independent Panel to review the Quadrennial Defense Review and in 2013-2014 he served on the National Defense Panel.
Ambassador Edelman has served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House where he led organizations providing analysis, strategy, policy development, security services, trade advocacy, public outreach, citizen services and congressional relations. As the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (August, 2005-January 2009) he oversaw strategy development as DoD’s senior policy official with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls.
He served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Clinton and Bush Administrations and was Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. In other assignment he has been Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, special assistant to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt and special assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz. He also had assignments in the State Department Operations Center, Prague, Moscow, and Tel Aviv, where he was a member of the U.S. Middle East Delegation to the West Bank/Gaza Autonomy Talks.
He has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. He has been awarded the Order of the White Rose by the government of Finland and the Legion d’Honneur by the French government.
He received a B.A. in History and Government from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in U.S. Diplomatic History from Yale University.