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Eric Edelman

Roger Hertog Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

  • +1 (202) 663-7778
  • Campus Location: Washington DC
  • Office Location: Rome 731


Ambassador Eric S. Edelman retired as a career minister from the US Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He 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 undersecretary of defense for policy (August 2005-January 2009), he was DoD's senior policy official, overseeing strategy development with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counterproliferation, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. He served as US ambassador to Finland in the Clinton administration and Turkey in the Bush administration and was Vice President Cheney's principal deputy assistant for national security affairs. He was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, special assistant to Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt, and special assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz. His other assignments included the State Department Operations Center, Prague, Moscow, and Tel Aviv, where he was a member of the US Middle East delegation to the West Bank/Gaza autonomy talks. Ambassador Edelman has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. In 2010, he was named a knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor. He received a B.A. in history and government from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in U.S. diplomatic history from Yale University. He is a distinguished fellow at the Center of Strategic and Budgetary Assessment and a senior associate of the international security program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He also serves on the National Defense Panel, on the bipartisan board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace, and on the board of the Foreign Policy Initiative.



  • American Defense Policy
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Nuclear Policy and Proliferation
  • Strategic and Security Issues

In the News

Secretary of the American century.

Eric Edelman wrote in The Dispatch, 02/08

Defense secretaries' letter warning Trump was signed by all in only two days.

Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman cited on ABC News, 01/05

Defense secretaries worried about a Trump power grab.

Dean Eliot A. Cohen quoted and Eric Edelman cited in Foreign Policy, 01/04

The SecDefs speak out.

Dean Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman cited in Slate Magazine, 01/04

All former living secretaries support Biden’s claims of Pentagon stonewalling.

Dean Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman cited in U.S. News & World Report, 01/04

Extraordinary warning to Trump by 10 former Pentagon chiefs.

Eric Edelman cited in Associated Press, 01/04

The time to question election results has passed, all living former defense secretaries say.

Dean Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman quoted in The Washington Post, 01/03

Ex-Defense secretaries say military must stay out of election battles.

Dean Eliot A. Cohen cited and Eric Edelman quoted in Politico, 01/03

Will Trumpism change Republican foreign policy permanently?

Eric Edelman quoted in The Atlantic, 8/28

Dozens of former national security officials who served Republican administrations are supporting Joe Biden in November.

Dean Eliot A. Cohen, Robert D. Blackwill, Eric Edelman, and Shirin Tahir-Kheli cited on Defending Democracy Together website, 8/20

The rise of strategic corruption.

Eric Edelman wrote in Foreign Affairs, 6/9