Ambassador Eric Edelman retired as a career minister from the US Foreign Service on May 1, 2009, after serving in numerous senior positions at the US Departments of State and Defense, as well as in the White House. Dr. Edelman most recently served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from August 2005-09, the number three position at the Pentagon.
As Under Secretary of Defense, Dr. Edelman oversaw strategy development as the Pentagon’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.
Prior to serving in the Pentagon, Dr. Edelman served as US Ambassador to Finland, and Turkey, during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. After 2001 he was a Principal Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs to the Vice President of the United States. Other assignments include serving as Chief of Staff to former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and as a special assistant to both Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt and Secretary of State George Shultz. Dr. Edelman also served in the State Department’s Operations Center and at the Prague, Moscow and Tel Aviv embassies, and as part of the US delegation to the West Bank/Gaza Autonomy Talks.
Dr. Edelman has received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. He holds a B.A. degree (in History and Government) from Cornell University and a Ph.D. (in Diplomatic History) from Yale University. He is currently a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. He was a non-resident senior associate in the International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, from 2009-2013.