Eric S. Edelman retired as a career minister from the U.S. foreign service in 2009, after serving in numerous senior positions at the Department of State and Department of Defense, as well as in the White House. As under secretary of defense for policy (2005 to 2009), he 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, Edelman served as U.S. ambassador to Finland and Turkey. After 2001, he was 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 Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt and Secretary of State George Shultz.
Edelman also served in the State Department’s Operations Center and at the Prague, Moscow and Tel Aviv embassies, and as part of the U.S .delegation to the West Bank/Gaza autonomy talks.
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 bachelor’s degree in history and government from Cornell University and a doctorate degree in diplomatic history from Yale University. He is currently a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, as well as senior associate in the international security program at Harvard University.