Ambassador Eric S. Edelman retired as a career minister from the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 Roger Hertog Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a senior associate of the international security program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.
Ambassador Edelman 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.more » « less