Jon Wolfsthal is a nonresident scholar with the Nuclear Policy Program. From 2014 to 2017, he served as special assistant to former U.S. president Barack Obama as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. In that post, he was the most senior White House official setting and implementing U.S. government policy on all aspects of arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear policy. Prior to that, he served as the deputy director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute for International Studies. From 2009 to 2012, he was the special adviser to then U.S. vice president Joe Biden for nuclear security and nonproliferation and as a director for nonproliferation on the National Security Council. He supported the Obama administration’s negotiation and ratification of the New START arms reduction agreement with the Russian Federation, and helped support the development of nuclear policy including through the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review. He was previously a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and, in his first stint at Carnegie, deputy director of the Nuclear Policy Program. He served in several capacities during the 1990s at the U.S. Department of Energy, including an on-the-ground assignment in North Korea from 1995 to 1996.
He is the co-author, with Joseph Cirincione, of Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction and a leading authority on nuclear weapons policy, regional proliferation, arms control, and nuclear deterrence. His work has included assignments in Russia, North Korea, and travel to Iran. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and op-eds and has appeared on or been quoted in most leading domestic and international news media outlets.