About the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff

Created in 1947 by George Kennan at the request of Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Policy Planning Staff serves as a source of independent policy analysis and advice for the Secretary of State. The Policy Planning Staff’s mission is to take a longer term, strategic view of global trends and frame recommendations for the Secretary of State to advance U.S. interests and American values.

In his memoirs Present at the Creation, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson characterized the role of Policy Planning: “To anticipate the emerging form of things to come, to reappraise policies which had acquired their own momentum and went on after the reasons for them had ceased, and to stimulate and, when necessary, to devise basic policies crucial to the conduct of our foreign affairs.” (Source: https://www.state.gov/about-us-policy-planning-staff/)


Matan Chorev

Matan Chorev serves as the Principal Deputy Director of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff. Prior to his appointment, he served as Chief of Staff of the National Security and Foreign Policy team on the Biden-Harris Transition and as the foreign policy author of the 2020 Democratic Party Platform.

From 2015-2020, he was Chief of Staff of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously served as speechwriter and advisor to Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and as a member of the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff. He has also served as a Crisis, Governance, and Stabilization Foreign Service Officer at the United States Agency for International Development with assignments in Morocco and Yemen, and as a Rosenthal Fellow at the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning.

Prior to his government service, Matan was researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he was the Executive Director of the Future of National Security Project. He is a David Rockefeller Fellow at The Trilateral Commission and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds degrees from Tufts University, New England Conservatory, and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


The Asia-Pacific Initiative

The Belfer Center's Asia-Pacific Initiative is dedicated to studying opportunities and challenges facing one of the most diverse, complex, and pivotal regions of the world. Leveraging the resources and expertise at Harvard University, the initiative seeks to analyze issues that have increasingly defined the broader Asia-Pacific as the emerging economic, technological, and geopolitical center of gravity in the 21st century, and to develop constructive approaches to promote peace and prosperity in the region.

The Future of Diplomacy Project

The Future of Diplomacy Project is dedicated to promoting the study and understanding of diplomacy, negotiation and statecraft in international politics today. The Project aims to build Harvard Kennedy School’s ability to teach in this area, to support research in modern diplomatic practice and to build public understanding of diplomacy’s indispensable role in an increasingly complex and globalized world.