News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

President Obama's WMD "Czar" Appointed Executive Director of Belfer Center

| January 29, 2013

Cambridge, Mass. - January 29, 2013 - Gary Samore, President Obama’s Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction Counter-Terrorism and Arms Control, has been appointed Executive Director (Research) for Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

“Gary Samore is the very model of a Belfer Center professional,” said Center Director Graham Allison. “We count ourselves fortunate that one of the nation’s leaders in both thought and action on the core issues of the Center’s agenda will bring his rich experience to our community.”

As the President’s WMD Coordinator for the past four years, Samore served as the principal advisor to the President on all matters relating to arms control and the prevention of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and WMD terrorism.  Samore has coordinated an extraordinary range of U.S. government strategy, programs and initiatives, from combating Iran’s nuclear ambitions and negotiating the New START Arms Control Agreement with Russia to confronting terrorism and securing of nuclear weapons and materials worldwide. He also oversaw President Obama’s ground-breaking Nuclear Security Summits of 2012 and 2014.  

This is a homecoming for Samore: He served as a fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center after completing his PhD in Government at Harvard University in 1984. Samore has served previously as Vice President for Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; Vice President for Global Security at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Director of Studies and Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.  There he produced three “strategic dossiers” on Iran (2005), North Korea (2004), and Iraq (2002) that were widely hailed as authoritative assessments of nuclear biological, chemical, and missile programs in those countries.

In the Clinton Administration, Samore served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Nonproliferation where he played a key role in negotiating an agreement to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, for which he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service.

At the Belfer Center, Samore will take a leadership role in the strategy, management, and operations of the Center’s research agenda. He will become cochair of the Iran Working Group, participate in the Center’s Managing the Atom Project, and carry out his own research and writing.

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said, “Gary has been the principal architect of the President’s Prague Agenda on nuclear security, arms control and nonproliferation.  I’m sure he’ll help advance the Belfer Center’s mission to prepare future generations for leadership on these challenging national security issues.”

“Gary Samore is one of the most esteemed alumni of our fellows program,” said Steven Miller, director of the Belfer Center’s International Security Program. “It is fantastic that he is bringing his wealth of government and research expertise to the Belfer Center.  Our work on nuclear nonproliferation will profit enormously from his deep knowledge and vast experience in that area.”

Samore succeeds Kevin Ryan, a retired Army Brigadier General who is taking on a new role at the Belfer Center. Ryan will direct new initiatives on defense and intelligence, and also will continue to lead the Elbe Group as part of the Preventing Nuclear Terrorism project.


For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Smith, James F.. “President Obama's WMD "Czar" Appointed Executive Director of Belfer Center.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, January 29, 2013.

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