White House Fills Expanded WMD Post

Tom Z. Collina

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the top National Security Council (NSC) adviser on European affairs, has been named to a new NSC position as coordinator for defense policy, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and arms control, the White House announced March 19.

Sherwood-Randall takes over the WMD and arms control portfolio previously held by Gary Samore, who now is executive director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. The newly created NSC position adds defense policy to the old portfolio in an effort to improve coordination on related issues, according to White House officials cited in a March 19 report in The Cable.

President Barack Obama “will look to [Sherwood-Randall] to bring significant energy and capability to his second term as we pursue the ambitious goals he set forth in his Prague speech in 2009,” national security adviser Tom Donilon said in the announcement. In that speech, Obama laid out a broad nuclear policy covering arms reductions, nonproliferation, nuclear security, and other issues.

Sherwood-Randall will work with Lt. Col. Ron Clark, acting senior director for defense policy and strategy; Laura Holgate, senior director for WMD terrorism and threat reduction; and Lynn Rusten, senior director for arms control and nonproliferation, The Cable said.

During the Clinton administration, Sherwood-Randall served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, where she played a role in the denuclearization of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine after those countries inherited nuclear weapons with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. She previously served as chief foreign affairs and defense policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden when he was a U.S. senator.

Sherwood-Randall will take up her new post April 8, the White House said.