At a Glance
- Career History: Director, Council on Foreign Relations (2006 to 2009); Vice President for Global Security and Sustainability, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (2005); Researcher, International Institute of Strategic Studies (2001 to 2005)
- Alma Mater: State University of New York at Stony Brook, B.A. (sociology); Harvard University, PhD, 1984
Path to Power
Samore earned his B.A. in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his PhD in government from Harvard University in 1984.
After brief stints with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the RAND Corporation, Samore joined the State Department during the Reagan administration in 1987. He held several positions there, including director of the Office of Regional Non-proliferation Affairs; special assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Energy Policy; and deputy to Ambassador-at-Large for Korean Affairs Robert Gallucci.
In his White House gig, Samore oversees efforts to reduce existing nuclear arsenals, stop proliferation to additional countries and prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from acquiring nuclear weapons.
He's had some victories. In April 2010, Samore helped reshape U.S. nuclear weapons strategy. The new policy, outlined in the Nuclear Policy Review,narrowed American use of nuclear weapons to primarily a deterrent function. It also renounced the weapons use on non-nuclear states in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if those countries attack the U.S.
As a leader in nuclear non-proliferation, Samore joins what has been described as a "powerful bench" of nuclear specialists in the Obama administration. Leaders include Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary-designate for arms control and international security affairs at the State Department, Bob Einhorn, a special adviser to Obama on nuclear non-proliferation issues and Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary for compliance and implementation at the State Department.
(photo: Pete Souza / White House)