At a Glance
- Career History: Defense Policy Board, chair (since 2007); Deputy Secretary of Defense (1997 to 2001); Undersecretary of Defense (1993 to 1997)
- Birthday: July 3, 1950
- Hometown: Willow Lake, S.D.
- Alma Mater: Augustana College, B.A., 1972; Johns Hopkins University, PhD, 1978
- Office: 1800 K St. NWWashington, DC 20006;202-887-0200
- Web site
Path to Power
Hamre was born on July 3, 1950, in Willow Lake, S.D., a town of 100 people and 40 buildings where none of the streets have names. His father was a banker and his mother taught at the local school.
He received his undergraduate degree in political science from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D, in 1972 and spent the next year as a Rockefeller fellow at the Harvard Divinity School.
As a veteran Defense Department official, Hamre understands the "plumbing" of defense policy and institutions.
He has lobbied for increased diplomatic efforts and a more sophisticated military adapted to 21st century warfare. He also called the rise of nuclear Iran and the increased danger of a nuclear attack on U.S. soil the most serious threats facing the country.
Hamre knows Sam Nunn, a former Democratic Senator from Georgia who is now the chairman of CSIS. Nunn, who advised Obama on defense issues and worked on the presidential transition team, is Hamre's closest tie to the president.
Hamre and others suggested that ex-Rep. Lee Hamilton and former Secretary of State James Baker lead the Iraq Study Group. He also served on the Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq with retired General James L. Jones, who Obama appointed as National Security Adviser.