Commissioner Bio

Eric Edelman

Vice Chair, Commission on the National Defense Strategy

Ambassador Eric S. Edelman retired as a Career Minister from the U.S. Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He has been a Practitioner in Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Counselor at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and a non-resident senior fellow at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He Co-Chaired the National Defense Strategy Commission, 2017-2018. 

Ambassador Edelman served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Clinton and Bush Administrations and was Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. From 2005 to 2009 he was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. In other assignments he served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State, special assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and special assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz. He also served in the State Department Operations Center, Prague, Moscow, and Tel Aviv, where he was a member of the U.S. Middle East Delegation to the West Bank/Gaza Autonomy Talks.

He has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. In January 2011 he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French Government. He holds a BA from Cornell University and a PhD in Diplomatic History from Yale.