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Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

Throughout her career, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall has chosen to engage the toughest global challenges – from deterring nuclear threats to countering climate change.She most recently served as the Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Energy (DOE), from October 2014 to January 2017. She provided strategic direction for DOE’s broad missions in nuclear deterrence and global proliferation prevention, science and energy, environmental management, emergency response, and grid security, and oversaw a workforce of more than 113,000.

Throughout President Obama’s first term, Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs on the White House National Security Council.She was the President’s principal advisor on Turkey and she guided the development and implementation of U.S. foreign and defense policy toward Turkey during these crucial years.Subsequently, from 2013 to 2014, she served as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control.

In the Clinton Administration, Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.During this period, she led the effort to denuclearize three former Soviet states, for which she was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the Nunn-Lugar Trailblazer Award. Early in her career, she was Senator Joe Biden’s chief advisor on foreign and defense policy. She has also worked at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Stanford University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Brookings Institution.

Born and raised in California, Dr. Sherwood-Randall attended college at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude; while at Harvard, Professor Stanley Hoffmann supervised her work and she became the first undergraduate research associate at the Center for European Studies.She subsequently received her D.Phil. in International Relations as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University’s Balliol College.Her doctoral thesis became the book Allies in Crisis: Meeting Global Challenges to Western Security, which was published by Yale University Press in 1991.


  • Fisher Family Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy (2014-2017)
  • Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs, National Security Council (2009-2013)
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia (1994-1996)

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