Meghan L. O'Sullivan

Adjunct Senior Fellow


U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy; counterinsurgency; nation-building; the geopolitics of energy; Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan.


Energy Security Roundtable Series


Meghan L. O'Sullivan is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), while also serving as the Evron and Jeane Kirkpatrick professor of the practice of international affairs and the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. Her expertise includes nation-building, counterinsurgency, the geopolitics of energy, decision making in foreign policy, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

From July 2004 to September 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and also held the position of deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan for the last two years of her tenure. She spent two years in total in Iraq, most recently in fall 2008 at the request of Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General Raymond Odierno to help conclude the security agreement and strategic framework agreement between the United States and Iraq. As deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. O'Sullivan led a team of military and diplomatic personnel, lawyers, economists, and political appointees in the Iraq and Afghan directorates at the National Security Council. In this capacity, she staffed the president and national security advisor on Iraq and Afghanistan and coordinated the efforts of U.S. government agencies working there. Dr. O'Sullivan also held the positions of senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia at the NSC; political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad; chief adviser to the presidential envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process; and fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Her publications include Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism (2003) and an edited volume with Richard N. Haass, Honey and Vinegar: Incentives, Sanctions, and Foreign Policy (2000). Dr. O'Sullivan is also a consultant to the National Intelligence Council, and a strategic advisor to John Hess, the chairman and CEO of Hess Corporation, an American independent oil and gas company. She writes a foreign affairs column for Bloomberg View and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Aspen Strategy Group. Dr. O'Sullivan serves as a member of the board of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, a director on the board of TechnoServe, and is on the advisory board of the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. Dr. O'Sullivan received a BA from Georgetown University, a master's of science in economics and doctorate in politics from Oxford University.

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CFR Events

Meeting ⁄ New York

What to Do About Iraq

Speakers Stephen D. Biddle

Adjunct Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Council on Foreign Relations; Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

, Max Boot

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

, Meghan L. O'Sullivan

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project, Harvard Kennedy School

Presider Richard N. Haass

President, Council on Foreign Relations

June 18, 2014 12:00–1:00 p.m. - Conference Call

This meeting is on the record.

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