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Thomas E. Donilon

Distinguished Fellow

Expertise

U.S. national security, foreign policy, intelligence, and military affairs

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Bio

Thomas E. Donilon most recently served as national security adviser to President Barack Obama. In that capacity Mr. Donilon oversaw the National Security Council staff, chaired the cabinet level National Security Principals Committee, provided the president's daily national security briefing, and was responsible for the coordination and integration of the administration's foreign policy, intelligence, and military efforts.

Mr. Donilon previously served as assistant to the president and principal deputy national security adviser. In that role, he was responsible for managing the U.S. government's national security policy development and crisis management process. Mr. Donilon chaired the Obama-Biden transition at the U.S. Department of State. During the 2008 campaign, Mr. Donilon headed President Obama's general election debate preparation effort.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Donilon was a partner at the international law firm of O'Melveny & Myers and served as a member of the firm's global governing committee. Mr. Donilon is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Mr. Donilon has worked closely with and advised three U.S. presidents since his first position at the White House in 1977, working with President Carter. He served as assistant secretary of state and chief of staff at the U.S. Department of State during the Clinton administration. In this capacity, Mr. Donilon was responsible for the development and implementation of the department's major policy initiatives, including NATO expansion, the Dayton Peace Accords, and the Middle East peace process. Mr. Donilon has received the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the CIA's Director's Award.

Mr. Donilon has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, the National Security Advisory Group to the Congressional Leadership, the Brookings Institution Board of Trustees, the Miller Center of Public Affairs Governing Council, and the Trilateral Commission. He received his undergraduate degree from Catholic University and his law degree from the University of Virginia. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Cathy Russell, and their children, Sarah (16) and Teddy (14).