Clements Center
Clements Center

The Hon. Kurt Campbell

Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Dr. Kurt Campbell was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in January 2007, a venture dedicated to advancing a strong, centrist national security strategy. He concurrently serves as Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Washington Quarterly. From 2000 to 2007, he served as Senior Vice President, Director of the International Security Program, and the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in National Security Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Campbell is also the Founder and Principal of StratAsia, a strategic advisory company focused on Asia. He has also been a contributing writer to the New York Times, a frequent on-air contributor to NPR's All Things Considered and a consultant to ABC News. Previously he served for five years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and the Pacific. Before coming to the Pentagon, he served as Director in the Democracy office at the National Security Council, Deputy Special Counselor to the President for NAFTA, and Chief of Staff (International) and White House Fellow at the Treasury Department. For his work in government, Dr. Campbell has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Public Service Medal from Secretary Cohen, Medal for Outstanding Public Service from Secretary Perry, Department of State Honor Award, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Korea's National Security Medal.

Dr. Campbell was Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University between 1988 and 1993. He was also the Assistant Director of the Center for Science and International Affairs and a Director of the South Africa Project at Harvard. He was an International Affairs Fellow and is now a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Campbell is also a Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and a member of the Wasatch Group. Previously he has been a stringer for the New York Times Magazine in southern Africa, an Olin Fellow at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University, a Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, a Lecturer in International Relations at Brown University, a consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation, and a member of St. Cross College, Oxford.

He received his B.A. in Science, Technology, and Public Affairs (minors in Physics and Music) from the University of California, San Diego, a Certificate in music (violin) and political philosophy from the University of Erevan in Soviet Armenia, and his Doctorate in International Relations from Brasenose College at Oxford University where he was a Distinguished Marshall Scholar. He rowed and played rugby for Brasenose College and received his Varsity "Blue" in tennis for representing Oxford in the Cambridge match.

Campbell was formerly a Special Assistant on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and has served as a reserve naval officer between 1987-1995 in a special Chief of Naval Operations advisory unit in the Pentagon. He has also testified on numerous occasions in front of both Houses of Congress. He is a Member of the US Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, the CIA's 2020 project, and was appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to serve on the Advisory Board of the Naval Postgraduate School.

Campbell serves several companies and educational institutions in a variety of capacities. He is a member of the advisory boards of Aegis Capital Corporation, Civitas, STS Technologies, the O'Gara Company, New Media Strategies, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is on the board of the US-Australian Leadership Dialogue, the Advisory Committee of the International Affairs Program at the College of William and Mary, the policy advisory board of the Asia Society, and the Vice Chairman of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Fund.

Campbell is the co-author of Difficult Transitions: Why Presidents Fail in Foreign Policy at the Outset of Power, editor of Climatic Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change, co-author of Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security, a principle author of To Prevail: An American Strategy for the Campaign against Terrorism and editor of The Nuclear Tipping Point. He is the author of two other books, numerous scholarly articles, and many newspaper, magazine, and opinion pieces on a wide range of international subjects. He is married to Lael Brainard and they have three daughters, Caelan, Ciara and Chloe. Together they live in Washington, D.C. and also maintain Iron Bell farm in Little Washington, Rappahannock County, Virginia.