Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman Joins Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center as Senior Fellow
October 14, 2014
Related: Daniel Poneman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Cambridge, MA – Daniel Poneman, former Deputy Secretary of Energy, has joined Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a senior fellow.
Poneman was nominated by President Obama to be Deputy Secretary of Energy on April 20, 2009, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 18, 2009. Under the leadership of Secretaries of Energy Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, Poneman also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Department. Between April 23, 2013, and May 21, 2013, Poneman served as Acting Secretary of Energy. He concluded his responsibilities as Deputy Secretary on October 3, following the longest tenure in that position in the Department’s history.
Poneman's responsibilities spanned the full range of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, including fossil and nuclear energy, renewables and energy efficiency, and international cooperation around the world. He led 2009 negotiations to address Iran’s nuclear program and participated in the Deputies' Committee at the National Security Council. He played an instrumental role in the Department’s response to crises from Fukushima to the Libyan civil war to Hurricane Sandy, and led the Department’s efforts to strengthen emergency response and cybersecurity across the energy sector. As Chair of the Credit Review Board, he considered a wide array of DOE loan guarantees to support the expansion of clean power generation (including wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass) and advanced vehicles across the nation. His efforts supported all three pillars of the President’s Climate Action Plan – cutting carbon pollution in America, preparing the United States for the impacts of climate change, and leading international cooperation to support the first two pillars.
Belfer Center Director Graham Allison said Poneman brings a wealth of experience in energy and national security issues. “From the rise of renewables and shale gas and tight oil in America, to the threat of nuclear materials and climate change, energy issues are increasingly at the center of today’s most pressing policy questions. Dan is uniquely qualified to help the Belfer Center answer them. His exceptional experience across a range of energy and national security disciplines is a major asset to the Center’s growing contribution to this field.”
"I am delighted to be returning to Harvard," Poneman said. "With such diverse talent, the Belfer Center is the ideal place to think through the profound energy transformation under way in the United States, and its implications for our security, our economy, and our environment."
Poneman first joined the Department of Energy in 1989 as a White House Fellow. The next year he joined the National Security Council staff as Director of Defense Policy and Arms Control. From 1993 through 1996, Poneman served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Nonproliferation and Export Controls at the National Security Council. His responsibilities included the development and implementation of U.S. policy in such areas as peaceful nuclear cooperation, missile technology, space-launch activities, sanctions determinations, chemical and biological arms control efforts, and conventional arms transfer policy. During this time, he also participated in negotiations and consultations with governments in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union.
Prior to assuming his responsibilities as Deputy Secretary, Poneman served as a principal of The Scowcroft Group for eight years, providing strategic advice to corporations on a wide variety of international projects and transactions. Between tours of government service, he practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C. – first as an associate at Covington & Burling, later as a partner at Hogan & Hartson – assisting clients in regulatory, policy and transactional matters, international arbitration, commercial real estate, export controls, and sanctions and trade policy.
Poneman received A.B. and J.D. degrees with honors from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in Politics from Oxford University. During his earlier time at Harvard, he was an undergraduate rapporteur at the Program for Science and International Affairs and later a research fellow and teaching assistant at the Center for Science and International Affairs, now the Belfer Center. He has published widely on national security issues and is the author of Nuclear Power in the Developing World and Argentina: Democracy on Trial. His third book, Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis (coauthored with Joel Wit and Robert Gallucci), received the 2005 Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy. Poneman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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