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News Release

March 9, 2009


Lisa Trei, Center for International Security and Cooperation: (650) 725-6488,

NATO expert Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall joins national security team

Stanford researcher Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall will join the Obama administration as a special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council.

"We are delighted that President Obama has asked Liz to advise him on European issues critical to our mutual political, military and economic security, particularly during these challenging economic times," said Coit D. Blacker, director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. "Liz brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will help strengthen effective, constructive relationships between this country and our friends and allies in Europe."

Sherwood-Randall, a senior research scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute's Center for International Security and Cooperation, has served as a founding senior adviser to the Preventive Defense Project, a Stanford-Harvard initiative that focuses on security problems and threats. She also was an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

This is the second time Sherwood-Randall has served in the executive branch. From 1994 to 1996, she was the Clinton administration's deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. In this role, she developed and implemented regional security policy toward the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union and established defense and military relationships.

Sherwood-Randall was instrumental in extending NATO's Partnership for Peace program across Eurasia and in building the foundation for cooperation between Russia and NATO in the joint peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. For her work at the Pentagon, she was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal by then-Secretary of Defense William Perry, who now co-directs the Preventive Defense Project.

"I am delighted that Liz has been selected for this important job," Perry said. "Her achievements during her tenure at the Pentagon while I was secretary of defense were significant and far reaching. I expect in her new role at the National Security Council she will make equally powerful contributions."

From 2007 to 2008, Sherwood-Randall was a member of the Review Panel on Future Directions for Defense Threat Reduction Agency Missions and Capabilities to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. In 2008, she served on the National Security Strategy and Policies Expert Working Group that advised the Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, which Perry also leads.

Prior to her service in the Department of Defense, Sherwood-Randall was co-founder and associate director of Harvard's Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project. She also served as chief foreign affairs and defense policy adviser to Democratic Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and as a guest scholar in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.

Sherwood-Randall earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar in 1981.

Last month, Obama tapped political science professor and Freeman Spogli Institute Deputy Director Michael McFaul to serve as special assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.


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