Jon Wolfsthal

Jon Wolfsthal

Formal First Name

Jon Wolfsthal is a national security consultant, government appointee, and columnist, who currently serves as Senior Advisor to Global Zero, where he directs the Nuclear Crisis Group project. He served as special assistant to former U.S. President Barack Obama and as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. In his role, he was the most senior White House official, setting and implementing U.S. government policy on all aspects of arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear policy. Prior to that, he served as the deputy director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute for International Studies. Jon is a leading authority on the subjects of nuclear weapons policy, regional proliferation, arms control, and nuclear deterrence. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and op-eds, and also co-authored the book Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction with Joseph Cirincione. He has also appeared on or been quoted in some of the most leading domestic and international news media outlets.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • He was involved in almost every aspect of U.S. nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and security policy.

  • He helped negotiate and secure the ratification of the New START arms reduction agreement with the Russian Federation.

  • He supported the development of nuclear policy, including the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.



  • Jon served as the special adviser to the U.S. VP Joe Biden for nuclear security and nonproliferation and as director for nonproliferation on the National security Council.

  • He served in several capacities in the U.S. Department of Energy, including an on-the-ground assignment in North Korea during 1995-96.

  • He was the Deputy Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies.

  • His work has included extended assignments in Russia, North Korea and travel to Iran.