- Called the “the best foreign policy job in government,” the NSA serves as the top aide to the president on national security and foreign policy. The NSA is generally a low-profile, high-influence position that plays a foundational role in the National Security Council (NSC).
- Created in 1947 at the onset of the Cold War, the NSC is chaired by the president and is often attended by the vice president, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of Defense and a host of other senior officials. Under law, the NSC coordinates issues of national security and foreign policy among the key national security departments and agencies, including State, Defense, Homeland Security, and the CIA.
- Send Iran a clear message about returning five jailed U.S. citizens.
- Impose some measure of cost to those responsible for the lethal violence against the peaceful, anti-coup protesters in Myanmar following the February 1 military takeover, which deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
- Prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Promotes Biden’s “no-nonsense” diplomacy as the best means for achieving that end.
- Break down the silos between foreign policy and domestic policy issues.
- Make public health a priority within the NSC.
- Invite the World Health Organization to lead an international investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic, which he views as the greatest threat to national security.
- Collaborate with the Intelligence Community to establish parameters that protect the U.S. against cyberattack.
- Establish some basis of cooperation between the U.S. and China. Sees diplomacy as a vital component of defense.
- “The agenda that we’re bringing forward, under the leadership and direction of President Biden is an agenda of building a stronger, more dynamic, fair, more inclusive nation. In doing so, we are going to be able to compete, and out-compete everyone, including China. That’s the strategy we’re bringing.” – The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy speech at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota on Nov. 25, 2020.
Areas of Expertise
- Described by Hillary Clinton as a “cool headed, clear-eyed analyst,” the 45-year-old Sullivan is considered a strategic thinker with real-world foreign policy experience.
Career in Politics/Government
- Senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential bid. Helped craft both her foreign and domestic policy.
- Top security aide to Vice President Joe Biden (2013) after Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State. Helped shape U.S. foreign policy toward Libya, Syria, and Myanmar.
- Deputy policy director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign. Followed her to the State Department in 2009 as part of the Obama Administration. Served as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and later as director of policy planning, accompanying her to 112 countries. Helped set the stage for the Iran nuclear agreement following several secret meetings with Iranian officials.
- Senior policy advisor and chief counsel for Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2006.
- Clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
- Dartmouth College (2019-2020.)
- John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding (2019).
- The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (nonresident senior fellow); the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire (senior fellow and faculty member); Yale Law School (visiting lecturer, 2014); and St. Thomas Law School, MN.
Private Law Practice
- Following his campaign work with Clinton, Sullivan joined Macro Advisory Partners in 2017, a New York/London-based risk advisory company formed in 2013. Advised rideshare companies Lyft and Uber in their negotiations with labor unions.
- Associate with Faegre & Benson, a law firm in Minneapolis.
- Born November 28, 1976, in Burlington, Vt. Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan grew up in Minneapolis, Minn. His father worked for the large media company, the Star Tribune, and taught at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication. His mother was a high school guidance counselor. Four siblings.
- Sullivan set his sights on government early on. Elected student council president of Southwest High School. Voted by classmates as most likely to succeed.
- Yale University (BA, JD – 1998 & 2003). Editor, Yale Law Journal & Yale Daily News.
- Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford. Managing editor of the Oxford International
Review. Graduated in 2000 with a master’s degree.
- Married (2015) to Margaret Goodlander—a lawyer and adjunct professor of constitutional and administrative law at University of New Hampshire Law School. She worked in legal and policy positions in government and in Congress, and was an advisor to senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain. Also served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment and Senate trial of former President Donald Trump.
- Sullivan co-founded the National Security Action organization (2018) along with Ben Rhodes, former national security advisor in the Obama White House. The D.C-based, left-leaning advocacy group gives Democratic candidates running for office the legal expertise and talking points that best reflect the Obama administration’s foreign policy.
- No stranger to the strategies of political debates, Sullivan began garnering top awards in college debate forums. He helped prepare former President Obama for his political campaigns and later, Hillary Clinton.