New America Welcomes Sharon E. Burke as Senior Advisor to International Security Program

Press Release
May 8, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC— New America is pleased to announce that Sharon E. Burke will join its International Security Program as a Senior Advisor, starting May 12, 2014. An international security and energy security specialist, Burke will focus on the geopolitics of energy and the security implications of climate change and other natural resources challenges. She will also contribute to the Future of War project.

"I could not be happier to welcome Sharon to New America,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America. “Her blend of expertise and experience in energy, security and defense policy, climate change, and the Middle East is exactly the kind of cross-cutting, innovative thinking that New America prizes."

"Sharon Burke is at the forefront of thinking about how to incorporate concerns about energy security and climate change into U.S. national security thinking,” said Peter Bergen, Director of New America’s International Security Program. “When she was serving at the Pentagon she also inserted that thinking into policies that made a difference, helping to create a more effective Defense Department, which is the single largest consumer of oil in the States. We are very excited to welcome such an important thought leader and leading policy maker on energy security into the New America community."

"My time in the Pentagon left me with many hard questions about energy and national security, and New America is the perfect place to look for novel answers,” said Burke. “I'm delighted to be joining this community of innovative thinkers and great writers, under the dynamic leadership of Anne-Marie Slaughter."

Burke most recently served as the inaugural Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, a position she was sworn into on June 25, 2010. As the Assistant Secretary, Ms. Burke served as the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on operational energy security.

Prior to her appointment at the Department of Defense, Ms. Burke was a Vice President and Senior Fellow at the non-partisan and independent Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a defense policy think tank. At CNAS, Ms. Burke directed research on energy security and initiated the Natural Security Program, which looked at the national security implications of global natural resources challenges.

Ms. Burke has extensive previous U.S. government service. She served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State, a Country Director in the Department of Defense's Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, and a speechwriter to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Secretary of Defense William Cohen. She started her career in the Energy and Materials program of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, contributing to a multi-year study of energy in developing countries.

Ms. Burke graduated from Williams College and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, where she focused on international energy policy and earned a Certificate of Middle Eastern Studies. At Columbia, she also was a Zuckerman Fellow, an International Fellow, and a recipient of a Foreign Language and Areas Studies grant for Arabic.