Ms. Rebecca K.C. Hersman was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense in March 2009. In this role she is responsible for establishing policies and guidance to protect US and Allied war fighters against a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attack from a state actor or terrorist. Ms. Hersman also represents the Department’s interests on counter proliferation and non-proliferation policy issues, including the Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
Ms. Hersman was a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University from 1998-2009. Her primary projects have been the role of the Department of Defense in mitigating the effects of chemical and biological weapons attack both in the United States and against US interests abroad, concepts and strategies for eliminating an adversary's WMD programs, as well as proliferation issues facing the Department of Defense and US government more generally. Ms. Hersman also directed the WMD Center’s Program for Emerging Leaders, an initiative designed to shape and support the next generation of leaders from across the US government with interest in countering weapons of mass destruction. Prior to her service at National Defense University, Ms. Hersman held positions as an International Affairs Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and a member of the professional staff of the House Armed Services Committee.
She completed her undergraduate study at Duke University, received her Master's Degree from Georgetown University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of Friends and Foes: How Congress and the President Really Make Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2000), as well as several other publications on consequence management, WMD elimination and other proliferation topics.