Joan Rohlfing

President and Chief Operating Officer, NTI

Joan Rohlfing became president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative in January 2010, after nine years as NTI's senior vice president for programs and operations. She is responsible for managing all NTI programs and operations, overseeing an annual operating budget of approximately $25 million.

She was part of the original team that created the mission and scope for NTI in 2000. Once the organization launched in 2001, she played strategic roles in several of NTI’s hallmark projects such as the formation of the World Institute for Nuclear Security, the creation of the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance and the Nuclear Security Project led by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn in their effort to galvanize global action to reduce urgent nuclear dangers and build support for reducing reliance on nuclear weapons, ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.

Rohlfing is a member of the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC) of the U.S. Department of Defense, and chair of the Directorate Advisory Committee (DAC) of the National Security Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). In 2012, 2014 and 2016, she served as an advisor to the Nuclear Industry Summit, a companion event to the global Nuclear Security Summits. 

Before joining NTI, she held senior positions with the U.S. Department of Energy, as senior advisor for national security to the Secretary of Energy and as director of the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security.  In 1998, when India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons, Rohlfing advised the U.S. ambassador to India on nuclear security issues. Earlier, she served on the staff of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and at the U.S. Department of Defense, office of Nuclear Forces Policy.

Rohlfing holds a master’s degree from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. She was awarded the Department of Defense Civilian Service Medal in 1989.  In 2011, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy gave her the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, citing her career in public service. Rohlfing is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.



NTI President Joan Rohlfing reflects on the beauty and the lessons of Hiroshima following her first visit to the city for a roundtable with experts on reducing nuclear risks in North Korea and reducing reliance on nuclear weapons globally.

Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities: Building an Effective Global Nuclear Security System

The Nuclear Threat Initiative has convened government officials, experts, representatives from international organizations, and industry leaders since 2012 to define what a truly comprehensive and effective global nuclear security system would look like and has developed related recommendations. This paper is the culmination of this work and lays out a vision for strengthening the global nuclear security system and the steps needed to achieve it, including after the summit process ends.

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