President and Chief Operating Officer, NTI

Expertise Nuclear Terrorism, Nuclear Weapons Policy

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Joan Rohlfing is NTI’s president and chief operating officer. She provides overall leadership and guidance on NTI’s strategic priorities and direction, catalyzes new project activities and innovation work streams and is responsible for managing NTI’s day-to-day operations.

Rohlfing became president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) 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.

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.

Before joining NTI, she held senior positions with the U.S. Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration, as senior advisor for national security to the Secretary of Energy and as director of the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. In 1999-2000, after the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan, Rohlfing served at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India where she advised the ambassador on nuclear security issues. Earlier, she served as a professional staff member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. Rohlfing began her career in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where she was awarded a Presidential Management Internship and later worked in the office of Strategic 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 Gender Champion in Nuclear Policy and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


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