AS Countryman a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, rank of Minister-Counselor, has been serving as the Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation since 2011. The ISN Bureau leads the U.S. effort to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, their related materials, and their delivery systems.
AS Countryman brings to this position a very broad and relevant background. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis (summa cum laude) with a degree in economics and political science, he studied at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and joined the State Department in 1982. He served as a consular and political officer in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from 1983 to 1985 and, from 1985 to 1988, he worked in the Department’s Office of Eastern European and Yugoslav Affairs. From 1988 to 1990, he studied Arabic language and culture in the U.S. and Tunisia and then, during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he served as the Political-Military Officer at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. From 1991 to 1993, he was the senior officer for reporting on political, security, and religious affairs within Egypt.
In 1993 and 1994, AS Countryman worked in the State Department’s Office of Counter-Terrorism. From 1994-97, he was responsible for advising Ambassador Albright on Middle East affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and served as liaison with the UN Special Commission investigating Iraq’s weapons programs. In this position, he dealt not only with Iraq, but also with Libya, Sudan and Arab-Israeli issues.
From 1997 to 1998, AS Countryman served as Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, with responsibility for the region stretching from Morocco to Syria. As part of his position at the NSC, he served as the White House representative on Ambassador Dennis Ross’ peace process team. In 1998-1999, he participated in the Senior Seminar, the federal government’s most advanced professional development program for foreign affairs and national security officials.
From 1999 to 2001, AS Countryman was Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs (EUR/SCE) in the Department of State, where he focused on working with the democratic opposition in Serbia. From 2001 to 2005, he was the Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the American Embassy in Rome, Italy. After a short assignment as Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs in the Department, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Athens, Greece from 2005 to 2008. For a five-month period in 2007, he served as the Charge d’affaires of the Embassy. In 2008-9, he was the Foreign Policy Advisor to General James Conway, the Commandant of the US Marine Corps. He served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs in 2009-10, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs (with responsibility for Balkan affairs) in 2010-11.
The Department of State gave him the Superior Honor Award for each of his assignments at USUN, EUR/SCE, Rome and Athens and he received the Presidential Meritorious Service Citation for 2007.
Additional information about AS Countryman’s experience can be found here.
Additional information about the work of the ISN Bureau can be found here.