Eric Edelman

Practitioner Senior Fellow

Fast Facts

  • Career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service
  • Undersecretary of defense for policy in the George W. Bush Administration
  • Ambassador to Finland and Turkey
  • Recipient of Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
  • Expertise on defense policy, nuclear policy and proliferation, diplomacy

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism

Eric Edelman, practitioner senior fellow, retired as a career minister from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2009, after having served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House. As the undersecretary of defense for policy (2005-2009), he oversaw strategy development as the Defense Department’s senior policy official with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. Edelman served as U.S. ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations and was principal deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for national security affairs. Edelman has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. In January of 2011 he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government. In 2016, he served as the James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center.

Eric Edelman News Feed

UVA Today asked Eric Edelman, a practitioner senior fellow at the Miller Center, to explain how the alliance works and what effect including Sweden and Finland would have. Edelman is retired from the U.S. Foreign Service, having served in senior positions at the Department of State, Department of Defense and the White House. He is a former ambassador to Finland and Turkey.
Eric Edelman UVA Today
Eric and Eliot welcome Guardian columnist and Spectator blogger Nick Cohen (no relation to Eliot) and author of the several books including What’s Left? They discuss the impact of Putin’s war on Ukraine on European politics, the role of anti-Communism and anti-Fascism in post-war Europe, the transformation of the Labour Party under Keir Starmer, why Russian money in London was unable to purchase durable policy outcomes from the Conservative government under Boris Johnson, the prospects for democratic politics, and the likely outcome of the war in Ukraine.
Eric Edelman Shield of the Republic Podcast
Voltaire reportedly once remarked “Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies.” This thought immediately came to mind as we read a recent commentary in Defense One recommending dramatic increases to America’s military stocks for the next five years, and the cost of its nuclear weapons. In “Four Lessons Should Upend Pentagon’s Five-Year Strategy,” John Ferrari, now a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, raises concerns about a deficit in War Reserve Munitions. His thinking about a possible war in this decade and the effects of inflation on the defense budget are spot-on. We would be the first to agree that that Defense Department topline needs something like 5 percent real annual growth to keep pace with the unprecedented national security challenges facing the nation. But the call to increase defense spending for conventional capabilities at the expense of modernizing our nuclear forces could not be more wrong. Spending increases for both are necessary.
Eric Edelman Defense One
Why Erdoğan suddenly has a problem with Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
The Dispatch
On the other hand, Eric S. Edelman , who worked as the US ambassador to Finland from 1998 to 2001, is more pessimistic. Finland's membership hardly faces much opposition, but the problem, he said, is finding time in the Senate calendar. There are a lot of domestic issues on the surface and the by-elections are approaching. In the US Senate, things can never be predicted to happen quickly. But I think it’s going to happen this year, Edelman says. He believes ratification will drag on for the fall, between October and December.
Eric Edelman MTV (Finland)
After months of anticipation, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Thursday their country’s intention to apply for membership in NATO, and neighboring Sweden is not far behind. In polling last fall, only about a fifth to a quarter of Finns and Swedes supported their respective countries joining NATO. After Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked, and highly scripted invasion of Ukraine on February 24, there has been a massive movement of public opinion towards joining the alliance. In Finland, the numbers supporting membership jumped to 53 percent, then 62 percent, and a poll earlier this week measured 76 percent support with only 12 percent in opposition. The swing in Swedish opinion has been less dramatic, but still emphatically shows a majority (57 percent in April) supporting NATO membership for the first time.
Eric Edelman The Bulwark