Three Nuclear Threat Initiative officials now in Obama administration

By Maria Saporta

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), founded by Atlantan Ted Turner and managed by former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Georgia) has developed unique ties with the Obama administration.

Three of the top officials within NTI have moed into senior-level positions in the Obama administration. They include:

Laura Holgate, NTI’s vice president for Russia and New Independent States for the past eight years, is serving as senior director of WMD Terrorism and Thtreat Reducation at the National Security Council. She will coordinate policies and programs related to reducing global threats associated with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons;

Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg, who previously served as NTI’s vice president for biological programs and later as senior scientist for NTI’s Global Health and Security Initiative, is the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. She joined NTI in 2001; and

Brooke Anderson is now the chief of staff and counselor at the United States Mission to the United Nations. Anderson joined NTI in 2001 as vice president for communications.

For new members also have jointed the NTI team, partly to replace the officials who have left. They include:

Dr. David Heymann, formerly assistant director general for health security and administration at the World Health Organization. He will be NTI’s new special advisor for health security;

Mark Kitchens is replacing Anderson as NTI’s chief communications officer. Before joining NTI, Kitchens was senior vice president for communications and strategy at AARP;

Bryan Wilkes, is also a new member of the communications team as director of programs and outreach. Wilkes spent six-and-a-half years as director of public affairs at the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration; and

Deborah Rosenblum is joining NTI as senior director for strategic plans and operations. Before coming to NTI, Rosenblum has been vice president of the Cohen Group, an international strategic consulting group. Previously, she served as a senior executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for 14 years.

In a statement, NTI co-chairman and CEO Sam Nunn, said: “While I am sorry to lose such talented experts as Laura Holgate, Peggy Hamburg and Brooke Anderson, I believe that our nation will benefit greatly from their service and am pleased that they will continue to work to strengthen U.S. national security and public health.”

Turner and Nunn founded NTI nine years ago as a foundation aimed at reducing the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. It is based in Washington D.C.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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