National Security Advisor of the United States, Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN
John R. Bolton currently serves as the 27th National Security Advisor of the United States. Previously, he was appointed as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations on August 1, 2005 and served until his resignation in December 2006. Prior to his appointment, Bolton served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from May 2001 to May 2005.
Throughout his distinguished career, Bolton has been a staunch defender of American interests. While Under Secretary, he repeatedly advocated tough measures against the nuclear weapons programs of both Iran and North Korea, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction generally. He led negotiations for America to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so that the Bush Administration could proceed with a national missile-defense program.
During his tenure at the United Nations, he was a leading voice on the need for the Security Council to take strong and meaningful action against international proliferation and terrorism. Along with France’s ambassador, Bolton led the Security Council to approve a unanimous resolution to end the summer 2006 Hezbollah war on Israel, to authorize U.N. peacekeepers and to create an arms embargo against Hezbollah. He also assembled an international coalition that blocked the bid of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s Marxist strongman, to join the Security Council.
Bolton was also an advocate for human rights while serving at the UN. He arranged the Security Council’s first deliberations on Burma’s human rights abuses. He invited actor George Clooney and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to brief the Security Council in September 2006 on the Khartoum regime’s mass-murder of non-Arabs in Darfur, Sudan. “Every day we delay only adds to the suffering of the Sudanese people and extends the genocide,” Bolton said. He engineered the Security Council’s approval of 22,500 U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur. Bolton worked to pressure Sudan’s government to accept these personnel atop the 7,000 African Union soldiers already on site.
Bolton has spent many years of his career in public service. Previous positions he has held include assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State, 1989-1993; assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, 1985-1989; assistant administrator for Program and Policy Coordination, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1982-1983 and general counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1981-1982.
Bolton is also an attorney. From 2008 until his appointment as National Security Advisor in 2018, he was of counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLC with a focus on counseling clients on domestic and international issues in complex corporate, litigation, internal investigations, regulatory and competition matters. From 1974-1981, he was an associate at the Washington office of Covington & Burling, where he returned as a partner in the firm from 1983-1985.
Bolton is the author of Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the U.N. and Abroad, published by Simon and Shuster (November 2007) and How Barack Obama is Endangering our National Sovereignty, published by Encounter Books (April 2010).
Bolton also previously served as a foreign policy senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a contributor to FOX News Channel and his op-ed articles are regularly featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Times. AEI is a nonprofit public policy center dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom through research education and open debate.
Bolton was born in Baltimore, MD. He graduated with a B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale University and received his J.D. in 1974. He currently resides in Maryland with his wife, Gretchen. They have one daughter, Jennifer Sarah, who received her MBA and SM degrees from MIT in 2014 and currently works in manufacturing in Mississippi.