News: Georgia Tech’s Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall Named Homeland Security Advisor

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

Posted January 14, 2021

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Ph.D., distinguished professor of the practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, has been selected to serve as the White House homeland security advisor by President-elect Joe Biden.

Sherwood-Randall previously held senior positions in the Clinton and Obama Administrations. In addition to her role in the Nunn School, she also is a senior energy-national security fellow at the Strategic Energy Institute.

The Biden transition team noted Sherwood-Randall is among a group of national security experts with impeccable credentials who will be counted on to “prepare for and respond to the full spectrum of threats we face — from cyber intrusions to grid attacks, from possible future pandemics to deliberate acts of terror.”

As the White House homeland security advisor, Sherwood-Randall will manage internal issues such as natural disasters, pandemics, and extremism, including the potential for future incidents such as the deadly incursion at the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

“We at the Nunn School are absolutely thrilled about Sherwood-Randall’s return to the senior ranks of government service—her professional calling,” said Adam Stulberg, Nunn School chair. “She not only helped to ground our teaching and outreach with rigorous strategic and policy analytical orientations, but she also provided a role model to our faculty and students about how to make practical contributions to national and international security policy. Although we will miss her as a colleague, we look forward to her return and the infusion of new insights into our future programming.”   

As a distinguished professor at the Nunn School, Sherwood-Randall taught classes that examined issues at the intersection of national energy security and sustainability and international conflict and cooperation. She also provided a steady slate of guest lectures on national security policymaking and energy diplomacy, mentored students on careers in government, and provided practical counsel on the design of new curricular initiatives at the Nunn School, including a pending joint graduate program for Nuclear and Radiological Engineering students.

Sherwood-Randall has a long track record of working in public service. From 2014 to 2017, she served as the deputy secretary of energy. She provided strategic direction to the agency’s broad and complex national security missions, environmental management, emergency preparedness, and innovation in science and energy. Before that appointment, she was special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2013, and White House coordinator for defense policy, countering weapons of mass destruction, and arms control from 2013-2014.  

In the ‘90s, Sherwood-Randall worked on cooperative threat reduction, an issue of particular interest to the School’s namesake Sen. Sam Nunn, to stem the “loose nukes” problem and re-formulate the strategic relationship with Russia and other successor states to the former Soviet Union.

The Nunn School is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

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