Thomas Countryman was chosen in October 2017 to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association. He retired from the Senior Foreign Service in January 2017 after thirty-five years of service. At that time, he served simultaneously as acting Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security and as Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, a position he held since September 2011. Previously he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs (2009-10) and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs (2010-11), with responsibility for the Balkans region.
Mr. Countryman served at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade (1983-85), and in Washington as the desk officer for Yugoslavia (1986) and for Bulgaria/Albania (1987-88). After an assignment to Cairo, he was responsible for advising Ambassador Albright on Middle East affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (1994-97), and served as liaison with the UN Special Commission investigating Iraq’s weapons programs. Mr. Countryman served as Director for Near East affairs on the National Security Council staff (1997-98) and was the White House representative on Ambassador Dennis Ross’ peace process team. He was Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs (1999-2001) and Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rome (2001-05). He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Athens (2005-08), including five months Chargé d´Affaires in 2007. In 2008-2009, he was Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James Conway. He received several Superior Honor Awards for his work and in 2007 received the Presidential Meritorious Service award.
Mr. Countryman graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (summa cum laude) with a degree in economics and political science, and studied at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His foreign languages are Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, German, Italian and Greek.