Rebecca Hersman is the director of the Project on Nuclear Issues and senior adviser for the International Security Program. Ms. Hersman joined CSIS in April 2015 from the Department of Defense (DOD), where she served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) since 2009. In this capacity, she led DOD policy and strategy to prevent WMD proliferation and use, reduce and eliminate WMD risks and respond to WMD dangers. Ms. Hersman was a key leader on issues ranging from the nuclear security summit to the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons to the global health security agenda. She served as DOD’s principal policy advocate on issues pertaining to the Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Prior to joining DOD, Ms. Hersman was a senior research fellow with the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University from 1998 to 2009. Her primary projects focused on the role of DOD in mitigating the effects of chemical and biological weapons attack, concepts and strategies for eliminating an adversary’s WMD programs, as well as proliferation issues facing the United States. Ms. Hersman also founded and directed the WMD Center’s Program for Emerging Leaders, an initiative designed to shape and support the next generation of leaders from across the U.S. government with interest in countering weapons of mass destruction. Ms. Hersman previously held positions as an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for policy, and a member of the House Armed Services Committee professional staff. She holds an M.A. in Arab studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Duke University.
Sarah Minot is the program manager and research associate with the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at CSIS. She is responsible for leading PONI’s many programs and initiatives, including the yearly conference series, the Nuclear Scholars Initiative, PONI speaker series, and PONI Live Debates. She also serves as the lead editor for PONI’s print publications. She holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the College of Wooster.
Will Pittinos is a program coordinator and research associate with the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at CSIS. He also serves on the editorial board for New Perspectives in Foreign Policy. Prior to joining CSIS, he served as a leader in digital communications and as a copy editor at the Miami Herald. He holds an M.A. in U.S. foreign policy from American University and a B.A. in English and Spanish from Lake Forest College.
Shanelle Van is a research assistant with the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at CSIS. She graduated with a B.A. in public policy and a minor in economics from Duke University, where she focused on nuclear nonproliferation, missile defense, and U.S. security alliances with East Asian countries.