James B. Steinberg is a Jewish American academic and political advisor and former Deputy Secretary of State under President Obama (from 2009 until 2011). In 2008 he was nominated by then President-elect Obama to be Deputy Secretary of State. He is also credited as one of the principal authors of President Obama's address on the Middle East to AIPAC in June 2008.
Steinberg became dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on January 1, 2006. Before joining the School, he was the vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. (2001-2005), where he supervised a wide-ranging research program on U.S. foreign policy.
From December 1996 to August 2000, he served as deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton and held a strong relationship with the pro-Israel community. During that period he also served as the president's personal representative (“Sherpa”) to the 1998 and 1999 G-8 summits. Prior to becoming deputy national security advisor, he served as chief of staff of the U.S. State Department and director of the State Department’s policy planning staff (1994-1996), and as deputy assistant secretary for analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994).
Steinberg has also been a senior analyst at RAND in Santa Monica, California (1989-1993), and a senior fellow for U.S. Strategic Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (1985-1987). He served as Senator Edward Kennedy's principal aide for the Senate Armed Services Committee (1983-1985); minority counsel, U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee (1981-1983); special assistant to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General (Civil Division) (1979-1980); law clerk to Judge David L. Bazelon, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1978-1979); and special assistant to the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1977).
Steinberg is a member of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, the President's Council on International Activities of Yale University, the board of directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the senior advisory council of The American Assembly’s Next Generation Project, the board of advisors of the Center for a New American Security, the board of advisors of The Yale Journal of International Law, and the editorial board of The Washington Quarterly. He also is a member of the D.C. Bar.
Steinberg is the author of and contributor to many books and articles on foreign policy and national security topics, including Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Power, Protecting the Homeland 2006/2007 and An Ever Closer Union: European Integration and Its Implications for the Future of U.S.-European Relations.
Steinberg received his B.A. from Harvard in 1973 and J.D. from Yale Law School in 1978. Steinberg was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1953. He is married to Ms. Sherburne B. Abbott, director of the Center for Science and Practice of Sustainability at the University of Texas at Austin. They have two daughters.