Elaine Bunn is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy (DASD/NMD) at the U.S. State Department, a position she held from 2013 to 2016. In this capacity, Ms. Bunn directed the offices of the Under Secretary for Policy that develop and review Departmental and National policies for nuclear and missile defense capabilities. These responsibilities include defining requirements for future capabilities, reviewing and adjusting operational planning, and leading discussions to develop strategies and options with allies and friends as well as international cooperation or agreements in the areas of nuclear forces, global strike and missile defense.

Prior to being appointed DASD/NMD, she was a Distinguished Research Fellow in the Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University’s (NDU) Institute for National Strategic Studies, where she headed a project on future strategic concepts. 

Before joining INSS in 2000, she was a senior executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), where she worked for 20 years in international security policy. She served as Principal Director, Nuclear Forces and Missile Defense Policy, from 1993-98. During that time, she was executive director of the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review. Her other assignments in OSD included the offices of Strategic Defense Policy, Strategic Arms Control Policy, and Theater Nuclear Forces Policy. She began her DoD career as a Presidential Management Intern in 1980-82, with a number of rotational tours, including at the State Department. 

She has published a number of articles and book chapters on deterrence, assurance of allies, strategic planning, nuclear policy, missile defense, and preemption, and has spoken frequently on these issues at U.S. and international conferences.