Richard A. Falkenrath, assistant professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), has been named special assistant to the president and senior director for policy and plans with the Office of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C.
Falkenrath, who is on academic leave from KSG, reports to Gov. Tom Ridge, director of the Office of Homeland Security. His responsibilities include drafting the national strategy for homeland security, developing the office’s budget proposals, coordinating the U.S. approach to improving the security of the nation’s borders, coasts, and airspace, and coordinating the international activities of the Office.
“I was honored to be asked by Gov. Ridge to take the new job,” Falkenrath said. “It is a tremendous challenge. I am going to do my best to rise to it.”
Falkenrath joined the new Office of Homeland Security from the National Security Council (NSC) staff, which he joined at the outset of the Bush administration. He was responsible at the NSC for coordinating U.S. policy on a wide range of nonproliferation and counterproliferation issues.
In 1999, Falkenrath co-founded the Kennedy School’s Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness. This project, which brings together experts with operational experience in diverse professional fields related to domestic preparedness for high consequence terrorism, continues today under the leadership of co-executive directors Arnold Howitt and Juliette Kayyem. Falkenrath’s most recent book is “America’s Achilles Heel: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack” (M.I.T. Press, 1998).
“Rich Falkenrath has been Harvard’s leader in working through the difficult problems of domestic preparedness for catastrophic terrorism,” said Ashton B. Carter, Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School. “There is no one better prepared to take on this duty at a time of urgent national need.”
Before joining the KSG faculty, Falkenrath worked as executive director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BSCIA) from 1995 to 1998, and as a postdoctoral research fellow in the center’s International Security Program from 1993 to 1995. In 1994, he was a visiting research fellow at the German Society of Foreign Affairs (DGAP) in Bonn, Germany. He is or has been a member of the director of Central Intelligence’s Nonproliferation Advisory Panel, the board of visitors of the National Emergency Management Institute, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Council on Germany, and the American Economic Association.
Falkenrath holds a Ph.D. in war studies from King’s College London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Occidental College, Los Angeles, with degrees in economics and international relations.