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R. David Edelman

Special Assistant to the President for Economic & Technology Policy, National Economic Council | The White House

R. David Edelman is Special Assistant to the President for Economic & Technology Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC). Over four years at the White House and in prior roles throughout the federal government, Dr. Edelman has been at the forefront of technology policy as a practitioner, strategic advisor, public spokesman, and senior executive.

At the NEC, Dr. Edelman is responsible for government-wide policy development and implementation across a range of issues in the digital economy, including broadband competition and access, consumer financial protection, high-tech intellectual property, Internet governance, and data privacy. He previously served as Senior Advisor for Internet Policy in both the NEC and the Office of Science & Technology (OSTP). Until 2012, he served as the first Director for International Cyber Policy at the National Security Council (NSC), where he managed issues at the intersection of technology, national security, and foreign policy – particularly cybersecurity. When appointed in 2010, he was the youngest Director ever to serve on the NSC.

Domestically, he was the chief architect and government lead on President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, a $10 billion public-private effort to transform U.S. schools by connecting them to high-speed broadband and personalized learning technology. Recently, he co-authored the 2014 report to the President on Big Data, and now leads White House efforts to implement its recommendations — including legislative initiatives on privacy and new programs using data science insights to reduce discrimination, improve access to credit, and increase employment. Previously in this role, he supervised NEC’s review of multi-billion dollar patent infringement and trade cases, and led the White House’s initiative to legalize cell phone unlocking, the implementing legislation for which the President signed into law in August 2014.

In foreign policy, he was chief author of President Obama’s International Strategy for Cyberspace, the U.S. Government’s principal guidance for Internet issues within foreign policy. Dubbed the nation’s “chief cyber diplomat,” he also led the regularization of U.S.-Brazil dialogue on Internet and cybersecurity policy issues; orchestrated the re-start of bilateral engagement with the Government of India after nearly a decadelong hiatus; coordinated the negotiation and successful deployment of a “red phone” between Kremlin and White House on cyber crises; and developed a new sanctions regime targeting technology-enabled human rights abusers.

Prior to his time at the White House, he served at the State Department’s Office of Cyber Affairs where, as Policy Advisor, he helped develop the U.S. government’s early diplomatic strategy and international legal doctrine on cyber issues. While at the State Department, he also served as a subject-matter speechwriter for senior Department officials, including Secretary Clinton and Deputy Secretary Steinberg. He also previously served as the United States’ lead negotiator on Internet issues at the United Nations, covering a range of cybersecurity, Internet governance, broadband access, and free expression issues. He began his career as a foreign affairs analyst specializing in Northeast Asia, with a focus on technology issues in China and the Koreas.

Dr. Edelman received his Bachelor’s degree (with honors) in History from Yale University, and his Master’s and Doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University in the UK, where he was a Clarendon Scholar.