Ambassador Douglas Lute, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is the former United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s standing political body. Appointed by President Obama, he assumed the Brussels-based post in 2013 and served until 2017. During this period he was instrumental in designing and implementing the 28-nation Alliance’s responses to the most severe security challenges in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
A career Army officer, in 2010, General Lute retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service. In 2007, President Bush named him as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to coordinate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, he was the senior White House official retained by President Obama and his focus on the National Security Council staff shifted to South Asia. Across these two Administrations, he served a total of six years in the White House.
Before being assigned to the White House, General Lute served as Director of Operations (J3) on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide. From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Operations for the United States Central Command, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in 25 countries across the Middle East, eastern Africa and Central Asia, in which over 200,000 U.S. troops operated.
Through his military-diplomatic career he has received numerous honors and awards, including three awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit for the Italian Republic, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany.
General Lute holds degrees from the United States Military Academy at West Point and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a charter member of the Flag Officer Advisory Group of the United States Institute of Peace, and President of Cambridge Global Advisors.