Foreign Policy: Assessing Trends, Threats, and Opportunities
As a renowned national security and foreign affairs expert who has spent 35 years addressing the world’s most pressing global challenges, Liz provides a comprehensive look at the major trends and most significant threats facing the world today. Liz draws on extensive insider experience, having served earlier in her career at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and more recently at the White House National Security Council where she had responsibility for European Affairs and subsequently for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction and Arms Control. She brings her razor-sharp analysis to a broad range of top global threats, including nuclear proliferation, the major challenges we face to our prosperity and security if we allow other countries to surpass us technologically, cybersecurity risks, and what’s at stake with Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, China, India and beyond. With an uncanny ability to break down even the most complex and daunting issues so that they can be understood by a wider audience, Liz describes how we can leverage U.S. strengths through our unique network of alliances and make America stronger and more secure.
The Future of Energy: Opportunities and Risks
Drawing on her experience at the nexus of national security and energy policy as the Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Energy, Liz explains what lies ahead in the energy sector, highlighting both the immense opportunities that innovation and generating new technologies can present to American businesses and workers, as well as the challenges that come with our growing dependence on networked systems. Tracing the evolving definition of energy security, Liz shares frank analysis on what it takes to keep our electricity generation and distribution infrastructure safe, whether from cyber and physical attacks or the effects of severe weather and climate change.
STEM: Preparing Americans for the Jobs of Tomorrow
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) have emerged as the fundamental skills needed for careers in our changing economy. Having been a trailblazer in male-dominated fields, Liz became the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, which is a science, technology, and national security powerhouse. Liz can speak to community leaders as well as STEM practitioners and aspiring scientists about the importance of getting a STEM education—especially when it comes to opening doors for women and minorities. For business leaders, Liz describes the benefits of STEM investments as a pathway to keeping their competitive edge, attracting top innovators, and recruiting and retaining the talent that will power their futures.
Women in Leadership
Liz began her career on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon as one of very few women in national security. She has often been the only woman in the room, ranging from the Oval Office and White House Situation Room to chairing predominantly male corporate management entities as COO of the Department of Energy. In this most recent role, she often heard from employees at all levels who were excited to see a female leader succeed, and this feedback inspired an ongoing conversation about how to create more inclusive workplaces. She can speak to the importance of recruiting and mentoring the next generation of women leaders – particularly in traditionally male-dominated fields. In this discussion, Liz describes what it means to be an effective female leader and how organizations can and must foster growth opportunities for both women and men in order to achieve their goals.
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall in the News
Serving in top public sector positions, including as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Energy (2014-2017), White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control (2013-2014), Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs (2009-2013), and at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia (1994-1996), here is a sampling of ELIZABETH SHERWOOD-RANDALL's media appearances:
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall appointed Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center
Sought-out for her incomparable experience working on issues at the intersection of energy and national security, ELIZABETH SHERWOOD-RANDALL was appointed a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. Sherwood-Randall got her start at the Belfer Center in the 1990s, establishing two revolutionary projects: the Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project and Preventive Defense Project. Having since served in the Pentagon, at the White House, and as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, Sherwood-Randall returns to the Belfer Center to work on a wide range of pressing security and energy issues, such as research on cutting-edge technology needed for our nuclear strategy, ensuring a clean energy future, protecting energy systems from cyberattacks, and more. In an informative Q&A with the Belfer Center, Sherwood-Randall highlighted her work, the greatest challenges facing national security and energy systems, and what is needed to attract top young talent to crucial public service roles.
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall served as the Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Energy (DOE), from October 2014 to January 2017. In this capacity she was the Department’s chief operating officer, overseeing a budget of nearly $30 billion and a workforce of more than 113,000 people at the Department’s headquarters, National Laboratories, Power Marketing Administrations, and U.S. missions around the world. She provided strategic direction for DOE’s broad missions in nuclear deterrence and proliferation prevention, pioneering science and energy, environmental management, emergency response, and grid security. She also chaired all the major corporate management entities, including the Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board with oversight of all capital asset projects over $750 million in the largest civilian contracting agency in the Federal government; the Cyber Council that directed cybersecurity across the entire enterprise; the Credit Review Board for DOE’s $40 billion Loan Program; and the Emergency Incident Management Council. She also led strategic energy and economic dialogues with multiple foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Korea, Japan, China, and India, and she co-led a Presidential trade delegation to China that showcased American clean energy technologies.
While at DOE, Liz developed and implemented a new approach to fulfilling the agency’s growing responsibilities for national emergency response and grid resilience. She directed the expansion of collaboration with major U.S. utilities and power providers to generate technological solutions that deter, prevent, mitigate, and defend against emerging threats to the grid and expanded government-industry exercises to improve preparedness. An additional priority throughout her tenure was lifting up the work of career professionals and pursuing an enhanced diversity and inclusion effort to recruit and retain a workforce reflecting the full strengths of our Nation. She received the Exceptional Service Award from the Secretary of Energy at the conclusion of her tenure at DOE.
Sought-out for her incomparable experience working at the intersection of energy and national security, Liz was recently appointed a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. Before her work at the DOE, Liz served as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control from 2013 to 2014. In this role, she was responsible for U.S. defense strategy, policy, and budget planning, including implementation of new nuclear employment guidance and prevention of military sexual assault. In this capacity, she oversaw the Nuclear Security Summit of 2014 and the unprecedented removal of 1300 tons of lethal chemical weapons from Syria. From 2009 to 2013, she was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs on the White House National Security Council, where she led the revitalization of America’s alliances and partnerships in Europe to advance the U.S. global agenda.
During the Clinton Administration Liz served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. In this role, she developed and implemented regional security policy toward all the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, and established defense and military relationships with each of these states. She was charged by the Secretary of Defense with persuading three countries – Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus – to give up their nuclear weapons, which she led the effort to successfully accomplish. She was instrumental in extending NATO’s Partnership for Peace program across Eurasia and in building the foundation for cooperation between Russia and NATO in the joint peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. For her work at the Pentagon, she was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal by then–Secretary of Defense William Perry and, more recently, the Nunn-Lugar Trailblazer Award by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
Outside of government, Liz has also been an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Alliance Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, a founding principal of the Stanford-Harvard Preventive Defense Project, and a 2004 Carnegie Scholar. Her work focused on American national security challenges, including preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, defense leadership and management, and alliance politics. In 2007-08 she was a member of the Review Panel on Future Directions for Defense Threat Reduction Agency Missions and Capabilities to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. Earlier in her career, Liz was cofounder and associate director of Harvard University’s Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project at the Kennedy School of Government. Immediately following graduate school, she became chief foreign affairs and defense policy adviser to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Liz is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Council on Foreign Relations. She has served on the board of governors of the Commonwealth Club of California and on the Asia Society Policy Advisory Board.
Born and raised in California, Liz attended college at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude. She won a Rhodes Scholarship in 1981, and received her doctorate in International Relations at Balliol College, Oxford University. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Randall, a neurosurgeon and the founding partner of Pacific Brain and Spine Medical Group, and they have two sons.