Joan Rohlfing became president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative in January 2010, after nine years as NTI’s senior vice president for programs and operations. She is responsible for managing all NTI programs and operations, overseeing an annual operating budget of $15-$20 million.
She was part of the original team that created the mission and scope for NTI in 2000. Once the organization launched in 2001, she played strategic roles in several of NTI’s hallmark projects such as the formation of the World Institute for Nuclear Security, the creation of the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance and the Nuclear Security Project led by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn in their effort to galvanize global action to reduce urgent nuclear dangers and build support for reducing reliance on nuclear weapons, ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.
Rohlfing is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee as well as the Directorate Advisory Committee of the National Security Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In 2012, 2014 and 2016, she served as an advisor to the Nuclear Industry Summit, a companion event to the global Nuclear Security Summits.
Before joining NTI, she held senior positions with the U.S. Department of Energy, as senior advisor for national security to the Secretary of Energy and as director of the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. In 1998, when India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons, Rohlfing advised the U.S. ambassador on nuclear security issues. Earlier, she served on the staff of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and at the U.S. Department of Defense.
Rohlfing holds a master’s degree from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. She was awarded the Department of Defense Civilian Service Medal in 1989. In 2011, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy gave her the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, citing her career in public service. Rohlfing is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.