Head shot of Bonnie Jenkins
Senior Fellow
Global Policy Area
Areas of Expertise
National security, global policy, global health threats, terrorism, arms control

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins has been nominated to be Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in the Biden administration. She is the founder and executive director of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 2017. Jenkins is currently the chair of the steering committee of the International Women’s Conference on Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction to Non-State Actors, and the chair of the Committee on Radioactive Sources: Applications and Alternative Technologies of the National Academies of Sciences.

She is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and a professorial lecturer at the George Washington Elliott School of International Affairs. She was also a visiting scholar at the School of Veterinary Sciences and the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. 

From 2009 to 2017, Jenkins was an ambassador at the U.S. Department of State, where she served as coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs (CTR) in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. In that role, Jenkins coordinated the Department of State’s programs and activities to prevent weapons of mass destruction terrorism with programs funded by other U.S. departments and agencies, and with similar programs funded by other countries.

She served as the U.S. representative to the 30-nation G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and chaired the Global Partnership in 2012. Jenkins was the Department of State’s lead to the four nuclear security summits that took place from 2010 to 2016. Jenkins also worked closely with several international organizations including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, INTERPOL, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the American Biological Safety Association, and the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit.

Jenkins was also part of the US government interagency team that established and launched the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the global effort to build country capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease. In addition to leading diplomatic efforts on the GHSA, she was the U.S. government lead in engaging the nongovernmental sector in furtherance of the GHSA. During this time, Jenkins established the GHSA Next Generation Network, the GHSA Consortium, led outreach efforts with the relevant philanthropic foundations, and assisted in the planning for the establishment of the GHSA Private Sector Roundtable. 

Jenkins was the U.S. Department of State International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau's nominee for the 2016 Secretary's Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs.

Prior to 2009, Jenkins served as program officer for U.S. Foreign and Security Policy at the Ford Foundation. She also served as counsel on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission). Jenkins was the lead staff member conducting research, interviews, and preparing commission reports on counterterrorism policies in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on U.S. military plans targeting al Qaeda before 9/11.

She served as general counsel to the U.S. Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and worked at Rand Corporation focusing on Middle East weapons of mass destruction issues.

Jenkins is a retired Naval Reserves Officer and received several awards for her service. She was a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University in both the International Security and Managing the Atom Programs. 

Jenkins holds a PhD in international relations from the University of Virginia; an LLM in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center; an MPA from the State University of New York at Albany; a JD from Albany Law School, and a BA from Amherst College. While at the University of Virginia, she was a Fellow at the Miller Center.