The Obama National Security Council has a new director for WMD terrorism and threat reduction in Laura Holgate, a vice president at the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a private nonprofit outfit, chaired by former Senator Sam Nunn and funded by the likes of Ted Turner and Warren Buffett, that has done yeoman's work in helping the federal government address the WMD threat. Holgate, who has already started at the White House, is plenty qualified for the job: Before joining NTI in 2001, she managed the Pentagon's Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, and ran the Energy Department's Office of Fissile Materials Disposition. She'll work under Obama's WMD czar (and terrorism survivor) Gary Samore.
Holgate, incidentally, is the third NTI official to join the Obama team, following Brooke Anderson, who is chief of staff to UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and Peggy Hamburg, who is now Food and Drug Administration commissioner.
As for Nunn, he's had an important influence on Obama's thinking dating back to the 2008 campaign. Nunn's 2007 call--along with Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and William Perry--for a nuclear-free world helped lend Obama political cover for his denuclearization agenda, which Obama outlined in Prague this past April, and which informs his nonproliferation policies from Iran to North Korea. Nunn, Shultz, Perry and Kissinger discussed the subject with Obama in the Oval Office on May 19, and I'm told that Nunn continues to advise the Obama team on these issues informally.