Trinity graduate Susan Flood Burk ’76 was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 1 to serve as Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador at the U.S. Department of State. She joins Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius ’70 in serving in the administration of President Barack Obama.
In nominating Burk in March, along with several other key nominations, President Obama said, “These individuals bring the breadth and depth of experience to do the important work of keeping America safe and secure and strengthening our economy. I am grateful for their decision to serve, and am confident that they will be valuable additions to my administration as we work to tackle the enormous challenges ahead of us.”
In her April 22 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, Burk said that “If confirmed, I will work with colleagues in the State Department and elsewhere in the government, as well as other NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) stakeholders, to lay the groundwork for a 2010 Review Conference that will reinforce the Treaty as an effective legal and political barrier to nuclear proliferation. We will strive for a recommitment by parties to the three pillars of the NPT. We will also seek a Conference that helps set a new course in the direction of the greater fulfillment of the vital objectives of the Treaty — stemming proliferation, working toward a world free of nuclear weapons, and sharing the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy for sustainable development.”
Prior to her confirmation, Burk served as the deputy coordinator for homeland security in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism at the U.S. Department of State where she has had responsibility for coordinating the department’s handling of cross-cutting policy issues related to homeland security and counter-terrorism. Previously, she was the Department of State’s principal deputy assistant secretary for nonproliferation controls in the Bureau of Nonproliferation where she led efforts to respond to and prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapons. She also served in various positions in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency where she focused on regional and functional nuclear nonproliferation issues. She led U.S. preparations for the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference. At Trinity, Burk majored in political science and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a master of arts in government from Georgetown University.
In addition to Burk and Sebelius, other Trinity graduates nominated to serve in the Obama administration include M. Patricia Smith ’74, who was nominated in March to be Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor (she is currently the commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor and co-chair of New York State’s Economic Security sub-cabinet) and Ellen Gloninger Murray ’70, who was nominated in May to be the Assistant Secretary for Resources and Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (she has served as staff director for the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies since 1999.)