As Vice President for Geostrategic Risk at the Institute for Security and Technology (IST), Ben Purser leads efforts to improve public-private sector alignment on technology policy, particularly with respect to China. Ben joins IST after almost 2 years at Meta, where he worked on the Strategic Response team under the leadership of Sheryl Sandberg and led forward-looking public policy programs on Nick Clegg’s team.
A public servant for over 15 years, Ben comes to IST having most recently served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (DAS) in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Prior to that, he served as a DAS in the Bureau for International Security and Nonproliferation. While at State, he also served as the Chief Coordinator for Sanctions and Denuclearization on the Secretary’s Working Group for North Korea, during which time he joined negotiations in Pyongyang, and as the Senior Advisor for Competitive Strategy to the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security.
Before his time at State, Ben led the Europe and Eurasia team for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2015 to 2018. He initially entered public service in response to 9/11, leaving a management position in a consulting firm in China to become an intelligence officer in the United States Navy from 2002 to 2011. He has also worked for both the U.S. Naval War College and AmeriCorps, where he served as a member of the Veteran Leader Corps.
Beyond public service, Ben has worked for both the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and the RAND Corporation. Ben earned a B.A. in political science and international relations, cum laude, at Carleton College, a masters in National Security & Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College (Fleet Seminar Program), and both a master’s and a doctorate in political science (international relations and public policy) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Additionally, Dr. Purser is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins SAIS — Nanjing University Center.