Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor

Robert O’Brien

National Security Advisor

Robert Charles O’Brien, Jr. was born in June 1966 in Los Angeles, California. He received a B.A. in political science from the University of California Los Angeles, and a Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley School of Law. He won a scholarship to study at the University of the Free State in South Africa. He served as a Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve.

O’Brien served two years as a legal officer with the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, that dealt with claims resulting from Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990-91. He returned to Los Angeles and engaged in the private practice of law, with a great deal of focus on international political law.

He was nominated by President George W. Bush as the U.S. Alternate Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly. He served as co-chairman of the U.S. Department of State’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. President Bush later nominated him as a member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, for a three-year term that expired in April 2011. He returned to private practice.

He served the Trump Administration as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs and was given the rank of ambassador. He was appointed by President Trump in September 2019 to be the U.S. National Security Advisor. In that position, he also serves on the Coronavirus Task Force.

O’Brien is married to Lo-Mari O’Brien and they raised three children, one of whom died in an accidental drowning. Reared a Catholic, he converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his twenties.

In the News…

U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has assured the Philippines and Vietnam that Washington has their backs and would fight to keep the Indo-Pacific region free and open in view of continued maritime rows with China.

“Our message is we’re going to be here, we’ve got your back, and we’re not leaving,” he said. He was on a visit to the Philippines after concluding a trip to Vietnam.

“I think when we send that message—that peace-through-strength message—is the way to deter China. It is a way to ensure the peace,” O’Brien said.

Vietnam and the Philippines have been the most vocal regional opponents to what they see as Chinese overreach in the South China Sea and its disregard for boundaries outlined in international maritime law. China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam each claim parts of it.

“Those resources belong to the children and grandchildren of the people there,” O’Brien said. “They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines,” he said, adding, “That’s just wrong.”

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Mr. O’Brien today? You can let him know at:

Mr. Robert O’Brien
National Security Council
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500


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