Brett McGurk, National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa

Brett McGurk 

National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa 

Brett H. McGurk was born in April 1973 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut Honors Program and received his Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. He served three clerkships: one at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; one at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and a third for Chief Justice William Rehnquist at the U.S. Supreme Court. Following his clerkships, he was briefly in private practice and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. 

He served as a legal adviser to both the Coalition Provisional Authority and the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad. He was transferred to the National Security Council, where he served as the Director for Iraq, and later as the Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan. He was retained during the transition from President Bush to President Obama, serving as a senior adviser to both the president and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. 

He served in the private sector as a Resident Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Policies and as an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

In 2013, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs for the State Department. In September 2014, then-Secretary John Kerry announced McGurk’s appointment as deputy senior envoy with the rank of ambassador to General John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.   A year later he was appointed ambassador. He became a lead negotiator on the Iran nuclear deal for the Obama administration. He resigned from his post in December 2018. 

A month later, he accepted a two-year appointment as a lecturer at Stanford University. 

President Joe Biden named McGurk to the National Security Council in January 2021. 

He is married to Gina Chon and has one daughter. 

In the News…

President Biden’s administration has attempted to restart the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord in 2019.  National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk, said he believes there is little chance of the two sides coming to a deal. 

Coordinator McGurk said he believes Iran wants the U.S. “to add something to the pot” for those who support a deal. But the U.S. is “not going to do that,” he told a group of think tank experts last week. 

The U.S. also intends to use sanctions against Iran but not in a way that would “needlessly escalate the situation,” Coordinator McGurk stated. 

Iran’s nuclear chief said last week that the country will keep the United Nations nuclear watchdog’s monitoring cameras turned off until the deal is restored. 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Mr. McGurk today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Brett McGurk 
Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa 
White House National Security Council 
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW 
Washington, DC 20500


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