Thomas "Tom" Pickering is a retired Foreign Service Officer, who held the highest personal rank of Career Ambassador, and the highest career post of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. He is now is Vice Chairman of Hills & Company, starting in 2006 after working as Senior Vice President International Relations for the Boeing Company on July 1, 2006, joining after his Foreign Service retirement in 2001.
He is a member of the advisory board of the Partnership for a Secure America. The American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with their 2008 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award; his ambassadorial tours were noted for encouraging scientific cooperation. 
In March 2009, he signed a letter of support for Chas Freeman's failed nomination as head of the National Intelligence Council. Testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, he called for a commission to investigate the treatment of post-9/11 detainees.
He rose to Undersecretary in 1997. In his career, he was U.S. Ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Department of State and Special Assistant to Secretaries William Rogers and Henry Kissinger.
From 1959 to 1961, he served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and from 1962 to 1964 in Geneva as political adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the 18-Nation Disarmament Conference.
In 1953, he received a bachelor's degree, cum laude, with high honors in history, from Bowdoin College In 1954, he received a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Melbourne in Australia, another master's degree in 1956. In 1984, he was awarded an honorary doctor-in-laws degree from Bowdoin College.
- Ambassador Thomas Pickering Wins 2008 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award, U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation, 23 February 2009
- Spencer Ackerman (8 March 2009), "Line Them Up", Wall Street Journal
- Testimony of Ambassador Thomas Pickering, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 4 March, 2009