Ellen Tauscher is the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in the Obama administration, having been sworn in on 27 June 2009; she also newly married and commented she had to say "I do" twice on the same day. Previously, she was a member of Congress, representing a San Francisco suburb containing major defense installations, and had been chair of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces of the House Committee on Armed Services.
Four weeks after taking office, she addressed the United States Strategic Command, speaking of priorities, in the context of Barack Obama's observation that "twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the chances of a nuclear detonation somewhere in the world have increased. Even as the United States and Russia have taken steps to reduce our nuclear stockpiles, other countries continue to pursue and expand their nuclear capabilities. Terrorists want these weapons, too." Ambassador Sergei Kislyak of the Russian Federation was with her. She described details of the Administration's agenda as including:
- Rid the world of nuclear weapons, no matter how hard it might be or how long it might take for the conditions to take hold.
- Create updated nuclear posture where the role, size, and composition of our nuclear stockpile more accurately reflect the threat environment we face today and in the future. The Nuclear Posture Review is the internal process to address the details.
- START follow-on treaty; the current one will expire on December 5. "President Obama and Russian President Medvedev agreed that missile defenses will not be part of these negotiations, even while recognizing that there is an inherent link between offenses and defenses, something first recognized by the Nixon administration in 1972. The New START Treaty is about offensive arms."
- Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. "Simply put, the world has changed, technology has changed and circumstances have changed since 1999. We are better able to detect cheating and ensure confidence in the reliability of the U.S. stockpile without testing."
- Achieve a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty
- ensure that the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference next year is a success
She had represented California’s 10th Congressional District for 13 years, which includes two national defense laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia California, Camp Parks Army Reserve facility and Travis Air Force Base, home of the 60th Air Mobility Wing.
She also chaired the New Democrat Coalition, a group of more than 60 centrist House Democrats.
Before winning a seat in Congress, Under Secretary Tauscher spent 14 years working on Wall Street. She was one of the first women to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and later served as an officer of the American Stock Exchange.
Under Secretary Tauscher graduated from Seton Hall University.
- Ellen Tauscher (30 July 2009), Remarks to U.S. Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium, United States Strategic Command