Mark Lippert

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Mark Lippert is Chief of Staff of the National Security Council supporting organization in the Obama administration, with the personal title, unusually high for the job, of Deputy Assistant to the President. He reports to Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs James Jones.

He was on Obama's Senate and Presidential campaign staff, but is also a United States Navy Reserve officer who deployed in the Iraq War during the campaign.


Obama Senate & campaign staff

Coming from Obama's Senate staff, he was the first foreign policy adviser in the Obama campaign, but had to leave in mid-campaign to deploy to Iraq as a U. S. Navy intelligence officer. Even though he was in combat, he has called for a withdrawal of troops. [1] "It changes you. The place, the deployment changes you. To what extent and how, I'm still working through that," Lippert said in July 2008.[2] He returned to the U.S. in November.

When Obama was elected to the Senate in 2004 and nabbed a spot on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, becoming personally close close and traveled the globe together – to Russia on a weapons-inspection trip and in January 2006 to Iraq. On their trips, they would play basketball together. They even occasionally shared their size 13 shoes.[1]

Response to 9-11 Attack

He joined the Navy Reserves after the attack. He was commissioned in Jan. 2005, serving one weekend a month at the Office of Naval Intelligence.[3]

Education and early career

He first was on the staff of Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California (U.S. state)) and Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota ) before moving to become an aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) on the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.

He grew up in Cincinnati and watched many of his mother’s relatives serve in the military. He thought about enrolling in Officer Candidate School, but instead earned a master’s in international relations from Stanford University before moving to Washington to become a Hill staffer.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Profile: Mark Lippert,, a Washington Post company
  2. Wolffe, Richard, "The Aide Who Went To War," Newsweek, July 28, 2008
  3. Langley, Monica, "From the Campaign to the Battlefront," Wall Street Journal, Sept. 22, 2007