Walter Slocombe

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Walter B. Slocombe is a member of the Washington, DC, law firm of Caplin & Drysdale. He is Secretary, a director, and member of the Executive Committee of the Atlantic Council. He is Senior Advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council for Germany, of the International Advisory Council of the Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces, and is on the Advisory Board of Our Military Kids, an organization that supports educational and recreational opportunities for the children of the South Africa Environmental Project.

Policy advice post-Iraq

In July 2004, President Bush appointed him to the “Silberman-Robb” Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He was, from 2002 to 2004 (except during his service in Iraq), a member of the US Department of Defense Policy Board.[1]


He was, from May to November 2003, Senior Advisor and Director for Security Affairs (National Security and Defense) in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) for Iraq. During his service in Iraq, he was on leave from his position at Caplin & Drysdale, to which he returned in March 2004.

One of his major roles was to consult with American officials in Washington and build a policy about what to do about a new Iraqi army; he is considered to have made the decision, within CPA, that the old Army could not be reconstituted. L. Paul Bremer said his "consultations with American officials in Washington and Baghdad showed that they understood that the only viable course was to build a new, professional force open to screened members of the old army. Slocombe drafted an order to accomplish these objectives. I sent a preliminary draft of this order to the secretary of defense on May 9...subsequently [he] received detailed comments on the draft order incorporating the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, making clear that the top civilian and military staff in the Pentagon, as well as the commanders in the field, had reviewed the proposal."[2]

After leaving CPA, he said that the suicide bombings in Iraq were not being caused by Iran or Syria, but by foreign non-national terrorists. [3]

Defense Department

He served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from September 1994 to January 2001. Prior to becoming Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, he was Principal Deputy Under Secretary from June 1993, and, pending confirmation for that post, a consultant to Secretary of Defense Aspin from January 1993. In earlier DOD service, he had been Deputy Under Secretary for Policy Planning from November 1979 to January 1981 and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs from January 1977 to November 1979. In both jobs, he served concurrently as Director of the DOD Task Force on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT).


Following his service as Under Secretary he returned to Caplin & Drysdale, where he had been an associate from 1971 to 1974 and partner from 1974 to 1977 and 1981 until 1993. At the firm, his practice has been primarily in the fields of bankruptcy litigation, defense trade, tax litigation, and tax-exempt organizations.

Education and early career

  • Princeton University (A.B. 1963, summa cum laude). From 1963 to 1965 he was a
  • Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (1963-1965) where he did graduate research on Soviet politics
  • Harvard Law School (L.L.B. 1968, summa cum laude) where he was Note Editor of the Law Review. *Clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas in the October 1968 Term.
  • Following a brief period as a Special Assistant in the Office of Economic Opportunity Legal Services Office, he served on the National Security Council staff in 1969 and 1970, working on strategic arms control, nuclear issues and intelligence analysis policy.


  1. Secretary Walter B. Slocombe, Atlantic Council
  2. L. Paul Bremer (10 September 2007), "Bremer On Dismantling Saddam's Army", APS Diplomat Strategic Balance in the Middle East
  3. "Iran, Syria Not Promoting Terrorism, says Former US Official", Voice of America, 3 December 2003