Who We Are

west thomasTom West

Associate Vice President

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Tom West joined The Cohen Group following ten years of service in the State Department and at the White House, working largely on South Asia and Middle East issues. He worked at the White House from 2012-2015, serving on the National Security Council as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and more recently as Special Advisor to Vice President Biden. At the NSC, Mr. West staffed President Obama's engagements with Afghan leaders, planned the January 2013 visit of then-President Karzai to Washington, and coordinated negotiations on the US-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement. He also helped frame the planning process and public roll-out for the post-2014 US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan. Mr. West advised the Vice President on the US direction in Iraq and Syria, in India following Prime Minister Modi's election, and in Afghanistan against the backdrop of the international community's withdrawal. Working with colleagues in New York, he helped organize the September 2014 Global Summit on Peacekeeping, which the Vice President convened. Mr. West served a concurrent stint as the NSC's Director for Yemen, including during the evacuation of US personnel from Sana'a.

From 2011-2012, Mr. West served as the State Department's senior diplomat in Kunar province, Afghanistan, where he managed the civilian staff of a US-led Provincial Reconstruction Team and directed local oversight of development and reconstruction projects. From 2008-2010, he was Special Assistant for South and Central Asia affairs to the State Department's Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Working with the US Congress, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and Indian counterparts in New Delhi, Tom and a team of State Department and White House officials completed the US-India Civil Nuclear Initiative. He also helped manage the US response to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and he planned and participated in the Obama Administration's first high-level visit to New Delhi in 2009. From 2005-2008, Mr. West served in a variety of Pakistan-focused positions at the State Department, including political officer in Islamabad and Karachi and Pakistan desk officer in Washington. Before joining the government as a Presidential Management Fellow, he interned at The Brookings Institution and at The Nixon Center.

Mr. West received a BA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University and an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He speaks French and Pashto. 

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