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Daniel  Poneman

Daniel Poneman

Former Deputy Secretary of Energy (2009-2014) & President and CEO of Centrus Energy Corp.


Daniel B. Poneman is president and chief executive officer of Centrus Energy Corp. He also serves on the company’s board of directors. From 2009 to 2014, Mr. Poneman was the Deputy Secretary of Energy, also serving as the chief operating officer of the U.S. Department of Energy. His responsibilities spanned the range of U.S. energy policies and programs – hydrocarbons, renewables, nuclear, and efficiency – including cybersecurity, project management, national security, and international cooperation. He was also responsible for the Department’s efforts on resilience and emergency response, in cases ranging from Fukushima to Hurricane Sandy. Between April 23, 2013, and May 21, 2013, Mr. Poneman served as Acting Secretary of Energy. Read More >

Prior to assuming his responsibilities as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Poneman served as a principal of the Scowcroft Group for eight years, providing strategic advice to corporations in a variety of strategic industries. In addition, for eight years he practiced law as a partner at Hogan & Hartson and an associate at Covington & Burling, advising clients on regulatory and policy matters.

In prior tours in government, Mr. Poneman served as a White House Fellow and as Director of Defense Policy and Arms Control for the National Security Council. From 1993 through 1996 he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Nonproliferation and Export Controls at the National Security Council. His responsibilities included the development and implementation of U.S. policy in such areas as peaceful nuclear cooperation, missile technology, space-launch activities, sanctions determinations, chemical and biological arms control efforts, and conventional arms transfer policy.

Mr. Poneman has published widely on national security issues and is the author of Nuclear Power in the Developing World and Argentina: Democracy on Trial. His third book, Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis (coauthored with Joel Wit and Robert Gallucci), received the 2005 Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy. Mr. Poneman is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Distinguished Fellow at the Paulson Institute, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

His fourth book, Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change, was released by the MIT Press in May 2019.

Mr. Poneman received A.B. and J.D. degrees with honors from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in Politics from Oxford University. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

The Changing Face of American Energy

At the beginning of the 20th Century, powered flight remained a dream, coal dominated fueled transportation and horses outnumbered automobiles in the United States by a factor of more than 2500 to one. No one could have imagined the extraordinary energy transformations that shaped the history of the last century. In 2015, we once again face a changing energy landscape, as traditional fossil fuels, nuclear, renewable power and efficiency all struggle for their place in the future, even as America’s aging infrastructure leave it increasingly vulnerable to hurricanes, droughts, and cyberattack. Our national security, prosperity and environment all hang in the balance as governments, investors, inventors and private citizens all hang in the balance. More than five years as Deputy Secretary of Energy gave Daniel Poneman unique insights which he will use to reflect on America’s energy present — and future.

Winning the Future: A New American Policy to Fight Nuclear Terrorism & Climate Change

Only two threats are jeopardizing the survival of our species: nuclear destruction and climate change. We are not doing enough to stop either of these existential threats, but we know how to do much more to stop both. What is needed is a coherent approach integrating both challenges in a sustainable bipartisan consensus. The greatest generation of Americans faced commensurate challenges in the Cold War and prevailed, while presiding over the greatest economic surge in American history. Daniel Poneman advises in this speech that our generation can and must do the same. 

Energy Security in a Changing World

Every US president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama deplored America’s excessive dependence on foreign oil and called for urgent action to promote energy independence. After two generations, American ingenuity and determination have now produced a prodigious outpouring of oil and natural gas that have transformed the United States into the number one hydrocarbon producer in the world. Learn from Daniel Poneman what this means for the security – and prosperity – for the US and its friends and allies around the world, and for our rivals and adversaries.

Flirting with Disaster: Confronting Cyberthugs, Superstorms & Other Threats to Our Critical Infrastructures

From Hurricane Sandy to cyberattacks on our financial institutions to physical assaults against electrical power substations across America, we are facing an unprecedented surge of threats to our critical infrastructures that threaten our safety, security and prosperity. Untold millions of secrets and billions of dollars have been stolen, and much greater damage could be inflicted. Daniel Poneman explains to audiences what Americans must do to protect their life and property in the face of spiraling threats of increasing scale and sophistication.