Tess Bridgeman

Research Interests

International security; U.S. foreign policy; nonproliferation; international humanitarian law; foreign assistance; sanctions policy; global governance


Tess Bridgeman served as Special Assistant to President Obama, Associate Counsel to the President, and Deputy Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (NSC), where she covered the full range of issues relating to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. While there, among other Administration priorities, she worked on the negotiation, implementation, and oversight of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), Middle East policy, Cuba policy, U.S. foreign assistance programs, use of force and counterterrorism policy, intelligence matters, international economic policy and foreign investment, sanctions programs (including relating to Russia, Iran, and North Korea), and negotiation and interpretation of international agreements. Bridgeman previously served in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where she was Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser. Prior to that role, she served as an Attorney Adviser in the Office of Political-Military Affairs, focusing on armed conflict, detention issues, and the intersection of the law of armed conflict and human rights law. Bridgeman clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and served at the Senate Judiciary Committee. Earlier in her career, Bridgman worked as a consultant for the World Bank Inspection Panel, where she conducted the first comprehensive assessment of the World Bank’s community-driven accountability mechanism, and co-founded a food security and community development organization in Oaxaca, Mexico. 
A Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar, and Gardner Fellow, Bridgeman has a D.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University, where she focused on global governance and international institutions; a J.D. from NYU Law School, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, which she attended as a Root-Tilden-Kern and Institute for International Law and Justice Scholar; and a B.A. with University Distinction and Departmental Honors from Stanford University.
You can read some of Tess Bridgeman's recent blog posts in Just Security here: