Tess Bridgeman

Tess Bridgeman


Not in residence

Research Interests

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


Tess Bridgeman is Co-Editor-in-Chief at Just Security and Senior Fellow and Visiting Scholar at NYU Law School’s Reiss Center on Law and Security, where she launched the War Powers Reporting Project in February 2020. She teaches cyber law and policy at Stanford University.

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 provided legal advice on the full range of issues relating to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. From 2014 to January 2017, among other Administration priorities, she worked on use of force; international humanitarian law; human rights law; counterterrorism; negotiation and implementation of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA); Middle East and North Africa policy (including the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya); foreign assistance programs; the UN and other multilateral bodies; sanctions (including cyber, Russia, Iran, and North Korea sanctions); 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 Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser. Prior to that role, she was an Attorney Adviser in the Office of Political-Military Affairs where she focused on armed conflict, related civil and criminal litigation, detention, and UN Security Council practice involving armed conflict, including representing the United States before human rights treaty bodies. Bridgeman clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and, earlier in her career, worked as a consultant for the World Bank Inspection Panel and co-founded a food security and community development organization in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

Bridgeman has a D.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar; a J.D. from NYU Law School, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, which she attended as a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar, Institute for International Law and Justice Scholar, and Harry S. Truman Scholar; and a B.A. with University Distinction and Departmental Honors from Stanford University. She is a lecturer in national security law at Berkeley Law, a Senior Adviser to National Security Action, and serves on the Board of the Women’s Foundation of California.

You can read some of Tess Bridgeman's recent publications, podcasts, and blog posts here: