R. Clarke Cooper is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and is founder of Guard Hill House, LLC, a national security, and sustainable infrastructure consultancy.

Cooper has over two decades of experience in diplomatic, intelligence, and military roles. He served as US assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs from 2019 to 2021, where he led a global enterprise of six hundred personnel, and on an annual basis oversaw $170 billion in arms sales and $16 billion in security assistance. In 2021, he received the Superior Honor Award for coordination and implementation of the security cooperation elements of the Abraham Accords in support of the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the Kingdom of Morocco normalizing relations with the State of Israel.  

In previous diplomatic posts, Cooper served as US alternate representative to the United Nations Security Council, US delegate to the United Nations Administrative and Budgetary Committee, senior advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and advisor at the US embassy in Baghdad. His active-duty military assignments included tours overseas tours with Joint Special Operations Command, US Africa Command, Special Operations Command Africa, Joint Special Operations Task Force Trans-Sahara, and Special Operations Command Central.

An outdoor enthusiast, he served as assistant director of the National Park Service early in his career and attained the Eagle Scout rank in his youth.

Cooper is a graduate of Florida State University, an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in National and International Security program, and a postgraduate degree candidate at the University of Oxford.