Sean serves as the Director for Gulf States on the White House National Security Council. Previously, he was a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. In addition to advising Secretary of State John Kerry on South Asia and the Middle East, he led the staff’s work on several topics, including the Obama Administration’s 2015 National Security Strategy, US efforts to upgrade the international order, and an initiative to enhance US diplomatic leverage.
From 2009 to 2012, Sean served as Special Adviser to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP), where he coordinated negotiation of the United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement and was involved in efforts to facilitate a settlement of the Afghanistan conflict. Prior to joining Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s team, Sean worked as a Policy Adviser to US Central Command, coauthoring an assessment of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sean began his government career as a Roberts Intelligence Fellow and Political Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. As a Presidential Management Fellow in the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs, he shaped US policy on Iran’s nuclear program and regional activities. He also served as Special Assistant in the Office of Management and Budget’s National Security Division.
Sean holds an MPP in International Security and Political Economy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, as well as BA degrees in International Politics and Media Studies from Penn State University. A Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he was named a 2011 Manfred Wörner Fellow by the German Marshall Fund and recognized as a 2014 Next Generation National Security Leader by the Center for a New American Security.