Nathan A. Sales is the Acting Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. He oversees seven State Department bureaus and offices responsible for preventing and countering threats to civilian security, including terrorism, mass atrocities, and violations of human rights and the rule of law.
He was sworn in on August 10, 2017 as the Coordinator for Counterterrorism with the rank and status of Ambassador-at-Large. Ambassador Sales leads the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau and serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary of State on international counterterrorism matters.
Before joining the State Department, Ambassador Sales was a tenured law professor, teaching and writing in the fields of counterterrorism law, national security law, constitutional law, and administrative law. His scholarship has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times.
Ambassador Sales previously was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. He led DHS’s efforts to draft and implement legislation that strengthened the security of and expanded the Visa Waiver Program (which allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States without a visa). He headed the U.S. delegation in talks with seven countries to implement the new security measures and was the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Special Envoy to South Korea.
Ambassador Sales also served at the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, where he worked on counterterrorism policy and judicial confirmations. In 2005, he managed DOJ’s “war room” for the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts. He received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service – the Justice Department’s highest honor – for his role in drafting the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.
An Ohio native, Ambassador Sales received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke Law School, where he was Research Editor of the Duke Law Journal and joined the Order of the Coif. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.