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Picture of Robert B. CharlesBIOGRAPHY

Robert B. Charles
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Term of Appointment: 10/06/2003 to 03/15/2005

Robert B. Charles was sworn in on October 6, 2003, as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Born in Virginia and raised in Wayne, Maine, Mr. Charles was unanimously voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 2 and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on October 3, 2003. Charles comes to the bureau with an extensive background in law enforcement, security, and counter-narcotics issues.

From 1995 through late 1999, Mr. Charles served as Chief Counsel and Staff Director to the U.S. House National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice Subcommittee, and Chief Staffer to the U.S. House Speakerís Task Force on Counter-narcotics. During and after this period (1998-2001), he taught government and cyber-law at the Harvard University Extension School, and received Harvardís prestigious Petra A. Shattuck award for Excellence in Teaching (2000).

Previously, Mr. Charles served as Deputy Associate Director of Policy Development in the George H.W. Bush Administration (1992-1993). He clerked on the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1987-1988). He practiced law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York and Washington (1991-92 & 1993-95), as well as at Kramer, Levin (1988-1991). Between 1981 and 1983, he served as a temporary appointee on the domestic policy staff of the Reagan White House.

Mr. Charles has written extensively on human rights, legal history, constitutional and international law, national security, congressional oversight, and counter-narcotics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and served on the Commission on the Future of Colombia (1999-2000), co-chaired by Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and General Brent Scowcroft (former National Security Advisor to President George H.W. Bush), co-sponsored by the CFR and Inter-American Dialogue.

As a United States Naval Reservist, Mr. Charles was directly affected by the events of September 11, 2001. He immediately volunteered for active duty, when his unit was substantially affected by those events. He served on active duty, both to train others and to stand up the Crisis Watch Center for the Chief of Naval Operations. As a result, Mr. Charles was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, United States Coast Guard Commendation ribbon, and National Defense Medal. He was a nominee for the 2001 Vice-Admiral Rufus Taylor Leadership Award and 2002 Junior Officer of the Year award.

Mr. Charles received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1982, Phi Beta Kappa, with Highest Distinction in Government. He received his M.A. from New College, Oxford University in 1984, focusing on politics, philosophy, and economics. He received his J.D. from Columbia University Law School in 1987. At Columbia, he was selected one of two Tony Patino Fellows. He served a Human Rights Fellowship in rural India, where he lived and worked with Indiaís Untouchables, during 1985.


Released on October 14, 2003

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