Robert C. O’Brien was the 28th United States National Security Advisor from 2019-2021. O’Brien served as the President’s principal advisor for all aspects of American foreign policy and national security affairs.
During O’Brien’s time as National Security Advisor, the United States orchestrated the historic Abraham Accords in the Middle East, brokered economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, achieved significant defense spending increases among NATO allies, and increased cooperation with America’s allies across the Indo-Pacific.
O’Brien brought a renewed focus to defense and industrial base issues to the National Security Council. A longtime advocate of a sea power and a 355 ship Navy, O’Brien visited leading shipyards during his tenure. He also spent time at defense plants and with America troops at bases around the world.Prior to serving as NSA, O’Brien was the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs with the personal rank of Ambassador. He was personally involved in the return of over 20 detainees and hostages to the United States.
O’Brien previously served as Co-Chairman of the U.S. Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan under both Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton.
O’Brien was also a presidentially-appointed member of the U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee from 2008-2011. In 2005, O’Brien was nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a U.S. Representative to the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. Earlier in his career, O’Brien served as a Senior Legal Officer for the UN Security Council commission that decided claims against Iraq arising out of the first Gulf War. He was a Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve. O’Brien was the co-founding partner of Larson O’Brien LLP (now Larson LLP) in Los Angeles, a nationally recognized litigation boutique. Over his career, he has served as counsel and arbitrator in dozens of International proceedings.
The Daily Journal named O’Brien one of the top 100 lawyers in California and Law Dragon listed him as one of the top 500 lawyers in America.
Among other awards, O’Brien is the recipient of the National Security Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the National Defense Medal, and the Kosovo Presidential Medal of Merits.
In 2016, O’Brien authored “While America Slept” published by Encounter Books. During the Trump Administration, he edited the book “Trump on China.” O’Brien’s opinion pieces have appeared in every major American newspaper and he has been a frequent guest on cable TV and the Sunday shows over the last two decades.
O’Brien holds a J.D. from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law. He received his B.A. degree in political science, cum laude, from UCLA. He resides with his wife and two daughters in Pasadena, California.