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Peter I. Belk

Former Global Fellow

Professional affiliation

U.S. Northern Command

Wilson Center Projects

Digital Futures Project

Full Biography

Mr. Peter I. Belk, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) Deputy Director of Operations.  The Directorate of Operations is the principal advisor to the USNORTHCOM Commander on all operational matters, providing strategic guidance to plan and execute USNORTHCOM missions including land, maritime, and air Homeland Defense operations as well as Defense Support of Civil Authorities.

Most recently, Mr. Belk served as the Deputy Director, J5, Strategy, Policy, Plans and Concepts at United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) where he led command development of strategic plans, campaign design and risk assessments, as well as the implementation and integration of strategic planning processes across the U.S. Special Operations Forces enterprise.  He developed enterprise targeted capability priorities for force posture development and allocation, the command Program Objective Memorandum and force design.   Mr. Belk was also a Senior Policy Advisor at USSOCOM where he served as a coordinator and subject matter expert on irregular warfare and countering weapons of mass destruction policy integration.

Mr. Belk previously served as the Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Threats at the National Security Council where he planned, directed and coordinated policies for nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological threats, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, and international arms control and nonproliferation mechanisms.  Notably, Mr. Belk wrote and oversaw the development and Presidential authorization of the first ever stand-alone National Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism in 2016, as well as the staffing of the Unified Command Plan update that provided Coordinating Authority for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction to USSOCOM.

In addition, Mr. Belk served as the Principal Director (Acting) for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program Office in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs (NCB).  He was also the Director of Strategic Relations, International and Interagency and Deputy Director of the Cooperative Threat Reduction offices in NCB.  Mr. Belk served as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Counsel to the President at the White House, and as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).  Mr. Belk was also an analyst in the Office of Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs in INR for Middle East and South Asia political-military affairs. 

Since 1993, Mr. Belk has served in the U.S. Army on active and reserve duty status as a civil affairs and military intelligence officer – to include support for Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Allied Force – in key leadership, staff, operational and planning positions.

In addition to his public sector experience, Mr. Belk has executive private sector experience.  He was a Senior Vice President in Global Technology and Operations at Bank of America focused on location strategy and cross-matrixed technology and operations implementation initiatives for the company.  Mr. Belk was formerly the Chief Legal Officer for a health and life sciences consulting firm and a corporate attorney based in New York, NY and Washington, DC, where he advised clients on private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, Securities and Exchange Commission compliance and filing requirements, and a variety of other corporate matters.  He has extensive experience in international jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Russian Federation and India. 

Mr. Belk was an affiliate member of the Department of International Economics, International Management and Diplomacy, Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp (Belgium) and previously held visiting professor and adjunct professor appointments in the Security Studies Program in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Belk is a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia and the State of New York.  Mr. Belk holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with honors, from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University School of Law.

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