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Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy
Washington, D.C.

Crisis Group Role

As Crisis Group's chief of policy, Stephen works with regional and cross-cutting programs to develop and promote the organisation’s analysis and prescriptions. He is based in Washington D.C.

Professional Background

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Stephen served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council under President Obama. Prior to joining the staff of the National Security Council, he served in a variety of roles with the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, where he specialised in domestic and international law regulating the use of force and the law of war, including as the assistant legal adviser for Political-Military Affairs.

Outside government, Stephen has been a senior policy scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a Leonard and Sophie Davis Genocide Prevention distinguished fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and was in private practice at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. He is a non-residential senior fellow at the NYU Law School Reiss Center on Law and Security. Stephen received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and his law degree from Yale Law School.

In The News

18 Aug 2021
One of the realities that has been realized [in the U.S.] in the past two decades is that advancing human rights policy through military intervention is extremely difficult. Washington Post

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy
25 Feb 2020
[When the U.S. military] is out there laying down so-called ‘nonpersistent smart mines’ that will time out after 30 days, there’s still a field of mines out there. Christian Science Monitor

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy
15 Mar 2019
[On US visa restrictions against the ICC] the United States should be working to root out war criminals, not intimidate their prosecutors. Bloomberg

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy
4 Jan 2019
A relatively modest trade would help kickstart a more meaningful diplomatic process [between the U.S. and North Korea]. A verified shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility wouldn’t end North Korea’s program but it could be significant. Washington Examiner

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy
7 Dec 2018
Bringing Heather Nauert aboard in a sub-Cabinet role will diminish the position [of US ambassador to the UN] yet further AP

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy
1 Dec 2018
Wednesday's vote sends an important and long overdue message that it's time for the U.S. to end its participation in the conflict in Yemen. Middle East Eye

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy

Latest Updates

Targeted Killing and the Rule of Law: The Legal and Human Costs of 20 Years of U.S. Drone Strikes

In a 9 February 2022 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Crisis Group’s Chief of Policy Stephen Pomper recommended legal reform to reinvigorate Congress’s decision-making role in the current legal and structural status quo on U.S. counter-terrorism operations.

Podcast / United States

License to Kill: Lawyering in the War on Terror

In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Stephen Pomper, Crisis Group’s Interim Chief of Policy, about the legal basis for the “war on terror” and how successive American administrations have used sweeping 2001 legislation for an ever-expanding war against jihadist militants. 

Yemen Cannot Afford to Wait

The scars in the country run deep – and the U.S. shares responsibility.

Also available in العربية
Op-Ed / United States

Trump’s Refugee Fiasco

The administration just slashed the number of refugees the U.S. will admit to a record low. Its reasoning doesn’t pass the laugh test.

Originally published in Politico