Bachelor with Highest Distinction, University of Virginia, 1981; Juris Doctor, University of Virginia, 1984; Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, 1985.
Associate Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, 1984-1986. Law clerk to Honorary James L. Buckley United States Court Appeals (District of Columbia Circuit), 1986. Counsel to vice chairman United States International Trade Commission, 1986-1987.
Special assistant to assistant secretary for Inter-American affairs United States Department State, 1987-1989. Deputy legal advisory, associate counsel to President National Security Council, 1989-1992. General counsel Peace Corps, 1992-1993.
Minority chief counsel United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1993-1995. Chief counsel United States House Committee on International Relations, 1995—2001, deputy staff director, chief counsel, 2001—2002. Chief counsel United States House Select Committee on Homeland Security, 2002.
Assistant secretary for arms control United States Department State, 2002—2005, acting assistant secretary for international security & nonproliferation, 2005—2006. Director national security & senior counsel to Senator Bill Frist United States Senate, 2006—2007. Senior counsel Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe Government Affairs, since 2007.
Member United States Commission on the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction & Terrorism, 2008.
Member American Bar Association (United States Government liaison for section international law and practice), Virginia Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa.
Married Danielle Pletka. Children: Andrew, Olivia, Sophia, Nicola.