|Deputy Secretary General of NATO|
February 2012 - October 17, 2016
|Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs|
April 2009 - February 2012
|Mary Beth Long|
|United States Ambassador to South Korea|
October 2005 - October 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Christopher R. Hill|
|United States Ambassador to Russia|
|President||George W. Bush|
|James Franklin Collins|
|William Joseph Burns|
|United States Ambassador to NATO|
November 10, 1997 - July 9, 2001
George W. Bush
|Robert E. Hunter|
|R. Nicholas Burns|
|Born||July 3, 1952|
|Alma mater||Yale College, Columbia University|
Alexander Russell "Sandy" Vershbow (born July 3, 1952) is an American diplomat and former Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
From October, 2005 to October, 2008, he was the United States Ambassador to South Korea. Before that post he had been the ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2001 to 2005 and the ambassador to NATO from 1997 to 2001. For his work with NATO he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Service Award.
In March, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Vershbow as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, a position that holds responsibility for U.S. policy toward NATO, coordination of U.S. security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was confirmed in April, 2009.
After almost three years with the U.S. Department of Defense, in February 2012, Vershbow moved back to Brussels where he took the position of Deputy Secretary General of NATO, becoming the first American to hold the position.
Vershbow attended the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School before moving on to Yale College, from which he graduated in 1974 in Russian and East European Studies. He earned an MA at Columbia University in 1976 in International Relations and Certificate of the Russian Institute. He learned to play the drums at a young age and kept up his passion abroad including occasionally playing in bands with other Ambassadors while on foreign assignments.
Vershbow was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council (1994-97). He was the first recipient of the Department of Defense's Joseph J. Kruzel Award for his contributions to peace in the former Yugoslavia (1997).
Vershbow was US ambassador to Russia from 2001 to 2005. He is famous for ignoring the official ceremony of giving his letter of credence to Russian President Vladimir Putin, for which the reason of "a planned vacation" was given.
Early in his tenure as ambassador to South Korea he generated controversy by continuing the hard line on North Korea begun by his predecessor Christopher Hill. He pressed North Korea on the issues of human rights and superdollars, calling the government a "criminal regime", and called on them to return to the Six-Party Talks. The South Korean government has asked him to tone down his rhetoric, in accordance with their Sunshine Policy, and one lawmaker even tried to have him expelled from the country. In January 2006 his attempt to meet with the Korea Internet Journalists' Association, which describes itself as 'progressive', was blocked by protestors from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
Together with Christopher Hill, who was the Assistant Secretary of State, Vershbow also pioneered a strategy of speaking directly to the Korean people through the internet and by actually appearing and speaking at street rallies.
Vershbow spoke out in favour of the expansion of the US base at Pyeongtaek. Local people demonstrated in great numbers against this expansion, although Vershbow claims that they are "out of step" with the sentiments of most residents of the area.
Vershbow was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA). In a July, 2010, organization chart he was shown as five ASD's serving under Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, with the other four being Wallace Gregson, Paul Stockton, Michael Nacht, and Michael G. Vickers.
Vershbow was leading sessions for the chief of staff of Egypt's armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, and a delegation in Washington in January, 2011, when the visit was truncated due to concurrent Egyptian protests.
Vershbow was the Deputy Secretary General of NATO from February 2012 to October 2016 after serving for three years in the Pentagon as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. While in Brussels, Vershbow argued that partnerships are "a necessity, not a luxury" stressing that NATO's partnerships have helped to consolidate peace and stability in Europe, and to extend stability beyond the Alliance's borders. Near the end of his tenure Vershbow was awarded the 'Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown' in recognition of his years of distinguished service for the Alliance.
Following his career in public service, Vershbow joined the Atlantic Council as Distinguished Fellow, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. He has become a frequent media commentator on national security affairs and predicted the Russian government would not respond militarily to the Trump administration's bombing of Syria in response to the Asad regime's use of chemical weapons in 2017.
Vershbow's wife, Lisa Vershbow, is a designer of contemporary jewelry.
U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow was stopped by KCTU protestors from attending a meeting with the Korean Internet Journalists' Association, reports the Korea Herald: 'The U.S. envoy to Korea was to meet with members of the Korea Internet Journalists' Association at the office of progressive radio channel, Voice of the People in Yeongdeungpo, western Seoul. But members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions who share an office in the same building barricaded the entrance and held out placards saying "U.S. obstructs reunification."'
Alexander Vershbow is currently the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA). In this capacity, Ambassador Vershbow was responsible for coordinating U.S. security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including NATO), the Middle East and Africa.