Mark W. Lippert is the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. He previously held senior positions in the Department of Defense from May 2012 until September 2014. This included Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, where he was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all international security strategy and policy issues related to the nations and international organizations of Asia and the Pacific.
Prior to being confirmed in April 2012, he completed a two-year mobilization on active duty in the United States Navy. During that time, which included a deployment to Afghanistan, he served as an Intelligence Officer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group in Virginia Beach, Virginia from 2009 to 2011.
Ambassador Lippert served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the National Security Council in 2009. In 2008, he served as Deputy Director for Foreign Policy on the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor on the Obama for America campaign.
Previously, he worked as the Foreign Policy Advisor for then-Senator Obama from 2005 to 2008, where he managed the Senator’s work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
From 2007 to 2008, he took a leave of absence from this position to deploy on active duty as an Intelligence Officer with Seal Team One in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
From 2000 to 2005, he was a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee, advising Senator Patrick Leahy on a range of foreign aid and security assistance issues. From 1999 to 2000 he served as the Foreign and Defense Policy Advisor to Senator Tom Daschle and the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
Ambassador Lippert’s military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Iraq, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Basic Parachutist Badge. He is also the recipient of the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the Department of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award.
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science and holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies from the same institution. He also studied Mandarin Chinese at Beijing University.
Ambassador Lippert is married to Robyn Lippert of Vermont, who works as Vice President of a major health care company. They have two children: James William Sejun and Caroline Saehee, and a basset hound, Grigsby.