Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione announces retirement plans for 2020

February 4, 2020
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Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione announces retirement plans for 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Global security foundation Ploughshares Fund announces today the planned retirement of its longtime president and leading national security expert Joseph Cirincione. The Ploughshares Fund Board of Directors is actively engaged in a search to select the global security foundation’s next president. The new president will be announced before Cirincione’s retirement in mid-2020.

Cirincione became the second president of Ploughshares Fund president in 2008, following the passing of the visionary founding president Sally Lillienthal in 2006. He has enjoyed a storied career over four decades as a foreign policy analyst, national security staffer in Congress, a frequent expert commentator in print and on air, and as the director of nuclear policy programs at the Stimson Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and as vice president for national security at the Center for American Progress.                         

During Cirincione’s tenure, Ploughshares Fund nearly tripled its budget and staff, and awarded over $66 million through over 1,300 grants to confront the existential threat of nuclear weapons. Working closely with then-Ploughshares Fund board chairman, Roger Hale, and then-executive director, Naila Bolus, Cirincione opened a Washington, DC office for the San Francisco-based foundation and implemented a more direct operational work. He led the strategy of unifying experts and advocates on focused campaigns for specific strategic objectives. Under Cirincione’s leadership, Ploughshares Fund played a major convening role in marshaling support for the 2010 New START treaty and the 2015 landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – also known as the Iran Deal.

A new, 30-minute interview with Cirincione about his retirement is now available on this week’s episode of “Press the Button” podcast, available on all podcast platforms and via

“We charted new ground in the national security field,” said Cirincione, who holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University, is the author or editor of seven books and currently co-hosts the popular national security podcast, Press the Button. “Now is the time for a new generation to lead. A transition will be a healthy way to revitalize and adapt Ploughshares Fund to the urgencies of the new moment. Building on our accomplishments and working with a stellar group of grantees, a new president can guide the foundation into the next decade and beyond.”

“Joe’s contributions to Ploughshares Fund are immeasurable,” said Ploughshares Fund Board Chair Terry Gamble Boyer. “He transformed the foundation. With his charismatic wit, encyclopedic expertise, and passion for our mission, Joe has been a truly visionary leader not just for Ploughshares Fund – but for entire generations of those dedicated to the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Interviews for the position are in progress. For inquiries about the Ploughshares Fund president job opportunity, or to nominate a candidate, e-mail:


ABOUT PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Ploughshares Fund is a global security foundation based in San Francisco, with an office in Washington, DC.  Founded in 1981, Ploughshares Fund supports initiatives to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons. It is the largest US philanthropic organization focused exclusively on nuclear weapons. Visit

ABOUT JOSEPH CIRINCIONE:  Joseph Cirincione has been President of Ploughshares Fund since March of 2008. Cirincione is the author of the books Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats. He has worked on nuclear weapons policy in Washington for 39 years and is considered one of the top experts in the field. He served previously as vice president for national security at the Center for American Progress, director for non-proliferation at Carnegie Endowment, and senior associate at Stimson. He worked for nine years as professional staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Committees on Armed Services and Government Operations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former member of the International Security Advisory Board for Secretaries of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. He also teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service. Cirincione's commentary has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, CNN, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, Kyodo News, Moscow Times, Foreign Policy, The Hill, Daily Beast, and Huffington Post. Cirincione is also co-host of the popular national security podcast, “Press the Button.”