Ambassador Joseph R. DeTrani is the President of the Daniel Morgan Academy. Prior to joining the Academy, he served as the president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) for three years and now serves on their Board of Advisors.

Ambassador DeTrani was the Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center and the Intelligence Community Mission Manager for North Korea.  Prior to joining the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2006, he served at the Department of State as the Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks with North Korea, with the rank of Ambassador, and as the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO).

Before his service with the Department of State, Ambassador DeTrani had a distinguished career with the Central Intelligence Agency.  As a member of the Senior Executive Service, his Washington assignments included leadership positions as the Director of East Asia Operations, Director for European Operations, Director of the Office of Technical Services, Director of Public Affairs, Director of the Crime and Narcotics Center and Executive Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence William Casey.  Ambassador DeTrani spent a number of years overseas, primarily in East Asia and China and is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) and proficient in French. He is the recipient of numerous awards, to include the Donovan Award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Commandant’s Award.

Ambassador DeTrani was an officer in the U.S. Air Force and is a graduate of New York University (NYU), where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, and attended NYU School of Law and Graduate School of Business Administration.  He received a Certificate in Chinese from the State Department Foreign Language School in Taiwan and attended Harvard’s International Security Program for executives.

Ambassador DeTrani a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies and has published numerous articles dealing with North Korea, China, Iran, Cyber espionage and non-proliferation issues.


Lessons from the Past (The Cipher Brief, 18 Sept 2016)
The fifth North Korean nuclear test has left policy makers scrambling for both short term and long term solutions to a problem that, so far, has no solution. Many experts have called for a return to a multilateral negotiation framework such as the Six Party Talks. The Cipher Brief spoke with former Ambassador DeTrani, a special envoy to those talks, to see what lessons can be learned from previous attempts to talk to Pyongyang. . . .

A Sharper Choice on North Korea: Engaging China for a Stable Northeast Asia(Council on Foreign Relations report, Sept 2016)
A new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Independent Task Force report finds that the United States’ policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea will neither halt that country’s recurring and dangerous cycle of provocation nor ensure the stability of Northeast Asia in the future. To the contrary, the Task Force warns, “If allowed to continue, current trends will predictably, progressively, and gravely threaten U.S. national security interests and those of its allies.” . . .

Resolving the North Korean nuclear threat (Washington Times, 15 Sept 2016)
On the 10th anniversary of the Joint Statement, it’s time for these six countries — China, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea — to re-enter into serious negotiations and build upon the 2005 Joint Statement. There’s much that has transpired during the past 10 years, mostly in a negative direction. Immediately following the signing of the Joint Statement there was some progress in the implementation of this agreement. North Korea halted its plutonium program at Yongbyan, discussed the monitoring required to verify the North’s denuclearization commitments, and joined the other countries in discussions dealing with security cooperation in Northeast Asia. . . .

The Prospects are Bleak (The Cipher Brief, 8 Sept 2016)
U.S. – China relations have deteriorated appreciably over the past few years. The prospect for improved relations are bleak, with a strong likelihood that bilateral relations will continue to worsen. Although there’s no simple answer, it’s apparent that more must be done to restore trust in this important bilateral relationship. . . .

Beijing and the South China Sea (The Cipher Brief, 31 July 2016)
Demonstrations in China against the U.S. in the wake of The Hague Court’s ruling against China in the South China Sea are reminiscent of the demonstrations in China when the U.S. accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 8, 1999. . . .

Disappointment with China (Washington Times, 26 July 2016)
China’s reaction to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that there was no evidence that China had exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources historically in the South China Sea was disappointing but expected. . . .

The North Korea Threat (The Cipher Brief, 30 June 2016)
North Korea is threatening the Global Community with its reckless nuclear and missile behavior. They have consistently disregarded U.N. Security Council Resolutions and have made clear, especially to China and the U.S., that they are a nuclear weapons state. The four nuclear tests, the most recent in 2016, have progressively been more potent, with reported progress on miniaturization. The dozens of missile launches, with the most recent in June 2016 of a medium-range Musadan ballistic missile, have enhanced its reach and its reported ability to mate a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile. . . .

China-North Korea rapprochement? (Washington Times, 8 June 2016)
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent meeting with Ri Su-yong, North Korea’s vice chairman of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, could be the beginning of a new type of bilateral relationship between China and North Korea. Ri Su-yong, the former foreign minister who was the North’s ambassador to Switzerland when Kim Jong-un was a student in Switzerland, is a close confidant of the mercurial North Korean president. Mr. Ri delivered a message from Mr. Kim to Mr. Xi, with both then publicly expressing a willingness to improve bilateral relations and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. . .

The China Challenge (The Cipher Brief, 5 June 2016)
Good relations with China are necessary and achievable. Since President Richard Nixon’s historic meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972, the U.S. – China relationship has developed into a dynamic and challenging strategic relationship that should not be taken for granted. . . .

Influencing China (Foreign Policy Research Institute, 17 May 2016)
Since President Nixon’s historic meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972, the U.S. – China relationship has developed into a dynamic and challenging strategic relationship that should not be taken for granted.

Negotiations, not capitulation (Washington Times, 17 March 2016)
United Nations sanctions, though a justified response to North Korea’s February 2016 nuclear test and subsequent missile launch, will not unilaterally resolve the nuclear issue with North Korea. If China would participate, unconditional exploratory negotiations with North Korea could conceivably prove productive, ideally hosted by China, with South Korea joining the United States to determine if the Six Party (nuclear) Talks should be resumed. Reflecting on the history of the Korean Peninsula and developments with North Korea for the past 70 years, it is apparent that the nuclear issue and regional security concerns will continue to deteriorate if we are unable or unwilling to further explore a negotiated path to issues involving North Korea. . . .

Discussions could be ‘achievable,’ ‘desirable’ to all (Washington Times, 3 Mar 2016)
The North Korean nuclear and missile programs are growing threats to the global community. To date, the international community’s response to these programs has been weak and ineffective. . . .

A feeler from nuclear North Korea? (Washington Times, 19 Jan 2016)
North Koreans want to be accepted as a nuclear weapons state. They also want normal diplomatic relations with the United States. Kim Jong-un knows that if he wants a normal relationship with the U.S., with an immediate peace treaty similar to his current request, North Korea will have to dismantle all of its nuclear programs and eventually resolve issues related to the north’s human rights and illicit activities programs. There was positive movement on these issues with the September 2005 Joint Statement. Unfortunately, since 2008, there has been no meaningful dialogue with North Korea. And since 2008, North Korea has conducted numerous nuclear tests and missile launches. . . .

Strategic trends and shifting balances in Northeast Asia (Washington Times, 14 Oct 2015)
The Intelligence and National Security Alliance established the Asia-Pacific Task Force, with Ambassador Bob Joseph as chairman, to examine the evolving U.S. strategy in the region and assess the implications for the national security and intelligence communities. This article is a brief overview excerpted from a much more comprehensive and regionwide military, political and economic analysis contained in a white paper: “INSA Asia-Pacific Task Force Interim Report on Defense and Military Strategic Trends.” . . . .

Iran, like North Korea, makes harsh demands that suggest intent to walk away from nuclear talks (Washington Times, 22 Apr 2015)
As a final nuclear agreement with Iran is pending, there are valuable lessons learned from decades of negotiations with North Korea. Ignoring these lessons would be unfortunate. . . .

After 20 Years of Failed Talks With North Korea, China Needs to Step Up (Arms Control Association, 1 Oct 2014)
Twenty years ago this month, North Korea and the United States concluded the Agreed Framework. That accord halted North Korea’s nuclear weapons program at Yongbyon in exchange for heavy fuel oil and the eventual provision of two light-water reactors (LWRs) at Kumho, North Korea. . . .

Media Interviews

China to Charge American Businesswoman Sandy Phan-Gillis With Spying (Newsweek, 17 Jul 2016)

DNC hackers accused of broader campaign targeting think-tanks, lobbyists: Report (Washington Times, 18 June 2016)

U.S. intelligence expert discusses nuclear threats (Sun Sentinel, 15 Apr 2016)

The North Korean Threat (WTOP News Podcast–Target USA, 17 Mar 2016)

U.S. student detained in North Korea confesses to ‘hostile act’ (CNN, 29 Feb 2016)

Will North Korea’s Next Missile Test Wake John Kerry Up? (Daily Beast, 1 Feb 2016)

Ambassador DeTrani: No ‘Arms Control’ with N.Korea; Must Be Denuclearized (NewsMax, 6 Jan 2016)

Millions spent, but what has Track II with N. Korea achieved? (NK News, 29 Oct 2015)

Experts: Pyongyang’s Overtures Raise Hope for Talks (Voice of America, 16 Oct 2015)

Agenda for Obama, Xi to Include N. Korea’s Threats (VOA, 23 Sept 2015)

North Korea allegedly helping Iran build nuclear weapon (WTOP News, 29 May 2015)

Kim Jong Un compelled to prove he’s tough: U.S. intelligence (CBS News, 5 Apr 2013)

UN Imposes New Sanctions on N. Korea (Arms Control Association, 2 Apr 2013)