Joel Stephen Wit, the Agreed Framework Coordinator at the U.S. State Department since 1995, joined the Brookings Institution on November 8 as a Guest Scholar in Foreign Policy Studies. A specialist in Northeast Asian issues, Wit will work on a book on U.S.-North Korean relations while at Brookings.
At State, Joel Wit was responsible for formulating strategy, implementing, and overseeing U.S. policy on the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework, which froze Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and has since defined much of the relationship between the two countries. Before leaving the State Department last month, Wit made his thirteenth official trip to North Korea, as head of a U.S. delegation sent to examine a suspected nuclear weapons site.
“We are very pleased to have Joel Wit joining our staff of scholars at Brookings,” said Michael H. Armacost, president of the Institution. “His research will focus on one of the most contentious relationships in U.S. foreign policy: America’s dealings with North Korea.”
Prior to his efforts on the Agreed Framework, Wit was assigned to the State Department’s Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy, where he was responsible for U.S. policy on a range of issues related to nuclear arms control and weapons proliferation. In that capacity from 1988 to 1992, Wit helped negotiate strategic arms control agreements with the former Soviet Union and participated in the Nunn-Lugar program to dismantle its nuclear weapons.
“North Korea has emerged as a major test of the utility of incentives,” said Richard N. Haass, vice president and director of foreign policy studies. “Joel Wit is the ideal person to produce an authoritative assessment of this important foreign policy tool.”
From 1986 to 1988 Joel Wit worked as a State Department intelligence analyst monitoring foreign nuclear weapons development and testing, and served as State’s representative to the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee. He was also detailed to the National Intelligence Council to work on missile proliferation.
Joel Wit received a B.A. from Bucknell University in 1976 and an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University in 1979. His articles on nuclear weapons and related concerns have appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Asahi Shimbun, Scientific American, Survival, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Nonproliferation Review, and U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings.