Peter Olson, a U.S. national, has served as Legal Adviser to the Secretary General and the international staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since February 2010. He is responsible for all legal aspects of NATO's institutional, internal and external relationships and operations.
From 1976 through 2010, Mr. Olson was a member of the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Following initial assignments in treaty, maritime, environmental and nuclear nonproliferation law, beginning in 1985 he was in succession the principal legal adviser for inter-American affairs, for ethics and personnel, for arms control and verification, and for European affairs. His core professional focus before arriving at NATO was on European organizations, notably the European Union and the OSCE, and on Balkans matters.
Mr. Olson has also served as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, developed and administered USAID's regional democratization program for the then-twelve states of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and directed the legal assistance and human rights grants element of the U.S. government's anti-apartheid program in South Africa in the late 1980's.
Mr. Olson graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania in 1973, and received his juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1976. He was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia in the latter year.