David S. Jonas ’78

B.A., Political Science, Denison University 1978
J.D., Wake Forest University School of Law, 1981
LL.M., The Judge Advocate General’s School, U.S. Army, 1991
LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2005

General Counsel/Senior Executive Service
National Nuclear Security Administration
Washington, DC

Citation awarded May, 2008

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), charged with carrying out the DOE’s national security responsibilities. These include designing, producing and maintaining safe and reliable nuclear weapons for the U.S. military, providing safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion for U.S. Navy ships and submarines, and promoting international nuclear safety and non-proliferation. As General Counsel, David ensures that all NNSA programs are conducted in accordance with domestic and international law.

Serving as the nuclear non-proliferation planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, David negotiated numerous international treaties and agreements and had extensive experience working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Conference on Disarmament, and the United Nations. For his service on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Denison alumnus David Waller ’70, deputy director general of the IAEA, offers this assessment: “It’s reassuring to know that the NNSA general counsel is a Denisonian who has both years of military experience—including at the policy-making level—and the specialized legal experience necessary to deal with the grave issues that cross his desk.”

David’s service in the Marine Corps included a wide variety of command and staff billets. As counsel of record in Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452 (1994), he became the first active-duty judge advocate in the history of the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. He received the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Award for Excellence in Legal Writing in 1992, and was chosen as the Outstanding Career Judge Advocate for the Marine Corps in 2000. He concluded his military service as a lieutenant colonel in 2001.

David is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and the George Washington University Law School, teaching nuclear non-proliferation law. He has been published widely, and is on the board of directors of the Marine Executive Association. His other interests include competitive tennis, racquetball, hiking and reading. David is married to Tina Westby Jonas who currently serves as undersecretary of defense/comptroller. They reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

We honor David S. Jonas ’78 for his dedicated service to his country, his unflagging focus on this most important and timely international issue, and his passionate determination to make a difference.