Dave served as Vice President Joe Biden’s Senior Advisor for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Non-Proliferation. He was the Vice President’s voice in the interagency process across a range of issues including ballistic missile defense, the nuclear weapons complex, counterproliferation, and New START implementation.
Dave Zikusoka has worked at the intersection of national security and technology at the White House, Pentagon, a Congressional commission, and in the think tank community. He has over a decade-and-a-half of high-level practice in crisis decision-making, complex problem-solving, and advising senior government officials.
Dave is currently a non-resident senior fellow at New America. He researches and publishes forNew America’s Future Frontlines project with a focus on how the digital revolution is reshapingglobal conflict, competition, and influence.
He previously served in the Biden Administration as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, during which he advised the Secretary on matters of technology and innovation acceleration across the Department of Defense. In this role, Dave was tasked with seeking out
novel, war-winning, combat-credible future systems and getting them into the hands of thewarfighter. He also co-led the establishment of the Office of Strategic Capital, the Secretary’s
premier innovation initiative, which protects cutting edge technology from adversarial capital and supports Department maneuver in the economic battlespace. Prior to his time in the Secretary’s front office, Dave served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy where he advised senior leaders on issues of space warfighting policy.
As a Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think tank, Dave led research and analysis on the future of competition and conflict in the space, cyber, and air domains. He developed innovative, resource-informed operational concepts to inform medium-and long-term U.S. and allied defense strategies, led deep-dive studies on space operations, and
led a study on applications of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networking technology for future
Dave served on the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission as Policy Director for the
Commission’s integration directorate. The Commission was charged with developing a U.S. grand strategy for long-term competition in the cyberspace domain. Dave was a co-writer for the Commission’s final report, which contained 80 recommendations for legislative and executive action, many of which have taken effect through congressional passage and executive order.
Today, Commission recommendations are helping to shape the behavior of, deny benefits to, and impose costs upon state and nonstate threat cyber actors.
Prior to the Solarium Commission, Dave served at the Pentagon in multiple roles. As a Special Assistant for Battlespace Awareness and Program Assessment, he developed space strategy, policy, and budgetary guidance for the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. His responsibilities included evaluating commercial remote sensing missions for Department of Defense equities and developing cutting-edge approaches for space support to joint force kill
chains. As a Special Assistant for Global Force Planning, he developed global posture policies that informed contingency war plans, scenario development, and future force capabilities. He also co-led a big data project that reassessed the readiness models of the armed services.
At the White House, Dave served as then-Vice President Joe Biden’s Senior Advisor for
Weapons of Mass Destruction and Non-Proliferation. He was the Vice President’s voice in the interagency process across a range of issues including ballistic missile defense, the nuclear weapons complex, counterproliferation, and New START implementation. He was the Vice President’s lead as the U.S. Government planned and executed the international effort to remove
and destroy the Assad regime’s chemical weapons arsenal. In 2014, Dave led drafting of the Vice President’s messaging for a diplomatic engagement campaign that broke the Iraq’s government formation crisis and secured the reentry of U.S. forces to take on the Islamic State.
Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in the history of international relations from Harvard University and a master’s in public policy from Princeton University.