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2013 Energy & Natural Resources / Energy Department

Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary

photo of Amy Harder
July 16, 2013

Poneman is second-in-command at the Energy Department by day. By night, he is guitarist for Coalition of the Willing, a band whose members have almost all held senior government positions at one time or another and have one other thing in common: love of rock 'n' roll. They play songs by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Steel Brothers, says the 57-year-old Poneman, who has been a member of the band since 2004. That time doesn't quite reflect his lengthy career in and out of government, starting as a White House fellow at the Energy Department in 1989 and then as a senior adviser on nuclear-security issues under former President Clinton. His background is heavy in nuclear security and international issues, including eight years at the Scrowcroft Group advising clients on international and security issues. Today, he remains committed to nuclear-security issues, but singles out another big goal of the Obama administration. "There are two profoundly important national objectives that the president has made central hallmarks of his administration," Poneman said. "One is dealing with the nuclear-security threat and the other is addressing the challenges of climate change." Poneman, who is from Toledo, Ohio, earned both a B.A. and a law degree from Harvard University and a master of letters degree in politics from Oxford University.

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