R. David Edelman

Director, Project on Technology, Economy & National Security



R. David Edelmanis Director of the Project on Technology, the Economy, & National Security (TENS), part of the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI). He holds joint appointments in the Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and the Center for International Studies (CIS).

At MIT, Dr. Edelman leads IPRI’s AI policy research, with a particular emphasis on domestic and international governance of machine learning systems, and is the lead organizer of the annual MIT AI Policy Congress.  His research interests also include cybersecurity in the international system; emerging technologies and national security; and digital trade and markets.  He also teaches in Course 6, most recently 6.805: Foundations of Internet Policy.

Dr. Edelman came to MIT following a distinguished career managing domestic and foreign technology policy in the U.S. federal government. Until January 2017, Edelman served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy at the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP). In that role he led the White House team focusing on the digital economy and quarterbacked the Administration’s regulatory approach to numerous emerging technologies.  

In his six years at the White House he led the development of and co-authored over a dozen legislative proposals, national strategies, Executive Orders, and Presidential reports. He also advised the President on a range of emerging technologies such as AI, drones, and autonomous vehicles; and designed and managed over $15 billion of programs focused on technology, education, and economic opportunity.  

From 2010 – 2012 Edelman served as the first Director for International Cyber Policy on the National Security Council (NSC) — making him, upon appointment, the youngest Director in the NSC’s seventy-year history.  Previously, he helped found the State Department’s Office of Cyber Affairs, where he developed the U.S. government's early diplomatic strategy and legal doctrine on cyber issues, and served as the United States' lead negotiator on Internet issues at the United Nations, for which he was recognized with the State Department's Superior Honor Award and twice its Meritorious Honor Award.

A frequent contributor on issues of technology and public policy, his insights and analysis have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, WIRED, Forbes, Fortune, and on NPR, CNBC, MSNBC, and CNN. 

Edelman earned his bachelor's degree from Yale, and Master's and Doctoral degrees from Oxford, where his scholarship focused on the intersection of international security and cybersecurity.

His forthcoming book on restraint in international cybersecurity will be published by Oxford University Press in 2020.