2003 Emerging Leaders

Jared Feinberg

A leading policy expert on terrorist financing and support networks, he is a major contributor to the Defense Department’s efforts to stop the flow of money to terrorists.

A 28-year old might not seem the obvious choice to be a Department of Defense policy expert on terrorist financing, but not every 28-year old is Jared Feinberg. Despite his brief public service career, Feinberg is at the center of action in the war on terror. He has been instrumental in organizing the Defense Department’s efforts to stop the flow of money to terrorists and their organizations.

“When the war on terrorism started, we at the Defense Department had no insight yet in how to address the financial issues involved,” said Thomas Kuster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Planning and Employment. “Jared was instrumental in getting us up and started.”

Drawing on his contacts in other government agencies, Feinberg set out to follow the money. He coordinated and advanced the efforts of different federal and Defense Department agencies that have responsibility for tracking the flow of terrorist financing. “He was the conduit through which we coordinated interagency efforts between the Treasury, State, and Defense Departments, and the intelligence community,” said Kuster. “He was the linchpin to the whole thing.”

Recognizing that terrorist financing is a worldwide problem that requires a broad interagency response, Feinberg was responsible for the success of a conference that brought together law enforcement and Foreign Service officers with senior policy officials to coordinate their efforts. Representatives from 30 embassies came together to discuss ways in which the flow of money to terrorist organizations can best be stopped. It was the first conference of its kind and began a crucial dialogue on the issue.

His professional experience is perfectly suited to stopping the flow of money to terrorists. After undergoing a rigorous selection process, Feinberg was hired two years ago as a Presidential Management Intern by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. His superiors quickly recognized his tremendous abilities and assigned him to the team that founded an interagency task force seeking to identify new ways of stopping the flow of terrorist financing. Despite being a junior member of the team, he was selected to lead a task force that assisted a vital Middle East ally in investigating financiers of terrorist organizations.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Marshall Billingslea, the secretary of Defense’s chief counterterrorism advisor, also took notice of Feinberg’s abilities. He says he went out of his way to recruit Feinberg to work at the Defense Department—and was pleased when Feinberg joined the department over a year ago. “Jared has the crucial ability to take a very complex issue and make it lucid to those upstream,” he says. That ability has paid dividends when Feinberg prepared briefings for both the secretary and undersecretary of Defense on issues involving terrorist financing.

The war on terror continues, and so does Feinberg’s critical work. He has just returned from a temporary assignment with the U.S. Special Operations Command and is now taking a permanent position in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. His expertise and commitment to stopping the financing of terrorist activities will undoubtedly continue to make a crucial difference. Feinberg is a valuable public servant whose groundbreaking work has made immeasurable contributions to the war on terrorism and the safety of the world.