Joseph DeThomas is a Professor of Practice at the School of International Affairs of the Pennsylvania State University. Ambassador DeThomas is a frequent contributor to the public debate on North Korea appearing frequently in the online publication 38 North, as well as in the print and broadcast press in the U.S. and abroad. He was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service for 29 years and worked at the U.S. Department of State for 32 years. His service abroad included tours in Iran, Germany, Mexico, Ethiopia, and Austria. He was the U.S. Ambassador to Estonia from 2001-2004. He also held numerous positions in Washington over the course of three decades. This included two years of service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-proliferation from 1999-2001 as well as a number of other positions that dealt primarily with proliferation sensitive countries including Pakistan, India, North Korea, Iraq and Iran. Ambassador DeThomas served on the faculty of the National War College from 2004-6. Amb. DeThomas received a number of awards from the Department of State during his service. This included Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards for non-proliferation innovations, humanitarian contributions and management, as well as a group award for valor for service in Tehran, Iran.
After retiring from government service in 2006, he directed international science engagement and threat reduction programs in more than 20 countries at CRDF Global. He returned to service in the U.S. Department of State from 2010 until February of 2013 as an advisor. There he worked primarily on North Korea and Iran, implementing sanctions and attempting to impede weapons of mass destruction efforts of those two countries.
He received his B.A. and M.A. from the Pennsylvania State University, and he holds an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also a distinguished graduate of the National War College. Amb. DeThomas is married to Valerie V DeThomas. He is the father of four children.