Jennifer Harris

Former Senior Director, National Security Council and National Economic Council

San Francisco, CA



  • National Security Council
  • National Economic Council 
  • U.S. Department of State


  • Domestic and global economic policy
  • Industrial policy
  • Clean energy
  • Supply chain issues
  • China


  • Yale University, J.D.
  • University of Oxford, M.Phil
  • Wake Forest University, B.A.

Recent Coverage

NOV 2, 2023 

Financial Times: Jennifer Harris: ‘Everything costs something in foreign policy terms. There are no free lunches here either’

Jennifer Harris: We needed to create a different story about the relationship between state and market and the responsibility of government to really shape markets and pivot them towards a set of national or, in this case, global needs that are, I think, much larger than the outcomes that markets left to their own devices would provide. People also tend to be a fan of good jobs, and if this is the vehicle to get there, I think that it’s load-bearing as a multilateral idea. 

OCT 10, 2023 

New York Times: U.S. Scales Back Hopes for Ambitious Climate Trade Deal With Europe

Jennifer Harris, a former senior director for international economics at the National Security Council who played a key role in starting negotiations, expressed optimism that progress could be made in the final days and weeks of the negotiations, especially given the upcoming meeting between Mr. Biden and Ms. von der Leyen. The talks now need “the kind of swift injection of tailwind that only leaders can provide,” she said. “I don’t think either leader is going to let this thing fail.”

SEP 4, 2023

The Messenger | Recession Is Coming. No, It’s Not. Who Do You Believe? Why Should You Care?

“We’re looking at an 85% chance or better or a soft landing,” said Jennifer Harris, who recently served as a special assistant to Biden as well as a senior director on the National Economic Council and the National Security Council. “But as with everything, there are risks, like the lagging effects from the Fed’s recent hikes – the full shape of which we do not yet know.”

Those hikes are still wending their way through the economy. And what’s at risk are the many Americans who’ve entered the labor market for the first time – minorities, as well as younger and older workers. Harris worries about a “last in-first out” dynamic, putting these employees out of work first if unemployment rises and a recession takes hold. “The stakes are high around getting a soft landing right,” she told The Messenger.

AUG 9, 2023

Axios | Biden’s real target on Chinese investment restrictions

The new restrictions, which have been telegraphed by administration officials for most of the year, represent a new chapter in U.S. -China relations. But officials are willing to risk short or medium-term diplomatic friction with Beijing to establish a long-term goal: U.S. capital and knowledge cannot help China’s military leapfrog the U.S.

“If the administration wasn’t going to do this, Congress would have,” Jennifer Harris, who served as the National Security Council’s senior director for international economics for Biden’s first two years, told Axios. “They have continually ratcheted down to land surgically on the smallest yard in need of protecting,” she said. “That’s testament to how focused this team is on doing what’s needed while ensuring we aren’t unnecessarily escalating with China.”

JUL 25, 2023

Semafor Business Newsletter | July, 25, 2023

Liz Hoffman: The Fed got another month of data, which was encouraging, but consensus hasn’t changed around a 25bp hike. Why?

Jennifer Harris: The Fed feels it needs to follow through for credibility’s sake, even as the data makes clear they are chasing yesterday’s problem. The smartest Fed watches are encouraging data over dogma. Anyone who lifts the hood will find this growth is supply driven and thus not particularly inflationary. Let’s avoid unnecessary, self-inflicted recessions.

JUL 7, 2023

Financial Times | No country can solve critical mineral shortages alone (Opinion)

The history of essential commodities, especially those pertaining to energy, is heavily arbitrated by governments. The headlines in a decade could be positive ones: a thriving EV manufacturing sector, transatlantic climate goals reached and the fraught geopolitics of oil largely replaced with secure, clean energy. But that depends on Washington and Brussels acting now.”

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About Jennifer

Jennifer Harris recently served as Senior Director for International Economics & Labor on the National Security Council and National Economic Council staff. In this capacity, she coordinated the Administration’s policymaking process for a variety of issues at the intersection of economic policy and national security. 

Previously, Jennifer was the Director of the Economy and Society Initiative at the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Earlier in her career, Ms. Harris was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and was a member of the policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State, responsible for global markets, geo-economic issues, and energy security. 

Jennifer’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, and Politico, among other outlets. She is the co-author of War By Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. She holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a M.Phil from the University of Oxford, where she was a Truman and Rhodes scholar, and a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University.