Mr. Olson served over 30 years in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Following initial assignments in treaty, maritime, environmental and nuclear nonproliferation law, he was in succession the principal legal adviser at the Department of State for inter-American affairs, for ethics and personnel, for arms control and verification, and for European affairs. His core professional focus before arriving at NATO was on European organizations, notably the European Union and the OSCE, and on Balkans matters.
Mr. Olson has also served as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and ran major USAID democratization programs in South Africa during the final years of the apartheid regime and in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in the 1990s.
Mr. Olson is a graduate of Haverford College and of the Harvard Law School. He is married to Wendy Stickel and they have two adult daughters.