Dr. Yleem Sarmiento de Poblete is a seasoned professional with demonstrated expertise in foreign policy, national security, and government affairs. She served for close to two decades on the staff of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, including as its Chief of Staff and Staff Director. She served as a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee at the Department of State during the Trump administration as the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance.
Dr. Poblete has been a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, a guest lecturer at private, public, and USG academic institutions, and a presenter at foreign policy forums. She has been interviewed by American and foreign media on national security and U.S. foreign policy matters; and has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, National Review, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Times of Israel. Via Poblete Analysis Group, Dr. Poblete has provided in-depth global research, analysis, strategic advice, and training for U.S. government (USG) projects and private sector clients.
During her tenure on the Foreign Affairs Committee staff, Dr. Poblete worked on virtually every regional and functional issue, assessing security challenges and developing a range of policy responses. She spearheaded Congressional oversight into waste, fraud, and abuse in programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction. Some notable examples resulting in verifiable efforts to address the wrongs include: holding accountable American contractors and United Nations peacekeepers involved in sexual abuse in Bosnia and Africa; halting U.S. funds to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from contributing to the provision of IAEA technical assistance to Iran, Syria, and North Korea while these pariah states were subject to a broad range of U.S. and multilateral sanctions; investigating and holding accountable those responsible for the illegal transfers by the World Intellectual Property Organization of U.S.-origin technology to North Korea and Iran.
She is a skillful negotiator with a proven record of success in securing the enactment into law of consequential legislation and at international forums, working with America’s allies to advance a range of vital U.S. interests and national security priorities.
As Chief of Staff and Staff Director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. Poblete managed a budget of close to $20 million, reconfiguring accounts to maximize efficiency with reduced funding. National Journal identified her as one of the “14 Top Women on the Hill for 2011” and one of a handful of minorities in the House and Senate senior staff leadership.
Dr. Poblete also served as Republican Chief of Staff and Staff Director, House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Staff Director, Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia; Staff Director and, previously, Deputy Staff Director/Professional Staff, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. She served on the professional staff of the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade and the staff of the Subcommittee on Africa, as well as the Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Inter-American Terrorism Task Force.
Before January 1995, Dr. Poblete worked on U.S. Department of Defense projects at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.; at the International Monetary Fund conducting comparative analyses of central and organic bank laws; at The White House, Office of the Counsel to the President; and as a teaching and research assistant to the Director of the Institute for Interamerican Studies, University of Miami.
Dr. Poblete completed her education while working full-time. She earned a Ph.D. in World Politics/International Relations from The Catholic University of America with dual regional concentrations in the Middle East and Western Hemisphere. Her doctoral dissertation focused on: “The Viability of Sanctions as Effective Foreign Policy Tools: The Cases of Iran and Syria.”
She completed graduate coursework in national security studies at Georgetown University; earned a Master of Arts in International Relations as a recipient of the Albert Pick Scholarship, with a minor concentration in Communications from the University of Miami. Dr. Poblete received a full scholarship to St. Thomas University (Miami, Florida), where, in less than two years, she earned a Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, in International Relations.
Dr. Poblete is fluent in Spanish and reading comprehension of French. She has held the highest levels of security clearances for over two decades, is a member of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and is active in charitable activities. She and her husband Jason Poblete, an attorney specializing in international and regulatory work and former senior Congressional staff member, reside in Arlington, Virginia.