Diana Ohlbaum

Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy


Diana Ohlbaum, Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Diana Ohlbaum directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.

She brings to FCNL nearly two decades of experience on Capitol Hill, where she served as a senior professional staff member of both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and earlier as an aide to Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD). During her time as a congressional staff member, Diana coordinated efforts to overhaul the outdated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, improve oversight of arms sales and security assistance, and promote diplomacy and multilateralism.

Immediately prior to joining FCNL in August 2018, Diana worked as an independent consultant specializing in advocacy, political strategy and legislative impact. Most of her clients were non-governmental organizations and foundations working in the areas of sustainable development and human security.

Diana also has experience in the executive branch and in the nonprofit sector. From 1999-2001 she served as deputy director of USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives, a cutting-edge unit designed to advance peace and democracy in priority conflict-prone countries. She also worked as director of public policy for InterAction, an alliance of NGOs engaged in humanitarian relief and international development.

Diana currently chairs the board of the Center for International Policy and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and the Advisory Council of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Russian studies from Amherst College.

Articles by Diana Ohlbaum

Update Progress Seems Impossible, Until It Isn’t 

Despite setbacks in the House and Senate FY21 defense authorization bill or NDAA, there are reasons to be hopeful.

Sometimes the mountain before us seems unscalable. But we persist in climbing it, and one day, we find ourselves at the peak.

Update Don’t Let Congress Stick Its Head in the Sand on Pentagon Spending 

There are some things that can’t be put back in the box. And others that shouldn’t.

Update How Does the Heroes Act Align with FCNL's Priorities? 

The House passed the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), a comprehensive bill to further address the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout. FCNL has been lobbying Congress to include many policy provisions in the next COVID-19 bill.

Background Wars and Weapons Will Not Save Us From COVID-19 

Seven hundred and fifty billion dollars. That’s roughly how much the United States is spending annually on weapons and war. About $35 billion of that is for nuclear weapons, which, in a best-case scenario, sit in holes in the ground and never get used.

Update COVID-19: We’re All in This Together 

The coronavirus pandemic is a global challenge that requires a compassionate foreign policy response.

The profound crisis our nation faces as a result of COVID-19 may seem like good reason to focus on what is closest to home. It’s painful enough to witness and share the suffering of those immediately around us without looking any further afield.

Update The President’s Budget is Out: Here are Five Areas of Concern 

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about President Trump’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2021 is that Congress will likely ignore it.

Update This is How the Year Ends In Congress: With a Bang, and a Whimper 

In a head-spinning week, Congress and the White House came to a series of agreements that avoided the possibility of a government shutdown but left peace and justice advocates with little to celebrate.

Update Silver Linings in the NDAA’s Dark Cloud 

The final agreement on the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) came as both a shock and a disappointment to FCNL.

Update Building the Movement for a New Peaceful Foreign Policy  

Annual Meeting 2019

FCNL's senior strategist and legislative director for foreign policy, Diana Ohlbaum, delivered this address at Annual Meeting 2019.

FCNL in the News How (Not) To End Endless Wars 

In defending his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, President Trump explained, “I ran on the basis we’re going to bring our great soldiers back home where they belong. We don’t have to fight these endless wars. We’re bringing them back home.”