David S. Addington is group vice president for research at The Heritage Foundation. The leading think tank develops and promotes conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.
Addington heads the group within Heritage consisting of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity; the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity; the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy; the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies; and the Research Editing Staff. He served previously as head of the Meese Center, as deputy chief operating officer, and as vice president for domestic and economic policy.
Before joining Heritage in 2010, Addington served in senior management and legal positions in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government and in the private sector.
In the legislative branch, he served as Republican staff director, chief counsel or counsel for four congressional committees (Senate intelligence committee, House intelligence committee, House foreign affairs committee and House Iran-Contra committee).
In the executive branch, he served as an assistant general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency and as special assistant and then deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. He went on to serve in the Department of Defense as special assistant to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense and then general counsel during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
Addington served as counsel to the vice president, and then chief of staff to the vice president, during Richard B. Cheney's two terms in that office.
In the private sector, he was president of the Alliance for American Leadership (a multicandidate political action committee); of counsel to the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, PC; partner in the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP; and senior vice president and general counsel of the American Trucking Associations Inc.
Addington was born in Washington, D.C., in 1957. He received a bachelor of science degree in foreign service, summa cum laude, in 1978 from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He received a law degree with distinction in 1981 from the Duke University School of Law. He is admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Addington is the recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Department of the Army Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, the Department of the Navy Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the Intelligence Commendation Medal.
He and his wife, Cynthia, have three children. The family resides in Alexandria, Va.