James E. Goodby has served in the US Foreign Service, achieving the rank of Career Minister, and was appointed to five ambassadorial-rank positions by Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, including ambassador to Finland. He taught at Georgetown, Syracuse, and Carnegie Mellon Universities and is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon. Ambassador Goodby has worked with former Secretary of State George Shultz at Hoover since 2007. He is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
He was a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University from 1989 to 1999 and is now a professor emeritus. Selected for the US Foreign Service through competitive examinations in 1952, Goodby rose to the rank of career minister in the Senior Foreign Service and was given five presidential appointments to ambassadorial rank, including ambassador to Finland (1980–81). During his Foreign Service career he was involved as a negotiator or as a policy adviser in the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the negotiation of the limited nuclear test ban treaty, START, the Conference on Disarmament in Europe, and cooperative threat reduction (the Nunn-Lugar program).
Goodby is the author and editor of several books. His most recent publication is Deterrence: Its Past and Future—Papers Presented at Hoover Institution, November 2010 (Hoover Institution Press, 2011) edited with George P. Shultz and Sidney D. Drell. He also wrote At the Borderline of Armageddon: How American Presidents Managed the Atom Bomb (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). With Sidney Drell he wrote The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons (Hoover Institution Press, 2003) and the essay A World without Nuclear Weapons: End-State Issues (Hoover Institution Press, 2009). Goodby coedited Reykjavik Revisited: Steps toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (Hoover Institution Press, 2008) and contributed essays to Reykjavik Revisited and Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary (Hoover Institution Press, 2007).