Herbert O. Wolfe

Herbert O. Wolfe
Professor of Practice
Associate Director, Center for Security Research and Education
(814) 753-4941
237 Katz Building

Ph.D., George Mason University
M.S., Lock Haven University
B.A., Lycoming College

Herbert O. Wolfe joined Penn State after more than 25 years of service in the U.S. government, most recently working on the National Security Council (NSC) staff at the White House. Dr. Wolfe served as the director for medical preparedness policy for the NSC, where he led medical and public health preparedness policy activities for the assistant to the president for national security affairs and the deputy assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. In this role, he collaborated with departments and agencies and multiple NSC and Executive Office of the President offices to address policy issues relating to biodefense and biosecurity, domestic chemical defense, defense of food and agriculture, environmental health, medical intelligence, domestic medical resilience, and emergent global health challenges.  Wolfe also served as the federal co-chair on the InterAgency Board’s Health, Medical and Responder Safety Subgroup.

Prior to his move to the White House, Wolfe served as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration’s chief audit executive, providing independent and objective oversight for the organization’s $66 billion annual budget and 300,000-plus employees through proactively identifying system vulnerabilities, overseeing and implementing enterprise risk management assurance activities, and leading all internal audit functions across the clinical, business, and financial domains of the global VA health care system.

Immediately prior to his appointment at the VA, he served as senior adviser to the director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a role in which he provided strategic direction and vision, advanced environmental health priorities, and helped to ensure the department fulfilled its critical mission of using the best science in taking responsive public health actions to prevent and mitigate harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances. He served as the senior agency official forward deployed to Flint, Michigan, in 2015, leading the public health response to the water crisis. 

Wolfe served on active duty in the U.S. Public Health Service as a physician assistant from 1998 to 2002, completing his family medicine residency at the Claremore Indian Hospital in Claremore, Oklahoma. Wolfe began his federal career in 1993 as a biological sciences laboratory technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS).