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Kelly E. Magsamen

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian Pacific and Security Affairs


Kelly Magsamen is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs with responsibility for defense and security policy in the Asia and Pacific region.   

Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Ms. Magsamen served on the National Security Staff (NSS) in various positions, most immediately as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Staff from 2012-2014.  During her years at NSS, she also served as Director for Iran from 2008-2011, and then as Director and Senior Advisor for Middle East Reform in the wake of the Arab Spring from 2011-2012. 

Ms. Magsamen began her government career as a Presidential Management Fellow and civil servant at the State Department, focusing on Iraq assistance issues, and later served as Special Assistant and Chief of Staff to the Counselor to the Department of State, devoting much of her time to Afghanistan policy.

In addition to her government experience, she has also worked in private sector consulting, focusing on the Middle East.  Ms. Magsamen received her Bachelors degree in International Relations from American University, and her Masters degree in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.