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Dr. Matthew Spence

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy
9-11 Memorial

Dr. Matthew Spence

Dr. Matthew Spence was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy in February 2012. He is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on international security strategy and policy for the Middle East, and for oversight of security cooperation programs, including Foreign Military Sales, in the region.

Prior to joining the Defense Department, Dr. Spence served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Economic Affairs at the National Security Council.  From 2009-2011, he was Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor at the White House.  He also served on President-elect Obama’s National Security Council transition team.

From 2005-2008, Dr. Spence was co-founder and director of the Truman National Security Project, a national security leadership development institute based in Washington, DC.  Dr. Spence was previously a Lecturer in International Relations at Oxford University and a Fellow at the Stanford Center on Democratization, Development, and the Rule of Law.  Trained as a lawyer, Dr. Spence also practiced criminal and international law in California, and served as a law clerk for Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for the United States. Dr. Spence is widely published in foreign affairs, including articles in the Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Yale Law Journal, and various books and publications. 

A Marshall Scholar and Truman Scholar, Dr. Spence received his doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University; J.D. from Yale Law School; and B.A. and M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University. He was born and raised in southern California.



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