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Cara Abercrombie

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia


Ms. Cara Abercrombie is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.  Ms. Abercrombie serves as the principal advisor to senior Department leadership for all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for the region. She is responsible for managing the bilateral security relationships with nations of this region and guiding DoD engagement with regional multilateral institutions.

Ms. Abercrombie is a career member of the Senior Executive Service with more than a decade of service in the Office of Secretary of Defense.  Previously, Ms. Abercrombie was the Principal Director for East Asia Policy, from July 2014-June 2016.  In that role she advised senior Department leadership in the formulation and implementation of defense policy for China, Japan, Mongolia, North and South Korea, and Taiwan.  From 2013-2014, she served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.  Other prior positions include Director for South Asia, Human Capital Strategy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Policy, Defense Institution Building Coordinator, and Senior Country Director for India.  She joined the Department as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2003.  Prior to entering government, Ms. Abercrombie was a Program Officer for Eurasia with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. 

Ms. Abercrombie has a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and a BA from Dartmouth College. She is a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award (twice) and Department of State Meritorious Honor Award.