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Sergio de la Peña

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs


Sergio de la Peña is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs.  His responsibilities included security, defense, and policy issues in the region, as well as overseeing the funding of defense cooperation programs for U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command.

Prior to joining OSD Policy, Mr. de la Peña was an independent consultant and defense contractor focused on business development in the Americas, an instructor of defense, security, and leadership courses to government officials, and a frequent commentator on Spanish-speaking national and international news media.

Mr. de la Peña, a retired U.S. Army officer, served for 30 years as an Air Defense and Foreign Area officer in a variety of staff and leadership positions.  In his last assignment, he served as the U.S. Northern Command J59, Chief of the International Affairs Division, responsible for developing the command’s theater engagement strategy that provided military to military guidance for training, exchanges, exercises, and sales with Canada and Mexico.  As Commander, U.S. Military Observer Group-Washington, Colonel de la Peña recruited, trained, and deployed U.S. armed service personnel to U.N. observer missions in trouble spots on four continents.  In Chile, he served as U.S. Army Section Chief, strengthening military ties by significantly increasing training and exchange events, as well as being instrumental in the sales of $750 million in military hardware.  He also served as the U.S. Army Attaché in Venezuela, as a test officer who developed, tested, and fielded a low intensity conflict simulation project focused on the Western Hemisphere, and as the program manager who initiated the U.S.-Spanish Army staff talks. 

As an Air Defense officer, he served in short to high range altitude units that included Chaparral, HAWK, and Patriot systems.  He earned his airborne wings and ranger tab as a cadet.

Mr. de la Peña was born in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised near Roswell, New Mexico.  He was an ROTC graduate from the University of Iowa, where he earned a B.S. in psychology.  While attending the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College he earned a Master of Military Art and Science degree.  He attended the Inter-American Defense College with Class of 42 – “¡La mejor!”