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Dr. James H. Anderson

Former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy


The Honorable James H. Anderson is the former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.  Prior to serving in that role, Dr. Anderson was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, sworn in on June 8, 2020. In this capacity, Dr. Anderson was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for defense policy and leads the formulation and coordination of national security policy within the Department of Defense. He was responsible for efforts to build partnerships and defense cooperation with U.S. friends and allies.

In August 2018, Dr. Anderson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities. Prior to this appointment, he served three years as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Marine Corps University. In this capacity, he supervised academic programs that educate thousands of Marines annually. From 2012 to 2015, he was Dean of Academics and Deputy Director at the Marine Corps War College. From 2009 to 2012, he worked as Professor of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies, where he directed the Program in Advanced Security Studies. Dr. Anderson served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2009, where he was Director of Middle East Policy in International Security Affairs, among other positions.

In addition to his Pentagon service, Dr. Anderson worked as an Associate at DFI International, a private consulting firm; a Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank; and an Associate Professor of International Relations at Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University. He has also taught courses at National Defense University, George Washington University, Lasell College, and the University of Phoenix.

He is the co-author of Leading Dynamic Seminars: A Practical Handbook for University Educators (Palgrave Macmillian, 2013). He is the author of America at Risk: The Citizen's Guide to Missile Defense (Heritage Foundation, 1999), and has written numerous articles and op-eds on a wide range of national security topics.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Anderson served three years on active duty as an intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps, and then became a reservist in the Individual Ready Reserve. Dr. Anderson earned his Doctorate in International Relations and Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.

He is a recipient of the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award (2012) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service (2009).