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Cara Abercrombie

Former Acting Deputy Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency


Ms. Cara Abercrombie is the former Acting Deputy Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. In this capacity, she was responsible for oversight of DSCA’s diverse portfolio of Security Cooperation programs and for working with external stakeholders to synchronize DSCA activities with foreign policy and national security objectives. Ms. Abercrombie is also the first President of the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) and Principal Director for Workforce Development with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Established in 2019, DSCU is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) center of excellence for security cooperation education and training, with campuses in Arlington, Virginia and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Ms. Abercrombie is responsible for overseeing the professional development and certification of the 20,000+ civilian and military members of the DoD security cooperation workforce who manage and execute DoD security cooperation programs and activities, and the training of other DoD, U.S. Government, defense industry and foreign partner personnel who perform related functions. In addition, Ms. Abercrombie oversees the development of a repository for the history of American security cooperation activities and related lessons learned and best practices, and maintains a network of cooperative relationships with other academic institutions.

Ms. Abercrombie is a career member of the Senior Executive Service with more than fifteen years of experience working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. From 2017-2018 she was detailed from the Department of Defense as a visiting fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she published numerous articles on U.S.- India defense relations. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia from 2016-2017, Ms. Abercrombie served 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 was responsible for managing the bilateral security relationships with nations of that region and guiding Department of Defense engagement with regional multilateral institutions.

Her previous positions in the Department have included serving as Principal Director for East Asia Policy, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, 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.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Ms. Abercrombie holds a Master's Degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. She is a recipient of numerous Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Awards and the Department of State Meritorious Honor Award.