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Dr. Ely S. Ratner

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs


Dr. Ely Ratner serves as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs. Prior to confirmation, he served as the Director, DoD China Task Force and as a Senior Advisor to China to the Secretary of Defense. Before arriving at the Department of Defense, Dr. Ratner was the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where he was a member of the executive team and responsible for managing the Center’s research agenda and staff.

Dr. Ratner served from 2015 to 2017 as the Deputy National Security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, and from 2011 to 2012 in the office of Chinese and Mongolian affairs at the State Department. He also previously worked in the U.S. Senate as a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in the office of Senator Joe Biden. Outside of government, Dr. Ratner has worked as a Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, and as an Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation.

Dr. Ratner received his B.A. from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.