Celeste Ward Gventer was the Associate Director at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law from 2010 to 2013. She is currently a PhD candidate in the History Department, as well as an inaugural National Security Fellow with the William P. Clements Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft. Previously, she was Senior Defense Analyst at the RAND Corporation. Prior to joining RAND, she was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations Capabilities in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from August 2007-January 2009. There she was responsible for providing policy advice on the capabilities needed in the U.S. General Purpose Force to conduct effective stabilization and reconstruction and counterinsurgency operations.
She joined DoD from her second tour in Iraq, where she served for all of 2006 as the political-military advisor to the MNC-I commander, GEN Peter W. Chiarelli. She also served in Iraq from November 2003-June 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority, where she assisted in the creation and stand-up of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and was an assistant to the Iraqi National Security Advisor.
Celeste has also worked as a Special Assistant to the Counselor of the State Department (Dr. Philip Zelikow), as a Strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as a Defense Analyst at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.
Celeste received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Stanford University and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is the recipient of the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal, the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Celeste is married to a U.S. Army officer (Armor).
Selected Commentary and Research:
- "A Difficult Choice That's Been Made Before," Room for Debate, The New York Times, 2 June 2014.
- "Adjusting the War on Terror to Fit the Times," Room for Debate, The New York Times, 28 May 2014.
- "Trim the Top, Like Most Innovative Organizations," Room for Debate, The New York Times, May 2014.
- The New Counter-insurgency Era in Critical Perspective with M.L.R. Smith and David Martin Jones (Palgrave Macmillan, January 2014).
- "Was Iraq war worth it? 10 years after invasion, it's too early to know," Austin American Statesman, 16 March 2013.
- "Weighing Options for U.S. Troop Levels in Afghanistan," PBS NewsHour, January 9, 2013.
- "Discretionary Decline," Global Trends 2030, July 24, 2012.
- "Counterinsurgency: A debate far from over," Foreign Policy, June 15, 2012.
- "Could and Should U.S. End Combat Role in Afghanistan Early?" PBS NewsHour, February 2, 2012.
- "Great Decisions: Iraqi Security," Foreign Policy Association, November 3, 2011.
- "Lessons from U.S. Allies in Security Cooperation with Third Countries: The Cases of Australia, France, and the United Kingdom," RAND Corporation, September 2011.
- "Interventionism Run Amok," Foreign Policy, August 10, 2011.
- "A Shift in Strategy in Afghanistan," Need to Know, PBS, June 24, 2011.
- "Obama Names 'Pragmatic' Gen. Dempsey to Head Joint Chiefs of Staff," PBS NewsHour, May 30, 2011.
- "How Does Bin Laden's Death Change U.S. Equation in Af-Pak Region?" PBS NewsHour, May 4, 2011.
- "Why Didn't the U.S. Foresee the Arab Revolts?" The New York Times, April 28, 2011.