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).