Senior Fellow


Rudy deLeon

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Rudy deLeon is a senior fellow with the National Security and International Policy team at American Progress. He has worked at the organization since 2007 and focuses on U.S. national security issues and U.S.-China relations.

DeLeon’s 25-year government career concluded in 2001 after his tenure as deputy secretary of defense, during which time he served as the chief operating officer at the Pentagon, a member of the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council, and a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Partnership Council on labor-management issues. In earlier Pentagon assignments, deLeon served as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness from 1997 to 2000 and as undersecretary of the air force from 1994 to 1997.

From November 1985 through 1993, deLeon served as a member of the professional staff and staff director for the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. In 1986, deLeon participated in the debate and passage of the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which made fundamental changes in military organization and operations. DeLeon began his career in the federal government in 1975, holding various staff positions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

For five years, beginning in 2001, he served as a senior vice president for the Boeing Company, focusing on global trade issues and Washington, D.C., operations.

In addition to his duties at American Progress during the past five years, deLeon chaired the 2009 U.S. Department of Defense review of the civilian National Security Personnel System, was a member of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Congressional Commission, and currently serves on the Defense Policy Board.

DeLeon earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1974. In 1984, he completed the executive program in national and international security at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

DeLeon received the Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 1994, 1995, and 2001 and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in 2001. He was recognized by the National League of POW/MIA Families in 1999 and by the National Military Family Association in 2000.

Latest by Rudy deLeon

Dealing with a Proactive China Article
U.S. President Barack Obama stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as the U.S. national anthem is played during a welcome ceremony in Beijing on November 12, 2014. (AP/Ng Han Guan)

Dealing with a Proactive China

China’s growing assertiveness creates opportunities and challenges for the United States.

Melanie Hart, Rudy deLeon, Brian Harding

Harry Truman and the Politics of a National Security Strategy Report
President Harry S. Truman broadcasts a message opening the conference that would form the United Nations in San Francisco on April 25, 1945. (AP/File)

Harry Truman and the Politics of a National Security Strategy

The experiences of the Truman administration—when a president tried to balance policy and politics during a time of great international challenges—can inform today’s foreign policy debate.

Rudy deLeon, Aarthi Gunasekaran

Exploring Avenues for China-U.S. Cooperation on the Middle East Report
A boat carrying tourists and locals sails in the Nile River at sunset in Aswan, Egypt, April 2015. (AP/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

Exploring Avenues for China-U.S. Cooperation on the Middle East

This September, a major bilateral summit that brings the leaders of both China and the United States together will offer another opening to deepen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both countries, as well as the rest of the world.

Rudy deLeon, YANG Jiemian

The Plight of Christians in the Middle East Report
Children hold candles during a vigil in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on March 1, 2015, held in solidarity with Christians abducted in Syria and Iraq. (AP/Hussein Malla)

The Plight of Christians in the Middle East

Some of the world's oldest Christian communities are disappearing in the very lands where their faith was born. The status of Christians in the Middle East is an important sign of broader regional trends in religious freedom, pluralism, and tolerance.

Brian Katulis, Rudy deLeon, John B. Craig

A Perspective from the United States on the Impact of International Strategies in the Gulf Security Apparatus Testimony
U.S. Navy Commander Jason Salata of Santa Ana, California, points to a map ahead of a briefing for journalists at the U.S. Navy base in Manama, Bahrain, September 20, 2012. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

A Perspective from the United States on the Impact of International Strategies in the Gulf Security Apparatus

Rudy deLeon makes remarks at the two-day Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate on regional security in the Gulf, offering his perspectives on the geopolitical questions that are affecting international players from the United States to China, as well as organizations from NATO to the European Union.

Rudy deLeon

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