Kelly Magsamen Click to download hi-resolution image

Expertise: Asia-Pacific, Middle East, U.S. foreign policy, defense policy

Kelly Magsamen is the vice president for National Security and International Policy at American Progress.

Prior to joining American Progress, she served in various national security positions. From 2014 to 2017, Magsamen was the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and performed the duties of assistant secretary of defense. In these positions, she was a lead adviser to the secretary of defense for U.S. defense policy and strategy across the Indo-Asia-Pacific, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prior to her tenure at the Pentagon, Magsamen served on the National Security Council (NSC) staff for two presidents and four national security advisers. As special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning from 2012 to 2014, she was responsible for long-term planning and helped craft the 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy. From 2011 to 2012, she served as senior adviser for Middle East reform during the height of the Arab Spring. As NSC director for Iran from 2008 to 2011, she was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy on Iran.

Magsamen began her government career as a presidential management fellow at the U.S. State Department, where she worked on Iraq policy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2005 to 2006, at the U.S. Mission to NATO in 2007, and as special assistant and chief of staff to the counselor from 2007 to 2008.

Magsamen received her bachelor’s degree from American University and her master’s from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Department of Defense, the Agency Seal Medal from the CIA, and multiple Superior Honor Awards from the State Department. Magsamen also currently serves on the Advisory Board for Foreign Policy for America, the Advisory Council of National Security Action, and the Policy and Strategy Advisory Board for the Texas National Security Review. She is a frequent national security commentator on CNN and MSNBC.

By Kelly Magsamen
4 Ways Congress Can Amend the Insurrection ActCenter for American ProgressJune 12, 2020
International Lessons Learned From Coronavirus ReopeningsCenter for American ProgressMay 6, 2020
Politics Should Not Determine if Americans Receive Aid To Combat CoronavirusCenter for American ProgressApril 3, 2020
The US Should Be Leading the Global Response to the Coronavirus CrisisCenter for American ProgressMarch 26, 2020
To Respond to the Coronavirus, Trump Should Take 6 Immediate Steps on the Defense Production ActCenter for American ProgressMarch 19, 2020
How the Pentagon Should Get into the Coronavirus Fight at HomeDefense OneMarch 17, 2020
The State of U.S. National Security Is Not Strong Under TrumpCenter for American ProgressFebruary 3, 2020
CAP National Security Conference RecapCenter for American ProgressJanuary 21, 2020
How to Avoid Another War in the Middle EastForeign AffairsJanuary 4, 2020
Congress must exercise its power to ensure America has no war with IranThe HillAugust 19, 2019
Fact Sheet: The Case for a New U.S. Relationship with AfghanistanCenter for American ProgressJuly 29, 2019
The Case for a New U.S. Relationship with AfghanistanCenter for American ProgressJuly 29, 2019
The Trump Administration’s 10 Most Dangerous Actions Concerning IranCenter for American ProgressMay 21, 2019
Here’s What a Progressive China Strategy Would Look LikeForeign PolicyMay 10, 2019
Limit, Leverage, and Compete: A New Strategy on ChinaCenter for American ProgressApril 3, 2019
A national security agenda to rebuild American leadershipThe HillJanuary 1, 2019
Secretary Mattis, Defend This or ResignDefense OneOctober 30, 2018
Save Global Democracy By Saving American DemocracyCrooked MediaOctober 2, 2018
Securing a Democratic WorldCenter for American ProgressSeptember 5, 2018
Destroying the Foundations of U.S. Foreign PolicyCenter for American ProgressJune 28, 2018
Dumping on Democracies, Praising DictatorsCenter for American ProgressJune 12, 2018
An American attack on North Korea will come with epic consequencesThe HillDecember 1, 2017
A Responsible Approach to North KoreaCenter for American ProgressNovember 2, 2017
Save the Iran deal — it’s workingOrlando SentinelOctober 19, 2017
Here’s How to Build an Alternative Agenda in the Age of Donald TrumpForeign PolicySeptember 6, 2017