Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Welcomes Kelly Magsamen as New Vice President for National Security and International Policy
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Welcomes Kelly Magsamen as New Vice President for National Security and International Policy

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress announced that Kelly Magsamen will join CAP as the new vice president for National Security and International Policy. Magsamen will oversee CAP’s work on global security at a critical time for the United States.

“Kelly Magsamen is an outstanding and effective national security leader who has faced our nation’s most challenging problems at the White House, Pentagon, and Department of State,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of CAP. “As Donald Trump continues to increase the risk of war and to isolate America while gutting critical diplomatic tools, Kelly will ensure that CAP provides a smart alternative strategy for American leadership in the 21st century. I am thrilled to have Kelly take the reins of our national security work.”

Vikram Singh, the current vice president for National Security and International Policy at CAP, will continue to work with the organization as a senior adviser on national security, democracy, and technology, as he begins work on a book.

“I am thankful for Vikram’s tremendous work to transform and build CAP’s National Security and International Policy team over the past three years,” Tanden added. “Vikram created our outstanding Asia policy team; increased our focus on rising challenges from Russia and China to nuclear nonproliferation; and integrated national security work with CAP’s energy and environment, economic policy, and immigration teams. Vikram has been a vital part of CAP leadership, and I look forward continuing our partnership.”

Magsamen was most recently principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and also performed the duties of assistant secretary of defense, where she was responsible for defense and security policy for all of Asia and served as the principal Asia policy adviser to the secretary of defense. In these roles, Magsamen shaped Department of Defense policy and strategy in the South China Sea and was responsible for strengthening and modernizing U.S. alliances and partnerships in the region. She was also integral to developing U.S. strategy and policy in Afghanistan and South Asia.

Prior to her tenure at the Pentagon, Magsamen served on the national security 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 strategic planning and helped craft the 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy. From 2011 to 2012, she served as senior adviser for Middle East reform. As director for Iran from 2008 to 2011, she was responsible for coordination of U.S. policy on Iran, including diplomatic, economic, defense, and intelligence efforts.

Magsamen started her government career at the Department of State, where she worked on Iraq policy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2005 to 2007 and served as special assistant and chief of staff to the counselor from 2007 to 2008.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Sam Hananel at or 202.478.6327.