Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)) and the Secretary of Defense on international security strategy and policy on issues of DoD interest that relate to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the Middle East, and Africa, their governments and defense establishments; and for oversight of security cooperation programs and foreign military sales programs in these regions.

Responsibilities and Functions

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Secretary of Defense on international security strategy and policy on issues of DoD interest that relate to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the Middle East, and Africa, their governments and defense establishments; and for oversight of security cooperation programs and foreign military sales programs in these regions.

In this capacity, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs shall:

  • Conduct and manage day-to-day, multilateral, regional, and bilateral defense relations with all foreign governments in assigned areas of responsibility.

  • Develop regional security and defense strategy and policy, provide advice, and issue guidance to translate global and functional policies into regional-specific country strategies, and oversee their implementation in coordination with cognizant DoD officials.

  • For countries in assigned areas of responsibility, develop, coordinate, and oversee the implementation of:

    • Defense security policy and management of defense and military relations
    • Policy, plans, and activities, as well as uses of DoD resources engaged in encouraging the development of military capabilities, constitutional democracy and respect for human rights, including civilian control of the military, institutionalizing an appropriate role for the military in a constitutional democracy, and encouraging the development of standards of military professionalism that promote respect for elected civilian authorities and human rights.
    • DoD policy and recommendations concerning security cooperation programs and organizations, foreign military sales, military education and training, and other missions pertaining to security cooperation program relationships.

  • Develop, coordinate, and oversee the implementation of policy related to NATO, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Partnership for Peace, and other institutions with a security dimension including the European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the African Union.

  • Provide policy guidance and oversight to the Defense Advisor, U.S. Mission to NATO, and Representative of the Secretary of Defense Representative to the OSCE on behalf of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Promote coordination, cooperation, and joint planning on nuclear policy and strategy with NATO Allies, in coordination with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities.

  • Support the NATO Nuclear Planning Group and its subordinate body, the High Level Group and chair the High Level Group.

  • Represent the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Secretary of Defense in interagency policy deliberations and international negotiations dealing with assigned areas of responsibility.

  • Monitor and provide policy recommendations related to the conduct of U.S. military operations in the countries or regions of focus or on the participation of such countries in operations outside of the region.

  • Perform such other functions as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy or the Secretary of Defense may prescribe.

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs supervises the:

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO
  • Secretary of Defense Representative in the U.S. Mission to NATO
  • Secretary of Defense Representative to the OSCE

Adapted from DoD Directive Number 5111.7, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, which is currently being updated to reflect changes of responsibilities within Policy.




Leadership

Elissa Slotkin - Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense

Derek CholletElissa Slotkin is currently the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.  She is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Defense on security strategy and policy issues related to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.  She also has oversight for security cooperation programs, including foreign military sales in these regions.

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Contact Information
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for for International Security Affairs
Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301