President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his intent to nominate Dr. Celeste Wallander to be assistant secretary for International Security Affairs at the Defense Department, naming an expert in Russian and Eurasian affairs to advise the secretary of defense on international strategy.
Wallander is currently president and CEO of the U.S.-Russian Foundation (USRF), which works to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Russia through private sector connections, and develop the private sector in Russia.
Wallander served on the White House National Security Council from 2013 until 2017 as special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia and Central Asia, and between 2009 and 2013 was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. She also has been a professor at American University, Georgetown University and Harvard, and was director for Russia/Eurasia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The USRF lists among its accomplishments the funding of over 75 small projects in Russia in the areas of mediation, bankruptcy, legal education, legal clinics, microfinance, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
The current acting assistant secretary for International Security Affairs at DoD is Mara Karlin. The assistant services as the principal advisor to the under secretary of defense for policy and the secretary of defense on international security strategy and policy for nations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and for security cooperation and foreign military sales programs in these regions.