Odyssey Medal

Wendy R. Anderson

Wendy Anderson 2Wendy R. Anderson is the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense at the U.S. Department of Defense. Previously, she served as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics at the Department. Prior to joining the Department in 2010, she served as professional staff on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, managing the international security portfolio for the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, and was lead staff on South Asia and the Middle East. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she was a member of then-Senator Barack Obama’s South Asia Policy Team. 

During her Senate tenure, she also served as the intelligence liaison for Senator Barbara Mikulski on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and as the Defense and Foreign Affairs Advisor for Senator Frank Lautenberg. Early in the 2004 campaign, she was one of the Deputy National Security Issues Coordinators for the national security team of Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

While Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Anderson worked on post-conflict reconstruction in South Asia, the Middle East, and the Great Lakes region of Africa. In this role, she worked in conflict-zones such as the Balkans, Burundi, Cyprus, Israel, West Bank, Northern Ireland, and Rwanda. As a 1993-1994 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient, she studied the prevention of deadly conflict – and the role of religion in it – in Russia, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and India.

Anderson received her B.A. in religion from Hendrix, a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University, and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is a Senior Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. She is also a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations and served on the Council’s 2009-2010 Independent Task Force on Pakistan and Afghanistan.