Melissa Dalton and Lisa Sawyer Samp Promoted to Senior Fellows in the International Security Program

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2016: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to announce the promotions of Melissa Dalton and Lisa Sawyer Samp to Senior Fellows in CSIS’s International Security Program (ISP).

Melissa Dalton joined CSIS in 2014 as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow and subsequently served as Fellow and ISP Chief of Staff. Her research focuses on U.S. defense policy in the Middle East, global U.S. defense strategy and policy, and security cooperation with U.S. allies and partners. She edited CSIS’s 2016 Global Forecast publication and served as a lead analyst and author of Federated Defense in the Middle East.

Prior to joining CSIS, Ms. Dalton served in a number of positions at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2007 to 2014. She most recently was a senior adviser for force planning, where she contributed to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review and DoD’s planning guidance. Previously, she served as special assistant to the under secretary of defense for policy, as policy adviser to the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan, and as country director for Lebanon and Syria. In 2012, she was a visiting fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

She holds a B.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Lisa Sawyer Samp joined CSIS in November 2015 as a Fellow in the International Security Program. Ms. Samp’s research focuses on defense strategy and European security, including NATO. Ms. Samp was a lead analyst and key author of CSIS’s recent report, Evaluating Future U.S. Army Force Posture in Europe; she is leading a second phase of this analysis, with a report forthcoming this summer.

Ms. Samp previously served on the National Security Council (NSC) staff as director for NATO and European strategic affairs, where she coordinated U.S. policy in preparation for the NATO Summit in Wales and managed the development of plans and force posture assessments to bolster alliance readiness and reassure allies following Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. Prior to the NSC, Ms. Samp worked as chief of staff to the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, advising on a range of issues related to U.S. defense policy in the Middle East, Europe, Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. While at the Pentagon, Ms. Samp also held the positions of NATO policy adviser and director for North Africa in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, supporting the full range of defense policy activities related to the 2011 military intervention in Libya. Ms. Samp joined the Department of Defense as a Presidential Management Fellow, serving at International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul and at NATO headquarters in Brussels, among other assignments.

Ms. Samp graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in international studies from Baylor University and holds an M.A. in international affairs and development from George Washington University.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1962 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and policy solutions to decisionmakers.