Michelle Strucke Joins CSIS as Senior Fellow and Director of Humanitarian Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 7, 2023 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today announced that Michelle Strucke has been named senior fellow and director of the CSIS Humanitarian Agenda.

Strucke, who most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships, brings more than a decade of experience at the intersection of human rights, humanitarian and development assistance reform, and security policy. Her multi-disciplinary expertise spans senior-level White House appointments in government and leading roles in the non-profit sector. Under her leadership, the CSIS Humanitarian Agenda will continue to serve as a leading resource for policymakers, while growing and adapting to the changing landscape of humanitarian assistance.

“With devastating humanitarian crises playing out around the globe, the work of the CSIS Humanitarian Agenda is as important as ever,” said John J. Hamre, CSIS president and CEO. “Michelle’s visionary and empathetic leadership, matched with her pioneering work throughout the public sector, uniquely positions her to lead the Humanitarian Agenda’s research and programming, and to build out the Center’s work on critical humanitarian aspects of geopolitics and security.”

Before joining CSIS, Strucke served as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Policy, from 2022 to 2023. In this role, she led the development of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) policy and strategy for humanitarian assistance and disaster response, including the Department’s COVID-19 global response, human rights issues and international humanitarian law, security cooperation, and women, peace and security. Prior to this role, she served as Principal Director for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs at DoD in 2021. There she oversaw policy on civilian protection and peacekeeping and stability operations, among other issues. She played a pivotal role initiating historic, systemic reform efforts at DoD to improve civilian harm mitigation and security cooperation. She also launched DoD’s first learning agenda for security cooperation.

Prior to government service, Strucke served for a decade in civil society. From 2014 to 2021, she held multiple roles at Oxfam America, including Senior Policy Manager for Aid and Development Finance from 2018 to 2021. In this capacity, she led Oxfam’s efforts to advance policy and programmatic reforms for U.S. and European development and humanitarian assistance globally, and supported humanitarian and human rights programs in the Middle East, Central America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Before working at Oxfam, Strucke led public affairs and served as lead United Nations representative for Islamic Relief USA from 2013 to 2014. She served as the first director of grants and policy advocacy at the Syrian American Medical Society from 2011 to 2012.

From 2016 to 2021, Strucke was a Virginia gubernatorial appointee, serving as Vice-Chair of the Virginia Council on Women. In this role, she led the Council’s efforts to contribute to the elimination of racial disparities in maternal mortality in Virginia.

“I’ve seen firsthand how lives are at stake when foreign policy decision makers and systems fail to adequately consider humanitarian issues. And I’ve also seen how policymakers can use humanitarian assistance to transform people’s lives for the better. I’m honored to join the Center for Strategic and International Studies at this decisive moment in our history,” said Michelle Strucke. “As crises converge and impact millions of people around the world, CSIS’s ability to bring together policy agendas that are too often siloed is vital to finding solutions to seemingly intractable challenges. People caught in the middle of conflicts and crises demand nothing less.”

The CSIS Humanitarian Agenda is committed to informing policy solutions to novel humanitarian challenges through expert dialogue and analysis and to developing and advancing avenues for improving humanitarian response and increasing humanitarian access. To learn more about CSIS’s Humanitarian Agenda, visit here.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.