Shannon Culbertson is a visiting fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow (IAF). During her IAF, Shannon is focused on the future of special operations forces in great power competition. In addition, she also contributes to ongoing work at CSIS on the Middle East, counterterrorism, and use of force considerations.
Shannon is on leave from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where she has been a civil servant for a decade. She was most recently deputy director for Korea, where she was the lead for North Korea and staff lead for U.S.-North Korea negotiations. Before that, she completed a one-year tour on the staff of the National Security Council as the director for Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus from July 2016 to July 2017. In that position, she was the principal adviser to two presidents and three national security advisors on all issues related to the Aegean region, including Turkey's role in the counter-Islamic State campaign. Shannon joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2008 and spent the first five years in the Office of Special Operations and Combatting Terrorism in various counterterrorism positions on operational and programmatic issues. She holds a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University with a concentration in international security policy and an undergraduate degree in international studies and history from Emory University.