The Women and National Security Speaker series will feature distinguished foreign policy and national security experts and will aim to highlight a range of important policy issues including counterterrorism, Middle East political reform, nonproliferation, economic development, human rights, and other pressing topics. This series will not only feature female practitioners of national security and foreign policy but also be part of a broader conservation about how the advancement of gender equality is a moral and strategic imperative of U.S. foreign policy.
Mary Beth Long is the first-ever Senate confirmed female Assistant Secretary of Defense and worked directly with Secretaries of Defense Rumsfeld and Gates on the Department’s highest priority issues. She represented the Secretary of Defense with his foreign counterparts, and at the National Security Council and the White House and was one of the Secretary’s key advisors.
In the last year, Ms. Long served as a Senior Advisor to NATO on irregular warfare and hybrid threats and provided the Department of Defense with support on the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Threat Financing. She has been called upon by the Marine Corps, Joint Forces Command, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and others. Ms. Long currently provides advice or support to several Fortune 50 companies. She travels regularly to the Middle East, Europe and Afghanistan. Ms. Long is co-owner of the Askari Digest, the first Arabic language defense and security digest specifically customized for select clients.
While at the Department of Defense, Ms. Long worked closely at senior levels with State, Treasury, CIA, DNI and NSA. She held various positions during which she was the Department’s primary policy advisor responsible for the Middle East (including Egypt and Yemen), Africa, Europe, Latin America (including the Tri-Border Area), Asia and Southeast Asia (including China and India), as well as for Coalition Affairs and Strategic Communications. She also was appointed the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter-narcotics in 2004 and oversaw the Department’s counter narco-terrorism efforts with direct responsibility for funds in excess of $1 billion. In 2008, Ms. Long was selected to chair the Defense Department’s initial training of Afghan police and serve as the senior Department representative to the Saudi Arabia Counter Terrorism Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Small Group under the auspices of the National Security Council and CENTCOM. She was the senior civilian architect of the Department’s role in Infrastructure Protection initiatives and met with the Kingdom’s senior most Ministry of Interior representatives on CIP. Ms. Long co-led Department’s annual strategic discussions with the KSA Ministry of Defense and accompanied Secretaries Gates and Rice to the Kingdom for strategic talks with His Majesty and his staff.
Ms. Long adds to her Defense credentials over a decade of CIA hands-on operational work against terrorists, weapons of mass destruction and other priority national security issues abroad. She successfully completed the Clandestine Operations in Dangerous Areas course (CODA) and paramilitary training. She is the recipient of numerous CIA awards.
Ms. Long has a J.D. and is a licensed lawyer with experience at one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms in the areas of due diligence, attorney malpractice and securities law. She currently specializes in ITAR, FCPA and legal issues related to exports and business abroad.
In 2010, Ms. Long received the Department’s highest civilian honors from both Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen.
She is a Distinguished Scholar at Penn State and has received a number of civilian and business leadership awards. Ms. Long has appeared on Fox News, BBC and NPR on Middle East matters. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Ms. Long has extensive Public Affairs and Congressional testimony and reporting experience. In 2011, the Romney Campaign for President announced selection of Ms. Long as co-chair of its Middle East Committee and as an advisor.