Over the past 16 years, Deborah Alexander has served in a range of progressively senior positions at the U.S. Department of State, with key positions also at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Joint Forces Command, and the Organization for Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Before Afghanistan, she served in several countries experiencing conflict or political transition, such as Bosnia, Somalia, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Pakistan, and Kosovo. In these assignments, her work focused on elections, governance, stabilization, women’s advancement, and civil/military relations.
Deborah returned from Afghanistan last year after serving nine years as a senior policy advisor — probably the longest-serving civilian for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. She recently left the State Department, taking a post as a senior subject matter expert and mentor with IDS International and the U.S. Army’s Joint Regional Training Center (at Fort Polk, Louisiana) and its National Training Center (at Fort Irwin, California). She also consults with OSCE and will be in Ukraine in May. In Afghanistan, Alexander was part of an interagency team that oversaw field operations — a team that included more than 400 civilian colleagues working at 80-plus locations throughout Afghanistan.
She has served in many other critical roles: first U.S. deputy head of mission during the U.S. Marines counterinsurgency surge in the strategically key province of Helmand (south Afghanistan); principal advisor for Afghanistan’s historic elections, creating partnerships for the successful conduct of national elections that were deemed secure, legitimate, and credible; and first USAID field program officer in Afghanistan embedded with Special Operations forces.
Among Alexander’s other career achievements was time spent as a Fulbright scholar in Calcutta, India, serving with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity; and a 10-year career as a Syracuse and New York State government official prior to her international career.