Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, International Security Program, and Director, Cooperative Defense Project
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
Melissa Dalton is a senior fellow and deputy director of the
CSIS International Security Program (ISP) and director of the Cooperative
Defense Project (CDP). Her CDP research focuses on reinforcing the principled
foundations of U.S. defense policy and military operations. She also frequently
conducts research and writes on security cooperation with allies and partners
and U.S. defense policy in the Middle East. As deputy director, she advises the
ISP director on a broad range of strategic and management issues. She manages
the daily operations of ISP, including a team of 50 resident staff and an
extensive network of nonresident affiliates.
Prior to joining CSIS in 2014, 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 undersecretary 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. Prior to her DoD service, she taught English to middle and high
school students in Damascus, Syria, in 2006. From 2003 to 2005, she served as
an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Ms. Dalton holds a
B.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in
international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced
International Studies. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and
was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow.