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Rachel Ellehuus

Senior Advisor

Former Principal Director for European and NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense

Rachel Ellehuus works as Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for Europe at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

From 2015-2018, she served as Principal Director for European and NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon, and from January to May 2017, served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy. In these roles, Rachel was the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs on all security and defense issues related to NATO and European affairs. Her office managed the Department’s activities in NATO, cooperation with the EU, and bilateral relationships with 32 European countries, covering issues such as NATO adaptation, US basing in Europe, NATO-EU relations, Brexit, the Arctic, and Turkey. Prior to this, she served as Director for South and Central Europe and as a Strategist in the Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities office. In October 2018, she was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

From 2009 to 2012, Rachel was an Exchange Officer in the London where she was assigned to the Strategy Unit in the UK Ministry of Defense. In this capacity, she worked on the UK’s 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review.

Prior to her time in government, Rachel was a researcher at the Danish Institute of International Affairs in Copenhagen, Denmark and worked at the EastWest Institute in Prague, Czech Republic.

She received her B.A. in International Relations and German from Colgate University and her M.A. in political science and European affairs from the College of Europe (Bruges/Natolin). She has also studied German at the University of Freiburg in Germany and international negotiations Oxford University’s Said School of Business.