Lisa Sawyer Samp

Lisa Sawyer Samp is a Senior Fellow in CSIS’s International Security Program, and formerly the Director for NATO and European Strategic Affairs at the National Security Council.

Lisa Sawyer Samp is a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she focuses on defense strategy and European security. Her research areas include NATO, Europe/Russia, and defense strategy and posture. Prior to joining CSIS, Ms. Samp served on the National Security Council staff as director for NATO and European strategic affairs from 2014 to 2015, where she coordinated U.S. policy in preparation for the NATO Summit in Wales and managed the development of plans and force posture assessments to bolster alliance readiness and reassure allies following Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. Before her time at the White House, she worked as chief of staff to the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, advising on a range of issues related to U.S. defense policy in the Middle East, Europe, Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. While at the Pentagon, she also held the positions of NATO policy adviser and director for North Africa in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, supporting the full range of defense policy activities related to the 2011 military intervention in Libya. Ms. Samp joined the Department of Defense as a Presidential Management Fellow, serving at International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul and at NATO headquarters in Brussels, among other assignments. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Baylor University with a B.A. in international studies and holds an M.A. in international affairs and development from George Washington University.

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