Wendy R. Anderson

Nat Sec Expert/Former DoD/Comms

General Information

Washington, DC
Eastern Time (US & Canada)


Wendy R. Anderson has more than 20 years’experience in defense, foreign policy, homeland security, and intelligence.

Anderson is a highly-experienced, widely-recognized expert with detailed insider knowledge at senior levels about how government works and how to navigate it effectively. She is known by associates in Washington and around the world for her critical insights, competence, exceptional judgment, quick grasp of new concepts, and ability to perceive and actualize emerging opportunities.

She is recognized as a trusted adviser and counselor to senior leaders in government, the private sector, think tanks, and academia, and maintains a wide and deep network based on eleven years in the executive and legislative branches in Washington and more than twenty years living and working abroad on some of the world's most vexing challenges.

From 2010 to April 2015, Anderson served in the Obama administration in key leadership roles in the Departments of Defense and Commerce, including as Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (the current Secretary of Defense), and Chief of Staff to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.  

While at the Defense Department, Anderson was twice awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Department’s highest civilian service award, presented by Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel. Anderson's "leadership ability, strategic vision, policy mastery, political judgment, integrity, and indomitable spirit" were recognized by Secretary Leon Panetta and Deputy Secretary Ash Carter as "a driving force behind solving many of the most complicated management challenges facing the Department.” In July 2014, National Journal described Anderson as one of the “25 Women Who Shape National Policy,” one of five singled out for her leadership in defense.

Prior to that, from 2004 to 2010, she held a number of senior positions in the United States Senate, serving as professional staff on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, managing the international security portfolio, and was lead staff on South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India) and the Middle East. During her Senate tenure, she also worked for Senators Barbara Mikulski, Tom Carper, and Frank Lautenberg, on intelligence, defense, homeland security, and veterans and foreign affairs.

Prior to her time in government, she served as Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. While there, she worked on conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction in South Asia, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. In this role, Anderson coordinated with government and business leaders, journalists and educators,and local organizations in the Balkans, Burundi, Cyprus, India, Israel and the West Bank, Northern Ireland, and Rwanda.

She currently serves as Partner and Managing Director of Military and National Security Initiatives at Strong Eagle Media (SEM), an LA-based media company committed to producing films chronicling the stories of American troops who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is an Executive Producer on two films about the central role of the National Guardand Special Ops Forces in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Citizen Soldier and Danger Close – which will be released in August 2016 and May 2017, respectively. She is also an adjunct Senior Fellow of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Anderson’s analysis and commentary has been sought by ABC News, The Washington Post, FOX News,Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Times, among others. Her writing has appeared in a number of media outlets, including POLITICO.  She herself has been featured in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, POLITICO’s The KGB File and Morning Defense,Foreign Policy, and National Journal.

Anderson received her Bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College, a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Religion from Harvard Divinity School, and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

She is from North Little Rock, AR, and lives in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA.  Her website is: