Celeste Ward Gventer - Institute for Security Governance
Advising & Consulting Division
Advising & Consulting Division
Ms. Celeste Ward Gventer joined the Advising and Consulting (A&C) Division of the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) in August 2021 as a Senior Lecturer and Regional Program Lead for Europe. She works with several partner nations in the Balkans and Eastern Europe on Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) of their defense and security institutions.
Ms. Gventer has over two decades' experience as a national security professional with service in government, academia, and the private sector, both in the United States and overseas. She was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Bush Administration.
Ms. Gventer came to ISG from her position as a 2020-2021 postdoctoral Fellow at the Albritton Center for Grand Strategy (CGS) at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, where she also taught a course in national security policy to graduate students. She joined CGS after teaching public policy and writing at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas (UT), and after finishing her PhD in History at UT. Her dissertation explored the history of American thinking about defense organization, with a focus on the 1958 Defense Reorganization Act and the events leading up to it. Prior to returning to Texas in 2018, she worked as a consultant on defense organization, management, and institution building in Eastern Europe and the Middle East while residing in Italy and Germany -- much of this work was for ISG’s predecessor organization(s). From 2007 to 2009, Celeste served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations Capabilities in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. For part of that time, she was dual hatted as the Acting Principal Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Capabilities. She joined the Defense Department after her second tour in Iraq, where she was the political-military advisor to the Multinational Corps-Iraq commander from 2005-2006, then-LTG Peter Chiarelli. She also worked in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority, where she helped design and create a new Iraqi Ministry of Defense. Celeste has worked as a Senior Defense Analyst at RAND, a Special Assistant to the Counselor of the State Department, a Strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as a Defense Analyst at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, where she focused on strategic nuclear forces and missile defense systems.
Celeste received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Stanford University, a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a PhD in History from UT. She is currently completing a certificate in Cybersecurity through the UT/Socratic Arts professional development program. Celeste is the recipient of the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal, the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. She is married to an active-duty U.S. Army Colonel, who is currently the commander of Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
- Security & Defense Planning
- Change Management