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Mara Karlin

Professor, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS; Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution


Mara Karlin, PhD served in national security roles 6 secretaries of defense. As Asst. Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, she led the 2022 National Defense Strategy and advised the Secretary of Defense on forces, plans, posture, emerging capabilities, and security cooperation. She was Acting Asst. Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, leading DoD relations with nearly 150 countries. In the Obama and Bush administrations, she focused on strategic planning, defense policy and budgeting, future conflicts, and Middle East and Asian affairs. She was the Strategic Studies Director and an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She wrote two books on military history.

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