Jennifer Staats is the director of East and Southeast Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), where she oversees the institute’s work on Burma, China, and North Korea. She joined USIP in 2016 as the director of the China Program, and she continues to lead USIP’s work on China and its impact on peace and security around the world.
Dr. Staats previously spent several years working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where she concentrated on policy issues related to Asia. At the Pentagon, she led the teams that coordinated the Department of Defense’s implementation of the U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and developed long-term strategies for the Department. She also served as a director in the Cyber Policy Office and managed the Asian-Pacific Security Affairs portfolio for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Staats received several awards for her work at DoD, including the Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.
Before entering government service, Staats was a fellow with the International Security Program at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a research assistant with the Preventive Defense Project chaired by Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry.
She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, her MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and her BA from the University of the South (Sewanee). She has been named a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, Fulbright Scholar, NSEP Boren Fellow, Javits Fellow, and NCAA Postgraduate Scholar.