Wilson Center Experts
Stephen Johnson is the Director, Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Republican Institute. He formerly served as the director of the CSIS Americas Program. He has more than 20 years of experience in Western Hemisphere affairs spanning policymaking, policy advocacy, and public affairs in the Department of Defense, the Washington policy community, the State Department, and the U.S. Air Force. From 2007 to 2009, he served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs. He oversaw the development and execution of policies, strategies, and programs governing hemispheric defense and security ties, involving two regional combat commands and three military academic institutions. From 1999 to 2006, he served as a senior foreign policy analyst at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, testifying before Congress and authoring studies on Latin American politics, trade, and security, as well as public diplomacy and immigration.
Mr. Johnson has spoken at numerous conferences in the United States and Latin America. His commentaries have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Business Week, and Diario Las Américas. His broadcast appearances have included CNN en Español, Univisión, Telemundo, C-SPAN, and MSNBC. He also served in the Bureaus of Inter-American and Public Affairs at the Department of State. A retired U.S. Air Force officer, he was a pilot and a military attaché. As a member of the Air Force Reserve, he served in the Office of Public Affairs of the Secretary of the Air Force and at U.S. Southern Command. He has lived in El Salvador, Honduras, and Uruguay and observed elections in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Nicaragua. He holds a B.A. from the University of Wyoming and an M.A.L.S. from Georgetown University.