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The Honorable Mary Beth Long

Distinguished Fellow


    March 1, 2024 — March 1, 2026

    Professional affiliation

    Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs


    Security and Defense

    Full Biography

    The Honorable Mary Beth Long is a foreign policy and security expert with decades of intelligence and defense-related government service, followed by ongoing successful leadership roles in commercial and multi-lateral negotiations worldwide.

    In her last position in Defense, Ms. Long was the first woman confirmed by the US Senate as an Assistant Secretary of Defense where she led International Security Affairs as a four-star military equivalent. She was also the first female to Chair NATO’s senior most nuclear and missile defense body, the High-Level Group (HLG). In these roles, Ms. Long regularly briefed and represented the secretary of defense with his foreign counterparts as well with the president. She also regularly served as the senior defense official to the National Security Council (NSC). As a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SOLIC), Ms. Long implemented over $1B in capacity-building programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. She received the Department of Defense’s highest civilian honors from Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael G. Mullen.

    To those credentials, Ms. Long adds Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) clandestine operational experience abroad (1986–99), receiving numerous awards. A snapshot of one of her CIA roles can be found in Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior (St. Martin’s Press 2022). After leaving CIA, Ms. Long worked as an associate at Williams & Connolly PLLP where she specialized in civil litigation. She also founded two multimillion-dollar advisory firms that worked with several Fortune 50 companies. In addition, her government contracting company, Metis Solutions, LLC, was included in Forbes Inc. Magazine’s list of Fastest Growing Companies in America before being sold to private equity.

    More recently, Ms. Long was a professor of practice at The Pennsylvania State University’s Graduate School of International Affairs where she taught globalization, foreign policy, and intelligence. She currently serves as member of the university’s global advisory board and has received its highest alumna honors. She remains an active student mentor for the university, as with as through the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS).

    Ms. Long is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Wilson Center. Her ongoing activities
    include international negotiations efforts with global leaders, building on her service as a
    Senior Subject Matter Expert for the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, senior advisor
    to the Minister of Defense of Colombia, and as a member of the US Defense and Aerospace Export Council. Her daily Middle East security digest is read by thousands in English and Arabic. She appears regularly on Voice of America’s Korean Service’s weekly “Washington Talk” program on Asia security issues.

    Finally, Ms. Long serves on commercial boards of directors as well as for charitable organizations. An active member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), she has recently presided over meetings on NATO, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and global threats.