Celeste Ward Gventer works as a consultant on defense organization, management, and institution building in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and writes and consults on a variety of defense and security issues. She has most recently been working in the United Arab Emirates on defense organization and transformation, and with the Defense Institution Building (DIB) program in Ukraine. She has also worked in Moldova, Romania, Georgia, Montenegro, and Iraq on a range of defense organization and management issues.
Based in Naples, Italy, she is also a non-resident National Security Fellow at the William P. Clements Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft at the University of Texas (UT), and an adjunct analyst with the RAND Corporation.
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; during that time she was also asked to serve as Acting Principal Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.
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. She also worked in Iraq in 2003 – 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority, where she assisted in the creation and stand-up of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and was an assistant to the Iraqi National Security Advisor.
Celeste received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Stanford University, a Master of Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in International History at UT. She 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. Celeste is married to a U.S. Army officer.