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Simone Ledeen

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Middle East Institute


Simone Ledeen is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East. Ms. Ledeen was responsible for US Department of Defense Policy for Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Previously she served as the Principal Director to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism. In this capacity, she provided oversight of the employment of special operations forces in counterterrorism, Military Information Support Operations (MISO), Information Operations, unconventional warfare, irregular warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter proliferation, sensitive special operations and personnel recovery/hostage issues as specified by the Secretary of Defense.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Ledeen served as an Executive Director at Standard Chartered Bank where she led the successful launch of the bank’s multi-national financial crime compliance program in Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan.

For over a decade, Ms. Ledeen served in various US Government positions. From 2009-2010, Ms. Ledeen was the Senior US Treasury Representative to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. She began her government career in 2003 as an Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance in Baghdad, where she served as part of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Ms. Ledeen has an MBA from the Bocconi University School of Management in Milan, Italy and a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors from Brandeis University.