June 11, 2021:Chidi Blyden is the new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs. Ms. Blyden is an expert and socio-cultural advisor on Africa’s conflicts, security, and development issues. She served in the Obama Administration as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs from 2013-2017, where she managed several functional and regional responsibilities including U.S.-Africa defense policy for East and Central Africa, served as the Africa Peacekeeping Advisor to the Stability and Humanitarian Affairs office, and was the department’s lead on the President’s Africa Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP) initiative. Ms. Blyden began her career in security studies at the National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) as the Senior Academic Research Associate and Academic Operations Coordinator. She was the first Africa Director at the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) where she led the design and implementation of culture-specific training for the Nigerian Armed Forces on civilian harm. Ms. Blyden has also served on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Policy Team. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in the Security Studies Program. Ms. Blyden holds a BSc in Sociology from Texas A&M University, and a MSc in Conflict, Analysis, and Resolution from the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.