Mary Beth Long

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

Mary Beth Long is the first-ever Senate-confirmed female assistant secretary of defense and worked directly with Secretaries of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates on the Department of Defense’s highest priority issues. She represented the secretary of defense in front of his foreign counterparts and at the National Security Council and White House.  

 Long recently served as a senior advisor to NATO on irregular warfare and hybrid threats and provided the Department of Defense with support on the Middle East, Afghanistan, and threat financing. She has been called upon by the Marine Corps, Joint Forces Command, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and others. Long currently provides advice or support to several Fortune 50 companies and successfully guided one company to expand its international business from less than $10 million to over $100 million in one year. She travels regularly to the Middle East, Europe, and Afghanistan. 

 While at the Department of Defense, Long was a four-star equivalent and worked closely with the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Agency. Long held various positions in which she was the Department of Defense’s primary policy advisor responsible for the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America (including the tri-border area), Asia and Southeast Asia (including China and India), coalition affairs, and strategic communications. She was appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics in 2004 and oversaw the Department of Defense’s counter-narcoterrorism efforts with direct responsibility for funds in excess of $1 billion. She was the architect of the Department of Defense’s initial efforts to train Afghan police.  

Long received the Department of Defense’s highest civilian honors from both Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. She adds to her defense credentials over a decade of hands-on, operational work with the CIA countering terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and other priority national security issues. She successfully completed the Clandestine Operations in Dangerous Areas course and paramilitary training. She is the recipient of numerous CIA awards. 

 Long holds a JD and is a licensed lawyer with experience at one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms in the areas of due diligence, attorney malpractice, securities law, and other civil litigation matters. 


Long has appeared on Fox News, the BBC, and NPR to discuss the Middle East. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She has extensive experience in public affairs, congressional testimony, and reporting. 

The Future of Security in the Middle East

On April 21, AGSIW and the Middle East Policy Council co-hosted a Capitol Hill conference on security in the Middle East.