On November 28, Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Fall 2017 Congressional Partnership Program with Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South and Central Asia, Lisa Curtis. Ms. Curtis discussed U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Lisa Curtis was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South and Central Asia on April 24, 2017. She advises the President and the National Security Advisor and guides the U.S. inter-agency policy process on U.S. interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan.
Prior to serving at the National Security Council, Lisa focused on U.S. national security interests and regional geopolitics as senior research fellow on South Asia in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Her research focused on the U.S.-India strategic and defense partnership, U.S. counterterrorism policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and trends in Islamist extremism and religious freedom throughout the region. In this role, she regularly testified before Congress and appeared on major media outlets to discuss U.S. policy in South Asia.
Before joining Heritage in August 2006, Curtis worked for the U.S. government on South Asian issues for 16 years. From 2003 to 2006, she was a member of the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she was in charge of the South Asia portfolio for the chairman at the time, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).
From 2001 to 2003, Curtis was the White House-appointed senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, where she advised on political developments and Indo-Pakistani relations. Before that, she worked as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and, in the mid-1990s, served as a diplomat in the U.S. embassies in Pakistan and India.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Curtis received a bachelor’s degree in economics at Indiana University.