Brenan Richards

Next Generation National Security Fellow, 2017

Foreign Affairs Specialist, U.S. Department of Defense

  • Press: nurwitz@cnas.org

Brenan Richards is a Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Brenan is currently serving on a special detail assignment on the Secretary of Defense’s Presidential Administration Transition Task Force. In this capacity, she manages the on-boarding process and development of strategic and policy guidance for the new Administration's senior leadership. From 2013-2016, Brenan served as a Southeast Asia Country Director within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. In that role, she served as an advisor to senior leadership within the Department of Defense for policy matters pertaining to the development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for Southeast Asia. Her area of responsibility included bilateral defense relations with the Philippines and with multilateral regional security forums, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Brenan joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2011 as Country Director for Afghanistan, and prior to that served as a Strategic Forces Analyst for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces. She entered government service through the Presidential Management Fellowship program in 2009.

Brenan has a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Government and History from the University of Virginia and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Brenan is a proud military brat and an on-again-off-again triathlete living in Washington, D.C. with her black Labrador, Tucker.