Senior Pentagon official to leave position next week

By Georgina DiNardo / December 11, 2023 at 12:59 PM

The Defense Department announced today that Mara Karlin, assistant defense secretary for strategy, plans and capabilities, will be leaving her role next week for academia.

Karlin, who is also performing the duties of the deputy defense under secretary for policy, will be stepping down from her role after nearly three years. Karlin also served as the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs during her tenure.

Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs, will take over Karlin’s position performing the duties of the deputy defense under secretary for policy.

“I deeply appreciate Dr. Karlin's dedication, strategic acumen, and her profound commitment to public service,” Sasha Baker, acting defense under secretary for policy, wrote in the press release. “Her contributions significantly strengthened the department's strategic approach and preparedness for future security challenges. As Dr. Karlin embarks on her next chapter, we wish her the very best and are confident that her impact on national security will continue to resonate for years to come.”

During her time at the department, Karlin “managed the writing and ongoing implementation of the National Defense Strategy,” according to a press release today.

Karlin also led strategic counsel for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during the creation of a new emerging capabilities policy office; the formation of AUKUS; modernizing U.S. force posture in the Indo-Pacific; reforming the security cooperation workforce; and evolving the Defense Planning Guidance, Guidance for the Employment of the Force as well as the Contingency Planning Guidance, according to the release.

Throughout 2021, Karlin led DOD’s international relations with almost 150 countries in the Middle East, Europe (including NATO), Africa, Russia, Eurasia and the Western Hemisphere.