Special Coordinator for Afghanistan
U.S. Department of Defense
Lisa C. Sawyer is a graduate of Baylor University with a B.A. in international studies and a BIC alumna, and holds an M.A. in international affairs from George Washington University.
Lisa C. Sawyer is the Special Coordinator for Afghanistan, reporting directly to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. The Office of the Special Coordinator for Afghanistan (OSCA) was established in April 2023 to manage all defense policy matters involving Afghanistan and to serve as the official DoD liaison to the Congressionally-mandated Afghanistan War Commission.
Ms. Sawyer joins DoD after two years at the White House, where she served as Special Advisor to the Vice President. In this position, she directly supported Vice President Harris on all matters related to Europe, Russia, and defense; including policy deliberations associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, foreign leader calls and engagements, multiple trips to Europe, and other efforts aimed at strengthening Transatlantic relations.
Prior to joining the Biden-Harris administration, Ms. Sawyer was the Vice President for International Policy at JPMorgan Chase, where she managed a global portfolio with an emphasis on China and the Middle East. From 2015-2017, Ms. Sawyer was a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) with a focus on defense strategy and European security.
Ms. Sawyer began her career as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and has held a number of positions over many years of government service. Ms. Sawyer served on the National Security Council staff as director for NATO and European strategic affairs, where she led the U.S. government’s preparations for the NATO Summit in Wales and managed the development of plans and force posture adjustments to enhance readiness and reassure allies following Russia’s 2014 aggression in Ukraine. Within OSD-Policy, she previously served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA), NATO Policy Adviser, and Director for North Africa throughout the Arab Spring. She has also served at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul and at NATO headquarters in Brussels, among other assignments.
Ms. Sawyer has testified on security policy before committees in the House and Senate and her analysis has been featured in major news outlets such as the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, MSNBC, and others.