History Department
History Department

Celeste Gventer


Master of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; B.A. Stanford University

Celeste Gventer

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Biography


Celeste Ward Gventer recently returned to the 40 Acres after five years in Europe. She is a Ph.D. candidate in History and the Associate Director of the Clements Center for National Security (https://www.clementscenter.org) at UT. While she was away, she worked as a consultant on defense organization, management, and institution building in Eastern Europe and the Middle East while based in Italy and Germany from 2013 - 2018, and has continued to write and consult on a variety of defense and security issues. In particular she worked in the United Arab Emirates and with the Defense Institution Building (DIB) program in Ukraine. She played a leading role in a major redesign of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense with the RAND Corporation. She also worked in Moldova, Romania, Georgia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Iraq on a range of defense organization and management issues. She remains an adjunct analyst with RAND. In her spare time, she has recently launched a new venture, Grant Patton (www.grantpatton.com), which designs and manufacturers elegant military-themed accessories. 

From 2010 to 2013, she was the Associate Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center at the LBJ School.

Previously, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations Capabilities in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She joined the Defense Department after her second tour in Iraq, where she was the political-military advisor to the Multinational Corps-Iraq commander from 2005-2006. She also worked in Iraq in 2003 – 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority, where she assisted in the creation and stand-up of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and was an assistant to the Iraqi National Security Advisor.

Celeste has also worked as a Senior Defense Analyst at RAND, as Special Assistant to the Counselor of the State Department, as a Strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as a Defense Analyst at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. 

Celeste received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Stanford University, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the recipient of the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal, the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Order of St. Joan D’Arc medallion, the Yellow Rose of Texas, and other public service, volunteer, and community awards. Celeste is married to a U.S. Army officer. She desperately hopes that her return to Texas will allow her to restart her age-group triathlon hobby after a too-long hiatus.

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