The Cable

Names: Craig Mullaney to USAID

A top Obama military policy advisor and Afghanistan war veteran is moving from the Pentagon to take up a senior position at the US Agency for International Development. Craig Mullaney was a key Obama campaign advisor and part of Obama’s Pentagon transition team. Until today, he was the principal director for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central ...

A top Obama military policy advisor and Afghanistan war veteran is moving from the Pentagon to take up a senior position at the US Agency for International Development.

Craig Mullaney was a key Obama campaign advisor and part of Obama’s Pentagon transition team. Until today, he was the principal director for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia at the Office of the Secretary of Defense policy shop. Starting Monday, he will be USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s senior advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan issues.

The move is a step up for Mullaney, who was a natural fit for the OSD policy job but always had a preference for intellectual policy work over the largely administrative tasks that a desk officer is subsumed with on a daily basis.

"The job he’s had in the Pentagon was to make the trains run on time, which was great for learning the interagency process, but at USAID he will more of an opportunity to be doing more of the policy work he loves," said Andrew Exum, a friend who also works at the Center for a New American Security.

Before signing on the Obama presidential campaign, Mullaney was a West Point grad, Rhodes scholar, and Army Ranger. He earned the Bronze Star and several other medals during his time leading an infantry rifle platoon on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2003.

After coming home from war, he taught at the Naval Academy and wrote the book "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education," which his personal website describes as "an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of his hard-earned knowledge while coming to grips with becoming a man," and the New York Times described as Mullaney’s "attempt to reconcile the precombat lessons that seemed so clear to him with the exigencies of battlefield experience."

While at Oxford in 2000, Mullaney met his future wife Meena Seshamani, a key player in Obama’s healthcare initiative and the Director of Policy Analysis at the Office of Health Reform at HHS.

Here is the video trailer for Mullaney’s book:

 

Find him on twitter here.

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