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Names: Thompson to OSD Policy

Drew Thompson, a top China scholar at the Center for the National Interest (a.k.a., the Nixon Center), is entering the administration to become the Defense Department’s director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs. Thompson announced his move in an e-mail to friends on Friday. “As you might imagine ...

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Drew Thompson, a top China scholar at the Center for the National Interest (a.k.a., the Nixon Center), is entering the administration to become the Defense Department’s director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Thompson announced his move in an e-mail to friends on Friday. “As you might imagine it has been a wonderful experience for me and it was a difficult decision to leave, but I look forward to new challenges and working with new my colleagues at DOD,” he wrote.

Thompson will work under Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Schiffer. Assistant Secretary Gen. Chip Gregson has left the Pentagon, and while some reports say that former NSC Chief of Staff Mark Lippert is slated to replace him, our sources say that no final decision on that front has been made. Meanwhile, Derek Mitchell is the acting assistant secretary, but he’s soon to be named Obama’s Special Envoy to Burma. 

Thompson is supposed to begin work at the Pentagon on Monday, but that could be delayed if the government shuts down tonight. While it is likely that he would be deemed “essential,” the human resources and administration staff who would have to process the paperwork on his first day are likely not.

Before joining the Center for the National Interest, Thompson was national director of the China-MSD HIV/AIDS Partnership in Beijing and, before that, assistant director to the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He lived in Shanghai from 1993 to 1998 and once even worked as president of a Washington, D.C.-based company that manufactured snack food in Qingdao, China.

For a taste of Thompson’s work, read his January piece for Foreign Policy, entitled, “Hu’s Really in Control in China?

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin