Dr. Paul J. Angelo assumed his position as Director of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies on June 21, 2022, following his selection by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His previous work at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) included roles as Fellow for Latin America studies and as an International Affairs Fellow. There he focused on US-Latin American relations, transnational crime, security assistance, and immigration.
During his tenure as an International Affairs Fellow, he also represented the US Department of State at the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where he managed the ambassador’s security and justice portfolio. In the Political Section, he provided technical assistance to the Honduran police reform commission; supported strategy development and agenda-setting for Afro-descendent, indigenous, and LGBTQ+ networks to improve civic engagement; and led policy and legal analysis on violence, crime, and migration trends.
His previous service in the Navy included tours in a United Kingdom-based NATO position, on board a destroyer deployed to the Asia-Pacific region, and as an instructor at the US Naval Academy, where he taught Spanish and Latin American politics courses. During his naval career, Angelo deployed to Colombia on three occasions over the course of more than a decade. During his longest mission in Colombia, he served as the US Embassy’s principal liaison to the Colombian navy and police in the highly conflictive Pacific coast.
He was directly responsible for the planning of inter-agency missions focused on improving local governance, rule of law, and security in support of Plan Colombia, and he spearheaded the coordination and implementation of the Embassy’s largest bilateral humanitarian mission in 2011.
In 2022, President Biden appointed Dr. Angelo to the US Naval Academy Board of Visitors in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Angelo continues to serve as a Commander in the US Navy Reserve, supporting the US Naval Forces Southern Command as the executive officer of a Puerto Rico-based unit. Dr. Angelo’s written commentary has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Miami Herald. He is also the author of From Peril to Partnership: US Security Assistance and the Bid to Stabilize Colombia and Mexico (Oxford University Press, 2023).
Dr. Angelo holds a BS in political science (with honors) from the US Naval Academy, where he was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, an MPhil in Latin American studies (with distinction) from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD in politics from University College London. In 2022, the Guatemalan government awarded Dr. Angelo the “Monja Blanca” (White Nun Orchid) medal (second class) for meritorious service in support of the Guatemalan people.