Military Wiki
Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies
Agency overview
Formed 2000
Jurisdiction United States Government
Headquarters National Defense University Washington, D.C.
Employees 60 (2012)
Agency executive LTG (ret.) Terry A. Wolff, Director
Parent agency Department of Defense, Defense Security Cooperation Agency,
NESA Center [1]

Established in 2000, the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies is a U.S. Department of Defense institution for building relationships and understanding in the NESA region. The NESA Center supports the theater security cooperation effort of four Regional Combatant Commands: United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), United States European Command (USEUCOM), and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) and is one of five regional centers that fall under the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.[1] With its 21st Century security and academic focus, the NESA Center seeks to build on the strong multilateral relationships between the U.S government and its allies in the region; the Near East and South and Central Asian regional governments and their armed forces, by focusing on broader multilateral approaches and capacity building to address regional security issues and concerns. The NESA Center is located at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC.

Mission statement[]

NESA Mission[]

To enhance security in the Near East and South Asia by building sustained, mutually beneficial relationships; fostering regional cooperation on security issues; and promoting effective communications and strategic capacity through free and candid interaction in an academic environment.[2]

The NESA Center fosters open communication and educational opportunities for military and civilian representatives from the NESA region and other participating countries. Its academic environment uniquely facilitates a cross-cultural examination of the events, ideas, and challenges that shape this critical region.

The NESA Center has implemented programs on countering ideological support for terrorism, increasing and improving strategic communication and outreach to the region and supporting other strategic goals.

Achieving the NESA Mission[]

The following activities lead to achieving the core mission of developing a well-informed community of leaders and decision makers:

  • Sponsoring foundational seminars, primarily in Washington, D.C.
  • Reaching a larger audience of strategic thinkers and adding depth via a robust program of local and in-region engagement activities
  • Sustaining interest and promoting growth through networked outreach and alumni activities.

Countries in the NESA Region[]

NESA Area of Engagement

  1.  Afghanistan
  2.  Algeria
  3.  Bahrain
  4.  Bangladesh
  5.  Egypt
  6.  India
  7.  Iraq
  8.  Israel
  9.  Jordan
  10.  Kazakhstan
  11.  Kuwait
  12.  Kyrgyzstan
  13.  Lebanon
  14.  Libya
  15.  Maldives
  16.  Mauritania
  17.  Morocco
  18.    Nepal
  19.  Oman
  20.  Pakistan
  21.  Qatar
  22.  Saudi Arabia
  23.  Sri Lanka
  24.  Tajikistan
  25.  Tunisia
  26.  Turkey
  27.  Turkmenistan
  28.  United Arab Emirates
  29.  Uzbekistan
  30.  Yemen

Senior Leadership[]

Former Director Ambassador James Larocco (ret.)
Deputy Director COL David Lamm, USA (ret.)

The Center’s senior leadership come to NESA after long and distinguished careers[3] with institutions such as the Department of State and the United States Military. These individuals contribute their knowledge and experiences to the Center’s mission on a daily basis.


The NESA Center faculty represents a diverse assemblage of top-tier academics[4] and expert practitioners from academia, diplomacy and defense. The NESA Center's faculty is composed of retired governmental, diplomatic and military leaders from the United States and the NESA region. Professors include men and women who have served as practitioners—ambassadors, government ministers, field- and flag-grade military officers, as well as traditional university faculty. The knowledge, experience and “whole of government” expertise of the NESA Center's faculty provide a deep pool of knowledge that gives its participants a focused and uniquely inclusive education that better enables them to engage in the myriad challenges facing the NESA region.[5]


Reaching Out to a Global Audience[]

Participants in a NESA Seminar

Strategic communications and outreach are key regional center priorities. The NESA Center established an Outreach Office to coordinate all communication with:

  • Points of contact in US embassies overseas and foreign embassies in Washington
  • Participants prior to and during programs
  • Alumni after they leave Washington seminars
  • US government stakeholders, both in Washington and overseas
  • The interagency strategic communications community
  • Media, both domestically and in the region

The Center’s goal is to generate a dialogue that begins with the programs and continues after participants leave. NESA produces short, non-attributed executive summaries after seminars and trips. These reports, circulated on a limited basis to senior USG stakeholders, contain key/new facts or opinions gleaned from discussions with participants. The purpose of the summary is to help senior policymakers stay informed of views to which they would not otherwise be exposed. These executive summaries routinely generate responses from the 3- and 4-star general/flag officers and their civilian equivalents.

The NESA Center Director is leading the development of an active media outreach program, including travel to the Persian Gulf to meet with media in the region.

Foundation Programs[]

The NESA Center conducts various seminars on a near continuous basis year-round, examples of which are provided below:

  • Executive and Senior Executive Seminars
  • Executive and Senior Executive Combating Terrorism and Transnational Threats Seminars
  • Washington Seminar Series
  • Senior National Representatives Seminar
  • Embassy Orientation Program
  • Strategic Studies Network

Other Tailored Programs[]

  • U.S.-South Asia Leadership Engagement Program (NESA-Harvard)
  • U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan Programs
  • Tunisian National Defense Institute

Other Regional Centers[]

NESA is one of five regional centers that fall under the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The other centers include:


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