Jamie Jones Miller, dean of Northeastern’s Arlington campus, receives appointment to the Council on Foreign Relations

headshot of Jamie Jones Miller
Jamie Miller Dean and CEO of Northeastern University Arlington Campus. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

A second Northeastern educator has been appointed for a life term on the Council on Foreign Relations—a premier U.S. think tank that helps to craft and inform policy decisions on the international stage.

Jamie Jones Miller, dean and CEO of Northeastern’s new Arlington, Virginia, campus and a longtime public servant, was chosen by the council to serve a lifetime term, an honor reserved for “seasoned professionals”—and one that places her among diplomacy powerhouses, such as Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright. 

“This is a really exciting opportunity for me,” says Miller, who adds it was her first time applying to be part of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Miller joins Mai’a Cross, dean’s professor of political science, international affairs and diplomacy, and director of the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures, who was also picked to serve as a life member in a highly selective process this appointment cycle. 

“The invitation extended to Dean Miller to become a member of the Council on Foreign Relations is a direct reflection of her extraordinary accomplishments achieved while serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs and as a member of the senior staff for two members of the House Armed Services Committee,” says Mary Ludden, Northeastern’s senior vice president for global network and strategic initiatives.

“Jamie has brought that same dedication and commitment to her role as our inaugural Dean of the Arlington campus where our focus on security, resilience, and technology will provide needed research and learning programs that support our national capital region partners in Arlington and across the globe,” Ludden adds. 

Speaking to Miller about the appointment, she detailed how she feels she is a non-traditional pick for an organization primarily made up of members who have extensive real-world experience, but also the academic expertise to match.

“I am an interesting case. I think I am a non-traditional academic election to the Council on Foreign Relations,” Miller says. “The angle for me is my government service.”

Indeed, Miller is not an academic scholar or researcher (her academic work in the field amounts to a bachelors degree in international affairs); but she does have extensive experience working in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government. Across a 16-year stint in the public sector, Miller worked as the principal deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defense and a former chief of staff on Capitol Hill. 

In both capacities, Miller says she was engaged in national security and foreign policy matters. 

Miller has also spent a considerable amount of time abroad. Her father was a defense attaché in Latin America, where she spent a large chunk of her childhood, and her mother worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Foreign policy and national security, she says, was kind of like the family business.

Indeed, academic scholarship is just one way society produces knowledge. Another way, Miller says, is the tried-and-true method of getting hands-on, real-world experience. Miller says she has “deep knowledge” about how the Department of Defense engages with Congress—areas such as navigating the Senate confirmation process and preparing for congressional oversight hearings, as well as engaging with members of Congress during the federal defense authorization and appropriations process, and navigating the legislative process more broadly. 

And it’s precisely the strength of her network, Miller suspects, that helped her land this coveted appointment. In fact, many of her colleagues urged her to apply to become a member. 

“That is really my strength: the partnerships, the ties to government and industry, and then my knowledge of foreign policy and national security through the lens of the Department of Defense and Congress,” Miller says.

Miller has had a hand in some big government initiatives. At the Department of Defense, she was lead for the legislative proposal that established the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the military. She was tasked with delivering the preferred structure of the new space service branch, shepherding the concept through Congress and into law.  

Miller is also the incoming chair of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, a bipartisan organization that looks to elevate women into “the most senior national security roles.” She says she is passionate about “building the national security talent pipeline,” which is one of the reasons she was attracted to Northeastern.

Tanner Stening is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at t.stening@northeastern.edu. Follow him on Twitter @tstening90.