Dr. Mike Spangler
State Department Advisor
Special Staff
Areas of Expertise: Peace and Stability Issues, Civ-Mil Cooperation, Asia-Pacific and Central Asia



 

Dr. Mike Spangler was assigned to PKSOI in July 2013. A career member of State's Senior Foreign Service, Mike recently completed a two-and-a-half year assignment to the CIA. Prior to this assignment, he lived and worked for six years in China and three years in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He speaks Chinese, Serbian and Pashtu.

Mike served as former President Nixon’s escort officer during his last visit to South China in April 1993.   He served on the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission in 1998-99 and helped negotiate the U.S. Army lease for the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in 2000-01. Mike opened the U.S. Lincoln Corner Library at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan in 2006. He was among the first group of foreign diplomats to visit Mount Kumgang in North Korea in 2007.
 
Mike’s previous positions include Economic Counselor in South Korea where his team worked intensively with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea in June 2007. This FTA is the largest to be signed since the North American FTA in 1993. Mike played a key role in this tough but ultimately successful negotiation, while briefing visiting principals including the Secretaries of Commerce, Energy, and Treasury.
 
From 2004 to 2006, Mike was the Principal Officer at the American Consulate in Peshawar. As the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Northwest Frontier) Province, Peshawar is the central hub of one of the most conservative areas of Pakistan. Once the jumping-off place for Afghanistan’s Mujahedin war of the 1980’s, it remains in the backyard of Pashtun tribal areas to the north and west that extend into Afghanistan on the other side of the Durand line. 
 
Mike maintained excellent relations with other agencies at his post in Peshawar. In a high-stress environment, he was deeply supportive of public diplomacy efforts. He actively reached out to many of the “hardest sell” audiences in a region noted for its historical resistance to outsiders and their ideas.  
 
In 2003-04, Mike studied at Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Virginia. He completed his master’s thesis on the counter-insurgency effort in Iraq.
 
From 1999 to 2003, Mike served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Marshall Islands, and, subsequently, as Deputy Director in the Offices of Australian and Pacific Affairs and Compact Negotiations. In the Marshall Islands, Mike served as Charge for six months prior to the arrival of an Ambassador. As the Deputy Office Director in State’s Office of Compact Negotiations, Mike was charged with helping to negotiate a $3-billion economic assistance agreement with two Micronesian states and the extension of the U.S. Army lease on Kwajalein Atoll, the testing site for the National Missile Defense System, in the Marshall Islands. Mike worked with a Bush team transition leader in negotiating this agreement, ratified by Congress in late 2003.
 
Mike received his Ph.D. in Economic Anthropology from Wisconsin-Madison in 1979 and his undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1974. With thirty-four years of experience at State, Mike is currently focused on peace, prosperity, and stability issues in the Asia-Pacific and Central Asia. 
 
A resident of Pennsylvania, Mike has a wife and two daughters.