Heather Merritt was officially appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in October 2018 after having served in an acting capacity since November 2017. In this role, she oversees INL’s Africa and Middle East programs office and Office of Criminal Justice Assistance and Partnerships. She previously served as the Director for INL’s Office of Africa and Middle East Programs, which implements foreign assistance programs in more than thirty Africa and Middle East partner nations, helping them to sustainably develop their criminal justice and civilian security sector institutions.
Prior to joining INL, Ms. Merritt earned a Master’s of Science degree in National Resource Strategy at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at National Defense University in Washington.
Ms. Merritt was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Luanda, Angola from 2012-2015 and served for one year of that assignment as the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. She also served as the Political/Economic Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana and the Deputy Political Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. She had previous diplomatic postings in Zimbabwe and Mexico and worked in Washington on the Colombia Desk in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. She joined the Department of State in 1998.