Ambassador Roger D. Carstens was selected by the Secretary of State and appointed by the President to serve as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA).
Ambassador Carstens is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, where he oversaw the Bureau’s work in Near Eastern Affairs, Western Hemisphere Affairs, and the Office of Security and Human Rights.
Previously, he served in Amman, Jordan, as the Country Director for a U.S.-based INGO that provided humanitarian assistance and stability support to Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons.
Prior positions include Senior Civilian Advisor on the Commander’s Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) in Afghanistan; Project Director for an INGO based in Somalia; Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security; and Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Ambassador Carstens is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who served in Special Forces and the 1st Ranger Battalion. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and holds master’s degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and St. John’s College.