Senior Military Advisor
As the senior military advisor, Colonel Steven L. Parker provides counsel and recommendations to the Africa Center on military operations and U.S. defense cooperation in Africa. He is also responsible for the strategic direction, implementation, and oversight of the Africa Military Education Program.
Prior to joining the Africa Center, Col. Parker served as executive director of the White House Initiative, Joining Forces, where he worked with the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to mobilize communities to take action through collaborative networks of public and private partners on behalf of U.S. veterans, survivors, and military families.
Col. Parker’s commands and operational assignments include the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, NY, where he was a battery commander, battalion executive officer, and battalion commander. He served as commander of the 10th Special Troops Battalion, leading an organization of nearly 1,000 soldiers and civilians, during year-long combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. As an Africa foreign area officer he served as a U.N. military observer in Western Sahara and Morocco. Col. Parker studied counterinsurgency operations at the Zimbabwe Defense Forces College while assigned to the U.S. Embassy. At the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, he played a leading role in establishing the conditions for the Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa.
He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, where he studied French. He earned an M.A. in African studies from Yale University and a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy. Col. Parker has been awarded the U.S. State Department’s third highest Medal for Service and the Republic of Djibouti’s second highest award for contributions to that nation—the 27 June Medal. Other awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the United Nations Medal, the Presidential Service Badge, and the Ranger Tab.