Ivan Kanapathy Joined BGS in November 2021
Prior to joining BGS, Mr. Kanapathy was a career military officer and foreign affairs practitioner focused on the Indo-Pacific region. From March 2018 to July 2021, Mr. Kanapathy served on the White House’s National Security Council staff as Deputy Senior Director for Asian Affairs and Director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. In this capacity, he advised the President and National Security Advisor and led US government interagency policy development and implementation on US relations with China and Taiwan, covering diplomatic, military, cyber, health, technology, investment, and other related issues.
As a military attaché at the American Institute in Taiwan from 2014 to 2017, Mr. Kanapathy represented US interests and advised top US and Taiwanese officials on cross-Strait military and security issues. During this time, he worked closely with the US Indo-Pacific Command, informing and shaping relevant operational contingency plans and key leader engagements.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Kanapathy was competitively selected as a Marine Corps Foreign Area Officer study fellow; following graduate education and language school, he spent 14 months conducting research throughout China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Mr. Kanapathy later led the development and implementation of the Marine Corps’ global security cooperation strategy and policies at the Pentagon. In this role, he provided strategic guidance for building partner defense capacity and interoperability, including through arms sales, training, advising, and industry cooperation.
As a Naval Flight Officer, Mr. Kanapathy accumulated 2500 flight hours, served three years as a F/A-18 instructor at the US Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), and completed five deployments to the Middle East and Western Pacific. He was certified as a Joint Qualified Officer, Joint Foreign Area Officer, Joint Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Instructor, and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor.
Mr. Kanapathy holds a M.A. (with Distinction) in East Asia security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, a B.S. in physics and economics from Carnegie Mellon University, and an A.A. and diploma (with Highest Honors) in Chinese-Mandarin from the Defense Language Institute. Among other decorations, he has been awarded the Air Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, and the Defense Superior Service Medal. Mr. Kanapathy is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.