Ambassador Arnold Chacon

Senior Vice President

Ambassador Chacon joined the National Defense University as its Senior Vice President in August 2018.  He is a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service and holds the rank of Career Minister.

Prior to NDU, Ambassador Chacon served as Diplomat in Residence at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He has held senior leadership positions in the U.S. Department of State, including Chief of Mission in Guatemala and Chief Human Capital Officer.  He is widely recognized for his expertise in Latin American and European affairs, talent management, communication strategies and building a diverse workforce.

As Director General of the Foreign Service from 2014-2017, Ambassador Chacon developed strategic guidance for the Human Resources Bureau of 900 employees who carry out the full range of human resources activities for the State Department’s 75,000 worldwide workforce.  As Ambassador to Guatemala from 2011-2014, he implemented one of the largest economic development, counter-narcotics and rule of law programs in Latin America, directing 500 staff and representing a dozen U.S. Government agencies.  Prior to his service in Guatemala, he was Acting Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission in Spain, engaging a key NATO and EU ally on regional issues including counter-terrorism, the global financial crisis, Afghanistan, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.  His other diplomatic assignments include postings to U.S. Missions in Honduras, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Peru, Ecuador and the United Nations.  He also served as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the State Department’s Executive Secretariat and in the Bureaus of Western Hemisphere Affairs and European Affairs.

A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Chacon has received numerous leadership awards, including the Presidential Rank Award, Superior Honor Awards and Performance Pay.  He is a Boettcher Foundation Scholar and studied International Affairs at the University of Colorado where he was in the Presidents Leaders Class.  His wife Alida Chacon is retired from the Foreign Service and they have three children.