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Stennis Center Staff

Charlie Abell

Charlie Abell joined the Stennis Center for Public Service in July 2021 as the director of civil-military programs. Before joining the Stennis Center, Charlie was the chief operating officer of WellPoint Military Care, an Anthem Company. Prior to joining Anthem, Mr. Abell was executive vice president of the Wounded Warrior Project, where he was responsible for the legislative strategy, administering grants to other nonprofits, and building community support organizations for severely wounded veterans.

Before joining Wounded Warrior Project, Mr. Abell served as vice chairman of Martin, Blanck and Associates, where he oversaw the activities of 30 senior consultants assisting private sector companies doing business with federal healthcare agencies. He led the firm’s strategic development and executive consulting activities.

Appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2001, Mr. Abell served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. He was responsible for personnel issues for the Total Force, including policies and programs for service members, families, the Reserve component, and civilian personnel in the Department of Defense. His key responsibilities included advising the Secretary of Defense on personnel policy, health care, and other military and civilian personnel benefits.

Following his work at the Pentagon, Mr. Abell served as staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. He was responsible for the oversight of all activities and the budget for the entire Department of Defense and the nuclear programs of the Department of Energy.

Mr. Abell entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier and concluded his Army career as a lieutenant colonel. He served two tours in Vietnam in various positions, including infantry platoon leader, company commander, and cobra attack helicopter pilot. After retiring from the Army, Mr. Abell joined the Senate Armed Services Committee staff, where he served for 11 years as the manpower and personnel policy expert. Mr. Abell is responsible for most of the important legislative and policy initiatives benefiting military and civilian personnel involved in national security. Mr. Abell holds a master’s degree from Columbus University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tampa.

Mr. Abell and his wife Michele live in Fairfax, Virginia, with their children, Patrick and Caitlin.




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