Alumni Award Recipient Christian Saunders
Christian Saunders ’99
2014 Young Alumnus Award
A George C. Marshall Scholar at Bridgewater, Christian Saunders has pursued a successful career in U.S. intelligence since graduating in 1999 with a degree in political science and a minor in economics. After working for 13 years with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Saunders was selected last year to attend the National War College (NWC), the U.S. government’s most prestigious national security-related training for future military and civilian leaders in preparation for high-level policy, command and staff responsibilities. Saunders will graduate in June with a master’s degree in National Security Strategy.
Prior to attending NWC, Saunders was the vice deputy director for the DIA’s Middle East/Africa Regional Center (MARC). In 2010, Saunders completed a 6-month deployment to Baghdad as a senior analyst at the U.S. Forces-Iraq Joint Intelligence Operations Center. In that position, he reviewed, produced and briefed intelligence analysis for multiple senior officers, including the Commanding General of U.S. Forces-Iraq.
Saunders was selected in 2007 to 2008 as a briefer for the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a highly classified intelligence document that is produced and presented to the President of the United States and other senior U.S. officials. He was assigned to present the PDB to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. James Cartwright and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Lt. Gen (ret.) James Clapper.
Saunders began his career as a defense economic analyst closely examining the defense budget trends of countries in non-NATO Europe and the Middle East/North Africa region. He also specialized in Iraqi threat finance analysis, where he worked with other intelligence agencies and the Department of Treasury to counter Iraq’s sanction-busting activity prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom and to assess trends in insurgent financing after the operation began. He led a group of analysts to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Team of the Year Award in 2004 and 2005.
Saunders earned a master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs with specializations in National Security Studies and International Political Economy.
Saunders, who was a member of the Bridgewater Eagles baseball team and participated in student government at the College, is a member of the Manassas Church of the Brethren, where he has served on the board. He lives in Springfield, Va., with his wife, Kimberly Workman Saunders ’99, and their two children.