Assistant Secretary General for Operations
John Manza was appointed as Assistant Secretary General for Operations in October 2018. His responsibilities include: NATO’s operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq and at sea, and also Alliance, exercises, plans, and defense capacity building with partner nations.
John is a native of Michigan and is one of eight children. He studied international relations at Michigan State University and, upon graduation in 1986, was commissioned as a Marine infantry officer. During his 20 years in the US Marine Corps his duties sent him throughout the globe with multiple tours of duty in Central America, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East.
Upon retirement from the military, he joined the US Department of State and served as the Reconstruction Program Manager on the Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team in Nasiriya, Iraq. Upon his return to the US, he completed his doctoral studies in international relations at Wayne State University in Detroit. His dissertation, “A Critical Analysis of American Post Conflict Reconstruction Efforts in Southern Iraq,” was completed in May 2008.
Immediately upon completion of his graduate studies, he was hired by the Department of Homeland Security as a foreign affairs specialist, where he served as an advisor on Asia-Pacific issues. In 2009, he moved to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked as a Country Director in the Afghanistan policy office and later as the Afghanistan Team Leader in the NATO policy office.
From October 2012 to July 2015, John was seconded to NATO where he served as the Deputy NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan. While assigned in Kabul, he served on the team that drafted and successfully negotiated the NATO Status of Forces Agreement with Afghanistan. Following his service in Kabul, he returned to the Pentagon, as the Director of NATO Policy.
He left US government service in July 2016 to work on the NATO International Staff, as the Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations. From January to March 2017, he served as the NATO Senior Civilian in Iraq, where he coordinated Alliance Training and Capacity Building activities. In October, 2018 he was promoted to his current post.
Outside of work, John keeps busy maintaining and riding his very old British motorcar and his very, very old Harley Davidson motorcycle. While on vacation, John enjoys sailing his old boat.