My name is Chris, the newest member of the Spirit of America field team. I recently joined the organization to serve as the project manager for Africa. In the short time I have been with SoA, I have been impressed with the significant contributions made to important U.S. missions across the globe and I look forward to being part of the effort.While on active duty, I deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where I worked on reconstruction, local police capacity building, and community engagement projects. Later, as a civil affairs officer in Nepal, I worked to build relationships with vulnerable communities, enhance the capabilities of the Nepali security forces, and improve the nation’s disaster preparedness. Since leaving the military in 2013, I earned my Master’s degree in International Affairs from The Elliott School at the George Washington University in Washington DC. During the course of my studies I focused on development and how it influences national security and stability. I also spent six months as an intern at with USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives as part of their Africa Team. Both my studies and my previous experience with the military and interagency have convinced me of the need for ongoing U.S. engagement with the world and the importance of the U.S. private sector involvement in that process. Currently, I’m traveling throughout Africa conducting assessments with Isaac. Across the continent, U.S. teams are working with local partners increase stability and security and to counter the threats posed by extremists and armed groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army, al-Shabab, and al-Qaeda. The importance of SoA support and the tremendous impact our work can have is evident after meeting with numerous diplomats and members of the military and traveling to multiple project sites. I’m honored to be a part of the Spirit of America team and to be able to contribute to the U.S. frontline defense, diplomacy, and development efforts. Thank you all for your continued support. I look forward to sharing more of our work with you. Christopher VanJohnson Field Operations Project Manager
Chris is a US Army veteran having served as an Armor officer with a deployment to Baghdad in 2008-09 and then as a Special Operations Civil Affairs Officer with multiple deployments to Nepal in 2011-12.