Rachel Ellehuus spent a total of ten years (2004 to 2008 and 2012 to 2018) in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, serving most recently as principal director for European and NATO policy. In this role, Ellehuus was the principal advisor to the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs on all defense matters relating to Europe and NATO, including U.S. basing in Europe.
In October 2019, Ellehuus became a senior advisor at WestExec Advisors, a consulting firm that provides geopolitical and policy expertise to business clients, which reportedly have included defense contractors AT&T, Boeing, and Microsoft. WestExec describes itself as a “bipartisan team of senior national security leaders with … broad and active networks in Washington and around the world.” Its website boasts that “our team has worked together around the White House Situation Room table, deliberating and deciding our nation’s foreign and national security policies.” The firm explains that its name is derived from West Executive Avenue, the street that runs between the West Wing of the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building: “quite literally, the road to the Situation Room, and … the road everyone associated with WestExec Advisors has crossed many times en route to meetings of the highest national security consequence.” In announcing Ellehuus’s hiring, WestExec highlighted her “deep regional expertise as a senior defense policy professional and thought leader.”
Ellehuus explained to POGO that she did not work with WestExec Advisors while in government, but that she had worked with people who later went to WestExec.
“Rachel’s deep regional expertise as a senior defense policy professional and thought leader consistently helps our clients anticipate risk and navigate transatlantic security, economic, technology, and regulatory trends in the 21st century.” - Nitin K. Chadda, WestExec Advisors co-founder and managing partner