WASHINGTON — Christopher Deschene, who ran for president of the Navajo Nation, was named the director of the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Energ (DOE) on Monday.
Deschene, a member of the Navajo Nation, brings more than 20 years of management and policy experience to DOE, along with extensive tribal relationships and deep expertise in business and energy development, natural resources and environmental policies, federal Indian law, and government affairs.
He will play a crucial role providing advice and support to DOE’s Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Science and Energy, and program offices across the DOE complex to help fulfill the Department’s mission of advancing the national, economic, and energy security of the United States through scientific and technological innovation.
Deschene is highly regarded among tribal, state, and federal policy leaders and professionals, as well as industry and business leaders. Prior to this appointment, he spent 10 years as a partner with the Law Office of Schaff & Clark-Deschene, LLC. His experience extends to business and energy development on tribal, state, and federal lands.
He has extensive knowledge of power generation, transmission, distribution, renewable energy development, oil and gas development, utility formation, water, natural resource, energy and environmental policy development, tribal and federal administrative and regulatory permitting, energy contracting, and negotiations. Deschene’s practice has taken him across the United States and throughout Indian Country.
Previously, Deschene served with the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry and reconnaissance officer and completed his service as a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He has served with distinction and completed two tours in the Persian Gulf, first with the infantry and second with reconnaissance units. While on active duty, he also served as a military research engineer with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Deschene earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and a M.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Concurrent with his master’s studies, he earned a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) with a focus on federal Indian law and energy and natural resources law from Arizona State University. He is licensed to practice law in Arizona and the Navajo Nation.