Louise Heywood currently works for BAE Systems as a geo-political analyst. She is an Associate Member of RUSI and contributes to debates on counter-insurgency, the comprehensive approach and smart power.
In October 2008 Louise took a sabbatical from BAE Systems and deployed to the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan to work as political officer for a year. She worked as a member of a political team made up of Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Corps and US State Department staff and her primary responsibilities included building contacts with the governor's office, provincial council and other leading Afghan figures; and analysis of and reporting on the political landscape in southern Afghanistan for various Whitehall and NATO audiences. She had particular responsibility for coverage of the Afghanistan presidential and provincial council elections in August 2009.
Previously Louise worked for RUSI as Head of the Armed Forces Programme and prior to this held the position of Head of Defence Management.
She has also worked at NATO as a research assistant to the special advisor on Central and Eastern European affairs and as a military officer on Full-Time Reserve Service.
Louise is a reservist captain in the Royal Engineers and has served in Iraq, where she worked in the Brigade HQ implementing Governance initiatives prior to the PRT being established in southern Iraq. She is also a deployable civilian expert (DCE) for the UK Stabilisation Unit.
She holds a Master of Letters from Aberdeen University in Strategic Studies and a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and Technology.