Two years ago, then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates recruited Lavoy, who was director of analysis in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to join the Pentagon. Since then, Lavoy, 48, has worked for Secretaries Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, whose mix of congressional, military, and intelligence backgrounds made it easy for him to respect their leadership, he said. Lavoy oversees a volatile region that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China. As the Pentagon's leadership changed, so have the regions within his portfolio. The U.S. is drawing down in Afghanistan, and the focus is on "building peace that's not reliant on our military presence," Lavoy said. Dealings with Pakistan deteriorated after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, but there's a renewed focus on repairing the frayed relationship, Lavoy said. A third focus has been the "peaceful resolution of international disputes. I think that's important because in Asia you have growing competition for resources," he said. Lavoy was raised in upstate New York but considers Monterey, Calif., home. A basketball fan, he helped start an intramural basketball team for the Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Office. The team recently won a championship against the teams fielded by the other assistant Defense secretaries. He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and master's and Ph.D. from the University of California (Berkeley).