Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Melendez is the 2022-2023 senior US Marine Corps fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Prior to her current role, Melendez served as commanding officer of I Marine Expeditionary Force Support Battalion.

She received her commission as a second lieutenant from the United States Naval Academy in May 2000. In April 2001, Melendez was assigned to Motor Transport Company, 3d Transportation Support Battalion (3d TSB), 3d Force Service Support Group in Okinawa, Japan as a platoon commander. In January 2002, Melendez deployed with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Landing Force Cooperation Afloat Assistance Readiness and Training, supporting theater security cooperation events throughout Southeast Asia. Upon return, Melendez reported to Maintenance Company, 3d TSB, as the executive officer. She then transferred to TSB Headquarters Company as the battalion assistant operations officer, where she served from June 2003 through May 2004.

In June 2004, Melendez received orders to Marine Wing Support Group 37, Third Marine Aircraft Wing, where she served as a plans officer. In April 2005, she was promoted to captain and transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, where she served as the squadron assistant operations officer. In December 2005, Melendez served as the support company commander, deploying to Al Taqaddum, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In July 2007, she reported to Marine Corps University to attend the Expeditionary Warfare School.

After graduating in June 2008, Melendez reported to Tactical Training Exercise Control Group, Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Training and Education Command as headquarters S4 officer and logistics-instructor trainer. In June 2010, she received orders to serve at Headquarters Marine Corps Special Projects Directorate. From 2010 to 2013, Melendez served as a project officer coordinating administrative and logistics support for special events on behalf of the commandant and the sergeant major of the Marine Corps. Melendez then reported again to Marine Corps University as a Command and Staff College student.

Upon graduating from Command and Staff College in June 2014, Melendez reported to Combat Logistics Regiment 17, First Marine Logistics Group (MLG) for duty as the operations officer. In December 2014, she transferred to Combat Logistics Battalion 13 (CLB-13) and assumed the billet of operations officer. In February 2016, she deployed with the Thirteenth Marine Expeditionary Unit, supporting the Pacific Command and Central Command areas of operation. Upon return from deployment in September 2017, Melendez was reassigned as the CLB-13 executive officer. In June 2017, Melendez reported to First MLG as the inspector general. In June 2018, she transferred to I Marine Expeditionary Force G4 Logistics, where she served as operations officer until May 2020.

Melendez hails from Grapevine, Texas, and is married to Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Melendez. They have two daughters, Leila and Gabrielle.