Ms. Erin C. Conaton is the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. She serves as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense on all matters concerning recruitment, career development, military health care, and pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, and over 782,000 DoD civilians. She is also responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness. The President appointed Ms. Conaton as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on June 8, 2012, following her confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Most recently, Ms. Conaton served as Under Secretary of the Air Force from March 2010 until early June 2012. As Under Secretary of the Air Force, Ms. Conaton was responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its 680,000 members and their families. She also served as the Air Force Chief Management Officer, oversaw the Air Force's annual budget of more than $119 billion, and served as acting Secretary of the Air Force in the Secretary's absence.
Prior to becoming Under Secretary of the Air Force, Ms. Conaton served as Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, where she served as primary adviser on defense matters to the Chairman and 61 other Members; directed overall operations, and strategic planning; and led the substantive agenda of the committee, to include drafting and overseeing the National Defense Authorization Act. Ms. Conaton also previously served as Minority Staff Director and Professional Staff Member on the committee.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Conaton has served as the Research Staff Director for the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century also known as the Hart-Rudman Commission. The commission was charged by the Secretary of Defense to design a national security strategy for a changing global environment through 2025 and to recommend plans for implementing this strategy. She has held several fellowships to include those at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she worked within the Office of Asia-Pacific and Latin American Analysis; and at the National Security Council, with the Directorate of Nonproliferation and Export Control. She has also served as a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Conaton earned a Master of Arts degree in Law and Diplomacy, from The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service, from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.