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Elisabeth A. Cordray

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans


Elisabeth Cordray served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans.  She was responsible for development of DoD operational planning guidance, oversight of plan reviews with the Secretary of Defense, global force management policy, and global posture planning.

From October 2013 through selection as the DASD for Plans, Ms. Cordray held the Principal Director position in the Plans office.  She previously served as Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.  In this role, she developed and managed the organization’s strategic plan, budget, personnel, and daily operations, leading the organization through multiple leadership changes and improving organizational health.  As Director for Mission Assurance in 2010, Ms. Cordray developed strategic policy for force protection, critical infrastructure protection and mission assurance. She realigned policy and investment priorities, streamlined funding by 40% and developed a new mission assurance strategy. During the transition to the Obama administration, Ms. Cordray served as Special Assistant to the senior career official for OSD(Policy).  She led support for all aspects of the transition, including setting strategic and management priorities and facilitating an organizational realignment.

From Oct 2007- Oct 2008, Ms. Cordray served as Director, Defense Transformation, Force Planning, and Requirements on the National Security Council staff, where she advised the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on a wide range of defense issues including defense and interagency planning, national security professional development, and global defense posture.

From Jan-Oct 2007, Ms. Cordray provided oversight on security cooperation policy for the DASD for Partnership Strategy, and acted as Chief of Staff for the 2008 Guidance for Employment of the Force.  Throughout the 2006 QDR, Ms. Cordray was a lead action officer on the Integration Team, touching all aspects of the Review and authoring key QDR documents. Post QDR, She was detailed as a special advisor to the Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation for implementing the 2006 QDR results.  Prior to the QDR, Ms. Cordray worked for the DASD for Resources and Plans to ensure the defense strategy and Secretary’s priorities were translated into the Department’s planning, budgeting, requirements and acquisition processes.

Ms. Cordray started her federal career at the Defense Information Systems Agency in 2000 as a career development intern. Prior to joining the federal government, Beth worked in private industry for three years.  She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University.