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Stephanie Barna

Formerly Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense


Stephanie Barna formerly performed the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense, as directed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. A career Senior Executive, Ms. Barna previously served as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Honorable Robert L. Wilkie throughout his tenure as Under Secretary. In this capacity, she advised Mr. Wilkie on the execution of his responsibilities for Total Force management, National Guard and Reserve Component affairs, health affairs, readiness and training, military and civilian personnel policy and programs, dependents’ education, equal opportunity, and warfighter and family quality-of-life.

Previously, Ms. Barna served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, in which role she was a principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all matters relating to civilian and military personnel, reserve integration, military community and family policy, and Total Force manpower and resources. Additionally, she exercised day-to-day supervision of DoD schools and the Defense Commissary Agency.

From April 2016 to January 2017, Ms. Barna performed the duties of the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, serving as principal assistant to the Honorable Peter Levine, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Ms. Barna served previously as the Deputy General Counsel for Operations and Personnel in the Office of the Army General Counsel. She advised three Army Secretaries while managing a diverse legal portfolio and leading a staff of senior attorneys working in myriad areas of law and policy, including military operations and personnel; civilian personnel and labor law; international law; intelligence oversight, counter-intelligence, and special operations; and the organization and institutional functions of the Department of the Army. Of note, she served as the liaison to the District of Columbia National Guard, for which the Secretary of the Army acts as Commander.

Ms. Barna began her public service career in 1989, as a lieutenant in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Over the years, she served in leadership positions in commands across the Army, including the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 7th Infantry Division (Light), at Fort Ord, California. She retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2011 in the grade of Colonel, having last served with U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and as an adjunct professor with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Ms. Barna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Washington & Jefferson College, a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a Master of Laws degree from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School. She is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

She is a 2012 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award winner, was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service by the Secretary of Defense, and twice received the Secretary of the Army’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award. Her military awards include the Legion of Merit, and she is qualified as an Army Jumpmaster.