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Milancy D. Harris

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism

Ms. Milancy Harris serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism (IWCT). DASD Harris is responsible for developing policy guidance and oversee the implementation of all Department of Defense policies, strategies, and plans related to irregular warfare and counterterrorism as specified by the Secretary of  Defense. This includes overseeing the employment of special operations forces in counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, irregular warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter proliferation, sensitive special operations, and personnel recovery/hostage issues as well as detainee affairs. Ms. Harris was sworn in on 22 February 2021.

From June 2019 through February 2021, Ms. Harris concentrated on technology governance and institution building, first at Facebook and then as a founding member of the leadership team at the Oversight Board, a first of its kind initiative to provide independent oversight over Facebooks content moderation decisions.

Ms. Harris previously spent 15 years with the U.S. Government focused on intelligence analysis and counterterrorism.  From March 2017 to June 2019, she served as the Chief of Staff of the Directorate of Intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), where she managed the operations of the Center’s largest directorate including personnel, strategic resource planning, and policy support.

From 2015 to 2017, Ms. Harris served as a Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council (NSC) staff, where she was responsible for a range of law of war issues, including detainee affairs, hostage recovery, and counterterrorism transparency.  Prior to joining the NSC, Ms. Harris served as the Deputy Director of the Emerging Issues Division at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).  In that role, she served as a special advisor to the ODNI on detention issues, represented ODNI during the White House’s 2015 Hostage Policy Review, and aided in the design of the interagency Periodic Review Board process.    

Ms. Harris began her career as an intelligence analyst and held positions at NCTC and the Defense Intelligence Agency related to warning, information operations, and emerging technologies.  She also served as an intelligence briefer from 2006 to 2007 for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

Originally from Wisconsin, Ms. Harris earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Affairs and English Literature from Marquette University and possesses a Master of Arts degree in Political Management and a Graduate Certificate in International Security Studies from The George Washington University.  She lives in Arlington with her husband, Caleb.