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Rheanne E. Wirkkala

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs


Rheanne Wirkkala serves as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Wirkkala joined the Department of Defense in February 2021 as the Special Assistant for Strategy to Secretary Austin. Wirkkala has spent a decade in federal service. Before joining the Biden-Harris Administration, she served in various roles on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including as the Director of Investigations, Deputy Director of Investigations, Policy Director, and as a Professional Staff Member. Prior to serving on the Committee, Wirkkala was an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, focused on political and military leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on al Qaida. Wirkkala also served at the State Department in the office responsible for counter-threat finance and economic sanctions policy.
Wirkkala has a master’s degree in International Relations from Yale University, and bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University. She studied abroad at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. She is married with two children.