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Elaine McCusker

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Resourcing and Financial Management

Over the last 30 years, Elaine McCusker built a diverse and well-rounded portfolio of skills through complex senior executive positions in budget development, resource allocation, policy analysis and performance management in the private sector, academic community, government service and on Capitol Hill. She has a superb reputation as a visionary and generous leader, innovative problem solver, team-builder and program manager in support of the nation’s security.

Ms. McCusker has a successful history as a key member of CEO-level management teams in large organizations focusing on problem definition and solution development and implementation. She demonstrates aggressive, positive leadership supporting national security objectives through analytically-based resource options, creative management and communication, and strategic coalition building.

As Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Ms. McCusker developed, justified, and executed a $694 billion average annual Defense Department budget supporting the National Defense Strategy to build a more lethal force, attract new partners and allies and reform business operations for accountability and affordability. Due to the dynamic nature of defense operations around the world, she routinely made multi-billion dollar decisions impacting the global military enterprise.

She drove the review of major transformational initiatives to fundamentally improve Defense Department business operations by reducing the number of legacy financial systems and aggressively harnessing the power of Defense financial, logistical, personnel and contracting data for improved performance, management and decision-making.

During her six years as the Director of Resources and Analysis at United States Central Command, she modernized the Command Campaign Assessment process to measure progress and inform commander strategic, operational and tactical decision-making to better allocate resources – forces, equipment and funding. She established a strategic modeling and simulation capability for war plans to inform planning discussions and decisions.

Ms. McCusker’s leadership positions include: Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer (2017 to 2020); Director, Resources and Analysis, U.S. Central Command (2011- 2017); Deputy Director, Operations, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller (2008- 2011); Special Assistant, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (2007-2008); and Professional Staff Member, Senate Committee on Armed Services (2004-2007).

Her honors include: Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service; Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service Award; Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Medal; Navy Superior Civilian Service Award; and National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges Outstanding Achievement Award.