U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)


Katrina G. McFarland

Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition)


Katrina McFarland is the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition) (ASD(A)).

In this role, she is the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics on matters relating to acquisition.

Previously, she served as the President of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) where she continued to build DAU’s outstanding reputation as the DoD’s primary learning institution while overseeing the development and expansion of acquisition curriculum and supporting learning opportunities for over 150,000 members of the Defense Acquisition Workforce. Under her leadership, DAU provided practitioner training, career management, and services to enable the acquisition, technology, logistics, and requirements community to make smart business decisions and deliver timely and affordable capabilities to the Warfighter. This included addressing the ever changing Defense Acquisition climate as required by the Under Secretary of Defense’s (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) “Better Buying Power” initiatives, and the recent National Defense Authorization Act directions and guidance.

Prior to joining DAU, Mrs. McFarland was the Director for Acquisition for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA)—a position she held since May 2006. As MDA’s principal acquisition executive, Mrs. McFarland advised the Director of MDA on all acquisition, contracting and small business decisions. During her tenure, Mrs. McFarland’s advice led to over $37 billion of sole source procurement activity being opened up to competition. Additionally, her successful efforts to centralize the acquisition of knowledge-based services enabled small businesses to compete for almost half of the MDA’s knowledge based service, while reducing related procurement costs. Other core responsibilities included the development of process activities and program policy associated with the execution of the single integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System research, development and test program, and establishment of the Baseline Execution Review to ensure an integrated program execution of the BMDS occurred across the baselines of schedule, cost, performance, contracting, test and operational delivery.

Mrs. McFarland began her civil service career in 1986 as a general engineer at Headquarters Marine Corps where she was accredited as a Materials, Mechanical, Civil and Electronics Engineer. In 1990, she was hired by the Department of National Defense, Ottawa, Ontario, where she executed Procurement Head of Electronics duties. In 1992, Mrs. McFarland returned to the Marine Corps—this time, Marine Corps System Command—where she was responsible for the acquisition of the USMC Aviation and Ground Command and Control, radars/sensors, air defense, Combat ID and Cooperative Engagement Capability initiatives. She continued to serve the Corps through February 2005, when she concluded her duties as the Director, Battle Management and Air Defense Systems (BMADS).

Mrs. McFarland’s accolades and accomplishments are far-reaching. She has received awards for her efforts in the joint arena of CEC, C2 and Theater Missile Defense integration and received recognition for her work from agencies including Government Computing News. Her articles have been published in the Military Operations Research Society, American Society for Computer Simulation, and the International Aeronautical Engineering Societies Proceedings.  She has received the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award for 2011, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Department of the Navy, United States Marine Corps, Commendation Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, DAWIA Level-III-certified in program management, has a professional engineer license and has attained her PMP certification.

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