HON Brendan Owens
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment
Chief Sustainability Officer
The Honorable Brendan Owens was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment on January 26, 2023. In this role, he is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment for all matters relating to operational and facility energy; installations real property planning, operations, and sustainment; environment protection, compliance, and restoration; natural, historical and cultural resources; and accompanied and unaccompanied military housing. He oversees the Department of Defense’s real property portfolio encompassing millions of acres and over 500,000 buildings and structures at more than 500 installations, and additionally serves as the Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Housing Officer for the Department of Defense.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Owens served as Principal of Black Vest Strategy, a consultancy focused on the intersection of health, equity, and climate issues in the built environment. He was also a co-founder of Ecountabl, Inc., a technology platform seeking to democratize access to corporate environmental, social, and governance information.
Previously, Mr. Owens had a 19-year career with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). At USGBC, Mr. Owens supported the technical development of USGBC’s LEED Green Building Rating System, as well as the creation of numerous other building sector standards and codes for high performance, zero energy and grid interactive buildings. He has experience across supply and demand sectors of the energy industry, buildings, and infrastructure with a focus on integrative technology and inclusive policy to optimize outcomes.
Prior to his work at USGBC, Mr. Owens was the energy manager at U.S. Army’s Fort Belvoir, where he participated in source selection, implementation, and measurement and verification of what was the largest energy savings performance contract in Department of Defense history.
Mr. Owens is an engineering graduate from Purdue University, where he served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University’s Honor’s College. He is a Virginia-registered Professional Engineer and was honored as a LEED Fellow in 2012. He grew up Coast Guard, but considers Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, where he lives with his family, home.
Rachel Posner Ross
Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer; Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment
Ms. Rachel Posner Ross serves as the Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Energy Instiallations, and Environment. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, Ms. Ross works with leadership across DoD, other government institutions, and external organizations to advance DoD’s climate and sustainability objectives. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Ross served as Chief of Staff to the 25th Secretary of the Army. In this capacity, she provided oversight and guidance to the Army’s large and diverse staff, and she coordinated with the Army’s senior leaders to ensure timely execution of the Secretary’s priorities and statutory responsibilities.
Before joining the Biden-Harris administration, Ms. Ross served as Senior Director of the advisory practice at Allotrope Partners, a clean energy firm based in Oakland, CA. In this role, she managed programs to accelerate private-sector investment in clean energy across key emerging markets. From 2014 to 2016, she lived in Burma (Myanmar), where she conducted sustainable energy market assessments for clients including the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank.
From 2010 to 2014, she served as a founding staff member in the DoD Office of Operational Energy Plans and Programs. As Deputy Director for Policy and International Engagement, she led the development of the first overarching DoD energy policy in over 20 years and facilitated energy-related cooperation with U.S. allies and partners. In addition, Ms. Ross has held positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Aspen Institute, and the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Ross graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned her M.Phil in modern society and global transformations at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Real Property
Ronald Tickle is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Real Property, where he is responsible for U.S. and overseas basing issues, joint basing program oversight, real property accountability, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration, Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse activities, installation/mission encroachment prevention, real estate policy, Base Realignment and Closure activities, and installation geo-spatial policy. Prior to this position Mr. Tickle served as the Executive Director of the Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment. In that role, he oversaw the Mission Compatibility Evaluation Process for the Department, established and implemented policy and prioritized research and development tools for the Clearinghouse, and identified opportunities for outreach with the energy industry, and state and local governments.
Prior to OUSD (A&S), from August 2014 to January 2016, Mr. Tickle served as the Director, Operations, Readiness and Sustainment in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment). His responsibilities included coordination with the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and other agencies on a wide range of encroachment, readiness, and sustainability matters, including identifying and addressing potential impacts from wind farms, transmission lines, and other energy and non-energy projects.
Prior to his position on the ASN EI&E staff, Mr. Tickle served for over 20 years in numerous capacities on the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) staff. From 2011 to 2014, he was Branch Head for Readiness Sustainment and Compatibility. In this capacity he was responsible for ensuring the Navy’s ability to continue to train and test in the face of increasing external pressures. His responsibilities included coordination with the DoD Siting Clearinghouse, implementation of the National Ocean Council Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning process, and assessing wind turbine development and its impacts on low-level training as well as electromagnetic interference with radar and navigation aids.
Additionally while on the OPNAV staff, Mr. Tickle served for 10 years as Branch Head for the Operational Environmental Readiness and Planning Branch, which was responsible for environmental planning, marine mammal compliance, and natural resources preservation. In this position he initiated the Navy’s Tactical Theater and Planning Program (TAP) that resulted in the first comprehensive fleet training environmental planning effort, and the first-ever Marine Mammal Protection Act authorizations for Navy training and testing activities. Prior to that position, Mr. Tickle served as the Head of the Shore Compliance Branch, where he was responsible for all aspects of environmental compliance worldwide at Navy facilities. Mr. Tickle began his career at the Naval Energy and Environmental Support Activity, Port Hueneme, CA, where he worked in the environmental restoration program.
Mr. Tickle earned a Master’s Degree of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from West Virginia University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California.
Mr. Tickle has earned numerous Special Act Awards and recognition for his actions. Most notably, he has been awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Construction
Mr. Michael McAndrew is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Construction within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment). He provides executive leadership on all matters pertaining to DoD’s physical infrastructure, to include development and execution of policies, guidance, and procedures for construction, operations, maintenance and repair of DoD’s worldwide facilities to enhance and preserve warfighting capabilities and to provide safe working and living conditions for our military personnel and families. His responsibilities include all matters related to real property maintenance; facility operations; and host-nation programs related to facility construction and management.
Prior to assuming his current duties Mr. McAndrew served, as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Facilities Management. In this capacity, his facilitates portfolio also included policy development and oversight of DoD’s housing portfolio, which included government-owned and privatized inventories. Prior to 2008, Mr. McAndrew served as the Deputy Director, Base Realignment and Closure Directorate, responsible for policy development and oversight of analysis supporting the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. He also previously served within the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Deputy Director for Housing and Energy and the Assistant Director of Housing, responsible for DoD-wide policy development and issues related to the operation and ownership of government and private-sector housing for military use; and as the Assistant Director for Base Closure and Utilization, responsible for developing policy and procedures for the Department’s 1993 and 1995 BRAC rounds. Mr. McAndrew began his Department of Defense civilian employment in 1991 as a Presidential Management Intern within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Mr. McAndrew served on active duty as an officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1991. After leaving active duty, he resumed his military career in 1995 when he entered the Air Force Reserves, serving as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. He retired from the Air Force Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2009.
Mr. McAndrew is a 1984 graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management. In 1991, he attained a Master of Science degree in Contract and Acquisition Management from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. Mr. McAndrew completed the Federal Executive Institute Leadership for a Democratic Society program in 1999, and the National Security Study’s National Security Leadership Course at Maxwell School of Syracuse University in 2001. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2008.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Housing
Ms. Patricia Coury is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Housing within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment (ASD(S)). She is the principal executive assisting the ASD(S) in executing the statutorily defined Chief Housing Officer duties and responsibilities. She provides executive leadership on all matters pertaining DoD housing, to include development and execution of policies, guidance, and procedures to support readiness and protect the quality of life for military personnel and their families by ensuring their access to safe, high-quality, affordable housing, delivered through cost-effective military construction, government-leasing, and privatization. Her responsibilities include programmatic oversight of DoD privatized lodging and the Homeowners Assistance Program that provides some monetary relief to certain eligible, qualified service members and civilians who suffer financial loss on the sale of their primary residence.
Prior to assuming her current duties, Ms. Coury served as the Principal Director for Facilities Management and Director of Housing. In this capacity, her responsibilities included policy development and programmatic oversight of DoD’s worldwide facilities portfolio, to include planning, design, construction, and maintenance. She also was responsible for oversight of DoD’s government-owned, government-leased and privatized housing, as well as privatized lodging and the Homeowners Assistance Program. From 2015 to 2018, Ms. Coury served as the Deputy to the DASD for Facilities Investment and Management, with responsibilities that included leading the Department’s critical, accelerated assessment of options in support of President Obama’s Executive Order to relocate DoD detention operations from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the U.S. She also formerly served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) as the Assistant Director for Housing and Enhanced Use Leasing, responsible for securing Office of Management and Budget approval of multiple Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) and Enhance Use Leasing projects, and for establishing a new OSD scholarship program for DoD employees to pursue graduate studies in federal real property privatization.
Immediately prior to joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Ms. Coury served as Source Selection Evaluation Board Chairperson for the Department of the Army’s Residential Communities Initiative, leading the evaluation of multiple housing privatization proposals on behalf of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Privatization and Partnerships. She spent the first 20 years of her professional career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Ms. Coury graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, and earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Urban Land Institute’s Public Development and Infrastructure Council.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment & Energy Resilience
Mr. Michael McGhee, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment & Energy Resilience. In this position, he provides policy and governance for programs and activities that enable resilience and cyber-secure energy for weapon systems and installations. This includes budgetary, policy, and management oversight of programs related to climate change, compliance with environmental laws, prevention of pollution, management of natural and cultural resources, and cleanup of contaminated sites, as well as energy resilience, risk, and performance.
Prior to his current assignment in the office of the Secretary of Defense, Mr. McGhee served as the Director for Clean Energy at the President’s Council on Environmental Quality where he led efforts to develop strategy and policy for facilitating clean energy across Federal government operations.
Throughout Mr. McGhee’s career, he has served in various leadership positions including Executive Director for the U.S. Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives, where he developed partnerships and alternative financing for projects that provide resilient, affordable, and sustainable energy for Army installations.
He is a former U.S. Air Force officer and licensed Professional Engineer.
Director of Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation
Mr. O’Brien directs the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation and supports a talented team of professionals to assist states and local communities to respond to Department of Defense activity and support its missions. He is responsible for the creation and performance of many programs enabling states and communities to partner with the Department and its installation and industrial bases, including: $1.9 billion program to improve condition and capacity problems at public schools on military installations; nearly $200 million in investments in support of the Department’s Pacific Defense Initiative on the Territory of Guam; $80 million Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program to deliver innovativeness and modernization for the defense industrial base at the speed of relevancy; $200 million Defense Community Infrastructure Program to support state and local enhancements to improve local military value, installation resiliency, and military family quality of life; and $75 million community noise mitigation program.
His team presently manages a portfolio of over 200 projects accounting for close to $2 billion in obligations. Prior to joining Department of Defense, Mr. O’Brien was a Presidential Management Intern with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he spent time on Capitol Hill, working on community and economic development-related issues. Before his Federal service, he was an Assistant Business Developer for the City of Duluth, MN, where he assisted with the reuse of a closed air base, supported the conversion of a former steel plant, and co-drafted the State's first enterprise zone bill. He also served as a citizen representative to the Duluth Joint Airport Zoning Board.
He has Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs and Political Science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he graduated "cum laude" and as a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. He received a Masters of Science degree in Public Management and Policy Analysis from the School of Urban and Public Affairs at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he graduated "with distinction," student-taught organizational management, and was elected to Pi Alpha Alpha. Mr. O'Brien is certified as an "Economic Development Finance Professional" by the National Development Council and graduated from the Federal Executive Institute’s “Leadership for a Democratic Society” as well as Harvard Law School’s “Program on Negotiation.” He is the recipient of the following honors and recognitions: 2017 “Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs” award from the International Economic Development Council; Ancient Order of Chamorri from the Governor of Guam; and Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.