Sullivan joins Harvard Kennedy School alum and Dubin Fellow Dan Feehan ('13), current Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), as principal staff in the office of the Secretary of Defense.
Sullivan's path to the administration began over a decade ago, as a Marine Corps operations and logistics officer. She has built an extensive management and leadership portfolio spanning the public and private sector, including her most recent high-profile post as the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Department of Defense announced on June 22:
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Announces Maura Sullivan as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
Today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that Maura Sullivan, the current assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, will be named as the new assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. Sullivan will be taking over the position from ATSD Brent Colburn, who will be stepping down in July.
Assistant Secretary Sullivan, a former Marine Corps Captain and Iraq War veteran, will be joining the department after having served as the principal public affairs advisor to VA Secretary Bob McDonald. A graduate of Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, Sullivan has held a number of senior positions in both the public and private sector, including serving as one of President Obama's appointees to the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). Sullivan's full bio is available at: http://www.va.gov/opa/bios/bio_sullivan.asp.
"I am thrilled to have Maura Sullivan joining the Department of Defense as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs," stated Secretary Carter. "Her life of service and leadership, both in an out of uniform, make her uniquely qualified to run the Pentagon's public affairs team during this crucial time for the nation and the department. Her understanding of both operational and management issues will be crucial as we seek to tackle the full range of challenges facing the department today from securing a lasting defeat of ISIL to establishing the military's Force of the Future. She is a true talent and the experience she has gained from the battlefield to the boardroom will make her an invaluable member of my team.
"I also want to thank Brent for his leadership and commitment during his years of service to the Obama administration, and in particular during this time of transition within the department. His efforts as ATSD have helped to modernize the department's vast public affairs apparatus, and his steady counsel and communications insight have proven vital as we have tackled hotspots in every corner of the world."
ATSD Colburn, who served in key leadership posts at FEMA, DHS and HUD before joining DOD in February 2014, will be taking some time off before pursuing an opportunity outside of government in the fall. ATSD Colburn's full bio is available at: http://www.defense.gov/bios/biographydetail.aspx?biographyid=394.
The assistant secretary of defense for public affairs serves as the principal advisor to the secretary of defense and deputy secretary of defense for communication strategy, media relations, public information, and community relations in support of DoD activities and U.S. service members and civilian employees of the department around the world.