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Stephanie Barna

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs)


Ms. Stephanie Barna is the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

Ms. Barna performed the duties of Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness).  In this capacity, Ms. Barna served as principal assistant to the Honorable Peter Levine, the Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) in executing his responsibilities for Total Force management; National Guard and Reserve Component affairs; health affairs; readiness and training; military and civilian personnel requirements; language; dependents’ education; equal opportunity; morale, welfare, and recreation; and quality-of-life matters.

From June of 2014 through April of 2016, Ms. Barna served first as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness and Force Management) and subsequently performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs).
In these roles she served as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) on all matters relating to civilian and military personnel policies, reserve affairs, military community and family policy, Total Force Planning and Requirements, transition policy, and diversity management and equal opportunity. Additionally, she exercised day-to-day supervision of the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Defense Commissary Agency and provided oversight of the Armed Forces Retirement Homes.

Ms. Barna served previously as the Deputy General Counsel (Operations and Personnel) in the Office of the Army General Counsel. A career member of the Senior Executive Service, she advised three Army Secretaries, while managing a diverse legal portfolio and leading a staff of senior attorneys working in myriad areas of the law and policy, including military operations and personnel; civilian personnel and labor law; international law; criminal law; litigation; intelligence oversight, counter-intelligence, and special operations; public affairs; legislative relations; and the organization and institutional functions of the Department of the Army. Of note, she served as the liaison to the District of Columbia National Guard, for which the Secretary of the Army acts as Commander.

Ms. Barna began her public service career in 1989, as a lieutenant in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and, over the years, served in leadership positions in commands across the Army, including U.S. Army Special Forces Command, headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 7th Infantry Division (Light), at Fort Ord, California. She retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2011 in the grade of Colonel, having last served with U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and as an adjunct professor with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Ms. Barna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Washington & Jefferson College, a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a Master of Laws degree from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School. She is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

She is a 2012 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award winner and a two-time recipient of the Secretary of the Army’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award. Her military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and she is qualified as an Army Jumpmaster.