Maura C. Sullivan serves as the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Ms. Sullivan is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for communication, news media relations, public outreach, engagement, public affairs and visual information. She is the communications policy lead for DoD, providing departmental guidance to the Armed Service and Combatant Command Chiefs of Public Affairs as well as over 4,500 public affairs personnel worldwide. Ms. Sullivan directly oversees the Defense Media Activity, an organization of approximately 2,000 personnel that provides a wide variety of multi-media information products to over 1 Million U.S Servicemembers, civilian employees and their families. Previously, she was appointed by President Obama as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public & Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ms. Sullivan is a former U.S. Marine Corps Officer and Iraq War veteran. Ms. Sullivan has years of general management and strategic communications experience as both a Marine Corps logistics/operations officer and business leader at PepsiCo where she held a number of positions to include managing Frito Lay’s Central New England Zone business, and before that PepsiCo’s New England Franchise Bottling business. Her service in the Marines included a deployment in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005 with Combat Logistics Battalion 8, two years with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa, Japan, and serving as the Deputy Officer-in-Charge of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Re-organization team that authored and managed one of the largest internal reorganizations in the Marine Corps Logistics community’s history. Before entering the reserves, Ms. Sullivan earned The Navy Commendation Medal and a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Gold Star.
Ms. Sullivan was appointed by President Obama in 2010 as a Commissioner on The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), where with her fellow commissioners she managed America’s overseas military cemeteries and memorials. She visited 21 of 25 overseas cemeteries, representing The Commission at ceremonies in France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Additionally, Ms. Sullivan was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts in 2010 to the Board of Trustees of the Chelsea, MA Soldiers’ Home.
In addition to her public appointments, Ms. Sullivan has held leadership positions in several organizations including: The Harvard Business School Association of Boston, The Center for Public Leadership Alumni Council at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; and Even Ground, where she raised awareness for children in Africa orphaned by AIDS.
Ms. Sullivan holds an MBA from The Harvard Business School and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a John F. Kennedy Fellow and a George Fellow. Ms. Sullivan holds a BA from Northwestern University, which she completed on a Marine Corps ROTC scholarship.