Deborah A. Bonanni


Ms. Bonanni retired from public service in 2012 as the Chief of Staff of the National Security Agency. In this role she was responsible for the strategic direction, leadership and oversight of the corporate functions that enable and support the Agency’s signals intelligence, information assurance, and cyber security missions. Her span of control covered physical and personnel security, human resource services, education and training, installations and logistics, policy and records, external relations, corporate communications, occupational health and wellness, senior leadership development and registry and protocol services.

Ms. Bonanni’s proudest professional achievements include: the establishment of an enduring strategic human resource planning capacity to measure the success of NSA’s recruitment and retention programs and the overall wellness and productivity of the workforce; the modernization of recruitment and hiring initiatives to improve NSA’s national competitiveness in attracting diverse STEM graduates to perform its missions; and the identification, selection and professional development of a strong and viable cadre of collaborative leaders and technical experts for future succession to NSA’s highest levels of responsibility.

Prior to serving as NSA Chief of Staff, Ms. Bonanni served as the senior executive leader of two key constituent directorates, the Associate Director for Human Resources Services and Associate Director for Education and Training. She also served as the Commandant of the National Cryptologic School, a nationally recognized academic institution providing tailored training and professional development for military and civilian employees.

Ms. Bonanni held positions in the NSA Office of General Counsel, first as a procurement attorney, then becoming the Associate General Counsel for Information Security. She departed this latter assignment to become the Deputy Director of Equal Employment Opportunity where she led a strategic initiative to ensure timely and consistent processes for resolving equal employment opportunity claims. She advocated for the use of mediation as a neutral and effective alternative to litigation for resolving disputes, and established the Agency’s first alternative dispute resolution center.

Ms. Bonanni graduated from Hood College, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Political Science. She received her Juris Doctorate from the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University. She is a member of the Bars of Maryland and the District of Columbia. She graduated from the 43rd Senior Seminar, an executive training program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State for civilian and military leaders from the federal foreign affairs community. Ms. Bonanni received the Exceptional Civilian Service Award, NSA’s highest honorary degree, as well as three Presidential Rank Awards, one of Distinguished and two of Meritorious.

Independent Director