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Director of Plans and Programs

Ms. Ellen McCarthy serves as the Director of Plans and Programs of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. As a member of NGA's command leadership team, she provides oversight for the execution and development of strategic direction, policy, guidance, and planning. She also guides the development and management of future capabilities and technologies supporting GEOINT requirements and provides oversight to NGA Portfolio Managers to ensure agency-wide integration in support of strategic goals. Prior to this assignment, Ms. McCarthy was the NGA Chief Operating Office who oversaw the daily business activities of the Agency and advised the Director, NGA on a wide variety of issues related to strategic planning, programming and budgeting, corporate governance, and partner engagement.

Before joining NGA, Ms. McCarthy served as the President of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA). As President, she led INSA in a number of initiatives that supported government policy and program development relating to cyber security, counterintelligence, acquisition, and homeland security intelligence.

Prior to joining INSA in 2008, Ms. McCarthy was Director of the Human Capital Management Office (HCMO) and the Acting Director of Security within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence [OUSD( I)]. As Director of HCMO she was responsible for the development of policy, plans, programs and oversight of personnel, training, education and career development of civilian and military defense intelligence personnel with the Department of Defense. Amongst her significant accomplishments, she developed and deployed the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS). She joined OUSD (I) in July 2004, where her primary focus was on the development of policy and strategy relating to intelligence reform which included resource management, acquisitions, collection authorities and personnel.

Before joining the staff at the OUSD (I), Ms. McCarthy was the Director of Intelligence Operations, Strategy and Policy for the United States Coast Guard (USCG). In this capacity she played a critical role in moving the USCG intelligence program into the IC, establishing Maritime Intelligence Fusion Centers, expanding USCG attaché presence worldwide, and establishing new intelligence and law enforcement collection capabilities. She has worked extensively with the Navy at the strategic, operational and tactical levels having served as a Soviet submarine analyst at the Office of Naval Intelligence and at Atlantic Fleet where she supported the Navy’s undersea warfare community. Additionally, Ms. McCarthy provided direct support to joint forces as the Deputy Chief of Joint Analysis and Warfighter Support at the U.S. Atlantic Command. Before her employment in the IC, she served as a technical research analyst at the Institute for Defense Analysis supporting the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

Ms. McCarthy is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland.