Kathryn L. Wheelbarger
|Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs|
|Assumed office |
October 31, 2018
|Preceded by||Robert Karem|
June 7, 2017 – October 27, 2017
|Preceded by||Robert Karem|
|Succeeded by||Robert Karem|
|Born||1977 (age 42–43)|
|Education||University of California, Los Angeles (BA)|
Harvard University (JD)
Kathryn L. Wheelbarger (born 1977) is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, to the Assistant Secretary of Defense to the Under Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Defense on security strategy and policy issues for nations and of Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.
Early life and education
Wheelbarger is a native Californian, daughter of Edmund and Diane Dailey Wheelbarger. She earned a political science degree Summa Cum Laude from UCLA in 1999 after interning in 1997 with then-Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and the Joint Economic Committee. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School.
After completing her law degree, Wheelbarger served as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Boise, and later as a litigation associate with the law firm Cooper and Kirk.
Prior to her current role, Wheelbarger served as Vice President for Litigation and Chief Compliance Officer at CSRA Inc. In this position, she oversaw CSRA's litigation and investigations portfolio as well as oversaw the company's Ethics and Compliance Office.
From 2011–2017, Ms. Wheelbarger served within Congress as Policy Director and Counsel on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where she managed the Committee's intelligence portfolio for Chairman John McCain, as Deputy Staff Director and Senior Counsel on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she was responsible for budget and policy reviews of intelligence community, led investigations, and developed policy positions for Chairman Mike Rogers.
Prior to working in Congress, Ms. Wheelbarger served as Counsel to Vice President Richard Cheney and general counsel to the Vice President's 80-person staff from 2007–2009. She had come to Washington, D.C. in 2004 to work on the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign, and after the election served as Counselor to Secretary Chertoff and Associate General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security from 2005–2007.
In October 2018 in her role as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Wheelbarger announced that the United States was prepared to offer NATO its cyber capabilities when requested. “It sends a message primarily aimed at Russia,” Wheelbarger noted. Cooperative efforts were undertaken after British security officials found persistent Russian cyber hacks directed at disabling European energy and telecommunications networks, along with internet disinformation campaigns both in Europe and the U.S., where intelligence officials found Russian hackers breached the DNC and leaked confidential information. Wheelbarger's announcement came at a time when, according to political analysts, relations between NATO and Russia were at their "worst" since the Cold War era. All military cooperation with Russia had ceased in April 2014 when Russia intervened in the Ukraine, illegally occupying Crimea, with Putin "flaunting" Russia's nuclear capabilities. Wheelbarger has underscored the efforts of Russian disinformation campaign in reporting to the House of Representatives: “Russia’s ability to make the West ... question its own institutions is one of the biggest challenges we have... It sort of takes a whole-of-government effort to respond to it. Militarily, I think we are very adept and I trust our forces to be able to always outmatch any adversary, including Russia. But our ability as a society to ensure we trust our own institutions in the face of their particularly aggressive information operations and use of social media to undermine us is significant.”
In the early 2019 Wheelbarger voiced U.S. disapproval of Turkey's plan to move forward with purchases a Russian air defense system would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft, noting that U.S. cooperation with Turkey was continuing to be at risk.
- "Katie Wheelbarger". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
- California Birth Index, 1905-1995, accessed Oct 27, 2019
- "U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012"; School Name: University of California, Los Angeles; Year: 1999, accessed Oct 27, 2019
- RollCall, "Hill Climbers: Hold Onto Your Hat," Dec 8, 2009
- "Katie Wheelbarger | C-SPAN.org". www.c-span.org. Retrieved Mar 3, 2019.
- "Under Secretary of Defense for Policy > OUSDP Offices > ASD for International Security Affairs". policy.defense.gov. Retrieved Mar 3, 2019.
- Reuters, "With an eye on Russia, U.S. pledges to use cyber capabilities on behalf of NATO" Oct. 2, 2018 
- Business Times, "Russia NATO Tensions: Pentagon To Offer Cyberwarfare Technology To Allies", Oct 4, 2018 
- Joint Chiefs of Staff, "Challenging Russian Information Operations Requires Whole-of-Government Approach" accessed Oct 29, 2019 
- Reuters, "Exclusive: U.S. may soon pause preparations for delivering F-35s to Turkey," March 20, 2019