Rheanne E. Wirkkala Biography: A Decade of Public Service in National Security

About Rheanne E. Wirkkala Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs

Name Rheanne E. Wirkkala
Title Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
Department Department of Defense
Boss Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Education
Master’s degree in International Relations from Yale University, bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University
Experience
Served in various roles on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including as the Director of Investigations, Deputy Director of Investigations, Policy Director, and as Professional Staff Member. Prior to serving on the Committee, was an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, focused on political and military leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on al-Qaida. Also served at the State Department in the office responsible for counter-threat finance and economic sanctions policy.
Personal Married with two children.

Rheanne E. Wirkkala Biography

Rheanne Wirkkala holds the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs under Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Wirkkala started her tenure at the Department of Defense in February 2021, initially joining as the Special Assistant for Strategy to Secretary Austin.

With a decade of experience in federal service, she has held diverse roles on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence before her involvement in the Biden-Harris Administration. These roles encompassed positions such as Director of Investigations, Deputy Director of Investigations, Policy Director, and Professional Staff Member.

Before her Committee service, Wirkkala worked as an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, focusing on political and military leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the activities of al-Qaida.

Additionally, she contributed her expertise at the State Department within the division responsible for counter-threat finance and economic sanctions policy.

Wirkkala’s educational background includes a master’s degree in International Relations from Yale University, along with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University.

She also pursued studies abroad at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. Beyond her professional accomplishments, she is a married individual and a parent to two children.

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