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Marlisa L. Smith

Chief of Staff, National Security Agency

CURRENT POSITION: Ms. Smith currently serves as the National Security Agency, Chief of Staff.  In this position, she advises the NSA Director and Deputy Director on pertinent administrative and general operations of the NSA workforce.  She is also responsible for direct oversight of all matters affecting the Senior Executives and serves as a member of the NSA Board of Directors. 

PREVIOUS POSITION:  Ms. Smith began her career in 1989 as a Security and Counterintelligence Special Agent.  Since that time, she has held a variety of key positions at the Agency and with each new assignment gradually increasing her level of responsibility. During a critical time of rebuilding for the organization, Ms. Smith became an investigator and counselor within the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). During her five-year career with the EEO organization, she was a member of the adjunct faculty at the National Cryptologic School and was selected to teach various courses as a subject-matter expert. Ms. Smith also worked as a Corporate Relations Representative within the Directorate for Plans, Policy and Programs where she was responsible for cultivating effective partnerships. Following that assignment, Ms. Smith was an Executive Assistant for several senior leaders. Ms. Smith was then named the Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) where she was responsible for managing the Agency’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. Ms. Smith then served initially as Deputy Director and then Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (EEOD).  As EEOD Director her primary focus was to maintain a culture of inclusion and fairness which stands as the foundation of her leadership. She was then appointed by the Director to serve as the Senior NSA/CSS Representative (NCR) to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) leading a dedicated team to strengthen the NSA and FBI partnership. Most recently Ms. Smith served as the Chief of Security and Counterintelligence (S&CI), a position ensuring the protection of NSA personnel, facilities and mission capabilities worldwide.

EDUCATION: Ms. Smith graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology. She is also a graduate of the Intelligence Community, Executive Training from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Executive Education and also a recent graduate of the “Leadership at the Peak” program from the Center for Creative Leadership. Ms. Smith is also a graduate of the Agency’s Security and Counterintelligence Special Agent’s training program and earned a mediation certificate from the Justice Center of Atlanta. Her ability to collaborate, inspire, and produce results are just a few of the reasons she was elevated to the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service in 2010.

AWARDS: Ms. Smith is a recipient of a 2015 Meritorious Presidential Rank Award and a 2016 recipient of the NSA Exceptional Civilian Service Award (ECSA), NSA’s highest honorary award.

PERSONAL: Ms. Smith, a native Marylander, resides with her husband and four adult children. She enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and staying current with community engagement through professional, cultural and business organizations to include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.