Rear Admiral Daniel MacDonnell is a native of Boston and was commissioned an ensign in January 1987 after completing Aviation Officers Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. In 1990, he was re-designated as a special duty officer, cryptology - now cryptologic warfare. He holds a master's degree in management from Salve Regina University and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in psychology, from Norwich University. A fully joint qualified officer, MacDonnell is a graduate of the National Defense University-Joint Forces Staff College and the Naval War College-College of Command and Staff. He has attended executive programs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
MacDonnell's active duty tours include a mobilization with the International Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan, and assignments with the National Security Agency, Naval Network Warfare Command, Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia, Center for Expeditionary Counterterrorism Operations, USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), and Naval Security Group Activity Edzell, Scotland.
MacDonnell's first flag assignment was the reserve deputy commander, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, Fort Meade, Maryland. From 2014-2017 he was the commander of Naval Information Force Reserve, Fort Worth, Texas, and reserve deputy commander, Naval Information Forces, Suffolk, Virginia. From 2017-2018 he was the Deputy Director, Warfare Integration for Information WarFare (N2N6F), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He has had four reserve commanding officer tours at Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, NIOC Georgia; NIOC Maryland, Fort Devens, Massachusetts; and Naval Security Group Reserve Devens.
MacDonnell became the 11th Deputy Chief of the Central Security Service at the National Security Agency in September 2018.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (two awards), several personal Navy and Joint awards as well as the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal and other campaign and unit awards.
In his civilian career, MacDonnell works as a resiliency and cybersecurity senior executive for a major financial services corporation.