Honorable Erin C. Conaton

Honorable Erin C. Conaton

Diplomat, senior executive in the Department of Defense, and strategic business consultant - Honorable Erin C. Conaton has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to help any organization streamline processes, reduce costs, and lead teams effectively in the 21st century. She has served at the highest levels of government service and is an expert in international relations, personnel readiness, and strategic planning. She currently serves as a Senior Consultant for Ankura, among many other companies.


After graduating from Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County, New Jersey, Conaton was educated at Georgetown University, receiving a B.S. in foreign service in 1992. She then became a graduate student at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and received her Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from the Fletcher School in 1995. 


Conaton spent 1992-93 as a financial analyst at Salomon Brothers in New York City, and then as a director of client services at Yield Enhancement Strategists, Inc. She then served as a graduate fellow at the United States National Security Council in 1994, followed by work as an associate at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in 1995. From 1996 to 1997, she completed an International Security Studies Fellowship at Tufts University, and then completed a graduate fellowship at the Central Intelligence Agency in 1998. Conaton then worked as a research staff director and research associate for the US Commission on National Security/21st Century from 1998 to 2001. 


From 2001 to 2005, Conaton was a member of the professional staff of the United States House Committee on Armed Services. In 2005, she became the Armed Service Committee's Minority Staff Director, holding that position until 2007, when she became the full committee's staff director. In this position, Conaton served as primary adviser on defense matters to the Chairman and 61 other Members, directed overall operations and strategic planning, and led the substantive agenda of the committee, to include drafting and overseeing the National Defense Authorization Act. Conaton has also taught as a Visiting Professor or Fellow at the U.S. Army War College, the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, and the Institute for Politics and Public Service in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. She currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations, National Security Leaders for America, and as a speaker for America's Future Series. 


On November 10, 2009, President of the United States Barack Obama nominated Conaton to be United States Under Secretary of the Air Force, an office that had been vacant since the resignation of Ronald M. Sega on August 31, 2007. Conaton was confirmed by the Senate on March 4, 2010, and sworn into office on March 15. As Under Secretary of the Air Force, Conaton was responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its 680,000 members and their families. She also served as Vice Chairman of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, the Air Force Chief Management Officer, oversaw the Air Force's annual budget of more than $119 billion, and served as Acting Secretary of the Air Force in the Secretary's absence.

On January 23, 2012, President Obama nominated Conaton to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and she was appointed to the position on June 8, 2012, following her confirmation by the United States Senate. As Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Conaton served as the senior policy advisor to the United States Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense on all matters concerning recruitment, career development, military health care, and pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million National Guard and Reserve personnel, and over 782,000 Department of Defense civilians. She was also responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness.

Conaton also served as a board member for the National Guard Youth Foundation from 2016 to 2017. For her efforts in DOD, she was awarded the Department of the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal. She currently serves as a Senior Fellow for AUSA (Association of the United States Army), where she gives inspiring talks on leadership and policy to wide audiences. 


Conaton is currently President of Conaton Strategies, LLC where she works with technology and other companies who wish to do business with the U.S. government and is also an advisor to Cambrian Futures. Her work includes using her extensive network to bring in new business, develop relationships with existing clients to ensure customer satisfaction, and using her vast knowledge and experience to speak at various events discussing a multitude of topics with national-level interest.