Cara Allison Marshall

Cara Allison Marshall is the Designated Federal Officer for the Defense Business Board, a Federal Advisory Committee that provides independent, strategic-level, private sector and academic advice on business management and operations to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense. In this role, she is responsible for day-to-day operations and compliance in support of the Board’s chartered role as the Deputy Secretary’s management consultants.

Prior to this assignment, Cara served as the Principal Director for East Asia within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, where she led the development and implementation of defense strategy, plans, policies, and bilateral and multilateral security relations for the East Asia region. From 2019-2021, she was the Director for Strategic Design in the newly-created Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of defense strategies, plans, and concepts pertaining to China.  Until 2019, Cara served as the Director for Plans, where she managed civilian-military dialogue across a range of issues regarding the Department’s planning for major conflicts.  There, she managed the Secretary’s reviews of contingency plans and led the development of the President’s statutorily required planning guidance in 2012, 2015, and 2018.  Cara joined the Defense Department in 2001, receiving a permanent appointment through the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows program. 

Cara holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington) in Virginia.  She is a member of Women in Defense and a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.