Cara L. Abercrombie

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition


Ms. Cara Abercrombie was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition (ASD(A)) on February 27, 2024. In this position, she advises the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD(A&S)), the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Defense on matters relating to the Department of Defense (DoD) Acquisition System, acquisition program management, and the development of strategic, space, intelligence, tactical warfare, command and control, and business systems.

From 2021-2023, Ms. Abercrombie served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council. Prior to this position, she was the Acting Deputy Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). In this position, she oversaw the organization’s diverse portfolio of Security Cooperation programs and worked with external stakeholders to synchronize DSCA activities with foreign policy and national security objectives. Additionally, she was the first President of the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) and Principal Director for Workforce Development. She was responsible for overseeing the professional development and certification of the 15,000+ civilian and military members of the DoD security cooperation workforce; and the training of other DoD, U.S. Government, defense industry and foreign partner personnel who perform related functions.

Ms. Abercrombie was a career member of the Senior Executive Service with two decades of experience working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Previously, she was detailed from the Department of Defense as a visiting fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 2017 to 2018, where she published numerous articles on U.S.- India defense relations. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia from 2016-2017, Ms. Abercrombie served as the principal advisor to senior Department leadership for all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for the region. She was responsible for managing the bilateral security relationships with nations of that region and guiding Department of Defense engagement with regional multilateral institutions.

Her previous positions in the Department have included Principal Director for East Asia Policy, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Director for South Asia, Human Capital Strategy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Policy, Defense Institution Building Coordinator, and Senior Country Director for India. She joined the Department as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2003. Prior to entering government, Ms. Abercrombie was a Program Officer for Eurasia with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Ms. Abercrombie holds a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. She is a 2022 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, numerous Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, and the Department of State Meritorious Honor Award.