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Acting Principal Deputy CIO for Command, Control, & Communications (C3)
Director, Electromagnetic Spectrum Enterprise Policy & Programs
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Chief Information Officer

Photograph of Vernita Harris

Ms. Vernita D. Harris is the Acting Principal Deputy CIO for Command, Control, & Communications (C3) and the Director for Electromagnetic Spectrum Enterprise Policy & Programs (EMSEPP) within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In these roles, she provides strategic direction, policy guidance, and oversight regarding C3 and spectrum matters across the Department.

A career civilian servant and member of the Senior Executive Service, Mrs. Harris has decades of technology and policy experience across government and industry, domestically and internationally.

She began her federal career at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Department of Commerce, ultimately ascending to the role of Deputy Associate Administrator. In this capacity, she shaped domestic and international policy and strategy related to spectrum, Internet governance, standards development, cybersecurity, emerging technologies, and the digital economy.

In 2020, she transitioned to the Department of Defense as Director, EMSEPP, where she leads a multidisciplinary team of engineers and policy experts. In this role, she provides strategic leadership, guidance, and direction for DoD policy matters related to spectrum, satellite orbital slots, and Internet governance, to include engagement with the White House, Congress, the interagency, industry, and international partners.

A recognized expert in policy and governance at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mrs. Harris has led and served on numerous U.S. Delegations to regional and global intergovernmental organizations, including all major UN ITU treaty-making conferences since 2000, and has been selected to serve in leadership roles at the ITU on behalf of the U.S government.

Prior to her Federal service, Mrs. Harris worked for Iridium, LLC.

Mrs. Harris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Trinity College.