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VERNITA HARRIS

Director, Spectrum Policy and Programs,
Department of Defense Chief Information Officer


Photograph of Vernita Harris
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Mrs. Vernita D. Harris is a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and serves as the Director, Spectrum Policy and Programs Directorate, Office of the Chief Information Officer. In this role, she provides executive leadership, strategic guidance and oversees the implementation of the Department of Defense (DoD) policies for the management and use of the electromagnetic spectrum. She is responsible for developing and advancing DoD’s spectrum, Internet, and information and telecommunication policy with the federal interagency coordination teams. Mrs. Harris also serves as the Department’s focal point to for all spectrum, standardization, and development policy matters arising within the United Nations specialized agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She leads a team of policy and engineering experts who collaborate with the Services, federal agencies and our international partners in support of the Department’s missions, goals and objectives.

Mrs. Harris began her Federal career in 1999 with the Office of Spectrum Management in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), housed within the Department of Commerce. In 2007, after 8 years of successfully handling domestic and international spectrum matters, Mrs. Harris expanded her expertise by joining NTIA’s Office of International Affairs, where she served most recently as the Deputy Associate Administrator. In this role, she was responsible for managing the strategic portfolio of domestic and international policy matters impacting the Internet, standards, cybersecurity, emerging technologies and the digital economy.

Over the course of Mrs. Harris’ career, she has represented the U.S. on many U.S. delegations to the ITU and regional intergovernmental organizations. She has negotiated ITU treaty-related instruments bilaterally and multilaterally, and directed and chaired strategic planning committees. She was named most recently the U.S. Deputy Head of Delegation for the 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, and chair of the ITU’s Council Administrative and Management Working Group. Before joining the U.S. Government, Mrs. Harris worked for Iridium, LLC.

Mrs. Harris has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with Minor in Management, from Trinity College, Washington, D.C. She successfully completed the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) Leadership for a Democratic Society and other management and leadership courses. Mrs. Harris and her husband, Damon, have been married for 22 years and have 4 children and 1 grandson.