Debra Durham is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Global Resilience Institute, as well as a member of its Post-Disaster Assessment and Advisory Team.
Durham brings nearly 30 years of federal defense and homeland security experience as an accomplished government leader and expert in systems acquisition and engineering, research and development, and test and evaluation.
Previous positions include Senior Executive Service with the Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as Group Director for Acquisition and Operational Analysis. She held appointments as the Science and Technology Component Acquisition Executive, Executive Agent for the DHS Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, DHS Standards Executive, and Executive of the Transportation Security Laboratory. She published the first DHS RDT&E Systems Analysis Framework and Guidebook for capability development.
Mrs. Durham began a 20-year U.S. Navy civilian career developing applied engineering skills that led to becoming an accomplished leader in acquisition, operations analysis and systems engineering in the areas of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). She focused on the design and integration of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) technologies and insertion programs and directed the test and evaluation, certification and assessment program for combat and weapon system integration, interoperability and readiness. She established systems and software engineering policy and architecture for major warfare systems, established the prioritization criteria for the Naval Sea Basing and Sea Strike Science and Technology program and successfully developed and implemented Technical Authority for U.S. Naval Combat Systems.
Debra studied computer science and continued her education at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her most rewarding efforts support advancement programs for women in STEM.
GRI’s Post-Disaster Assessment and Advisory Team is a group of experts with deep operational experience in disaster response. Working in ways analogous to National Transportation Safety Board teams, GRI’s team conducts extensive analysis and in-depth interviews about the disaster, the response and recovery efforts.