Laura McAleer

Laura McAleer

Policy Committee Co-Chair
Associate Vice President, Federal & Washington Relations, University of Notre Dame

Laura McAleer is the University of Notre Dame’s Associate Vice President for Federal and Washington Relations, responsible for the development and execution of the University’s priorities in the Nation’s capital. In this capacity, she seeks to strengthen Notre Dame’s strategic impact with key research and policy thought leaders and constituencies, as well as provide campus leadership with advice and counsel related to federal policies and regulations that may affect the University. She brings more than twenty years of civilian and military experience to this current position.

Prior to joining Notre Dame, Ms. McAleer served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Senate Affairs and acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, leading the Department of Defense’s strategic engagement and advocacy with the U.S. Congress. In addition to serving as a principal representative and spokesperson on defense legislative priorities, her responsibilities included managing the Senate confirmation process for over 50 senior civilian leaders of the Department.

Previously, Ms. McAleer worked as a senior legislative advisor on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, holding staff positions in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Beginning on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she subsequently served as a national security and foreign policy advisor to four U.S. Senators, leading legislative and appropriations portfolios pertaining to defense, homeland security, intelligence, veterans and foreign affairs.

In addition to her congressional background, Ms. McAleer has worked in a wide range of executive branch capacities, to include service as a strategy and plans officer for U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, as an analyst and program manager with the Office of Naval Intelligence, and as a visiting scholar at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. She also served as the Director for Strategic Initiatives for the Secretary of the Navy, responsible for the development and oversight of key organizational and personnel efforts.

Ms. McAleer graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government/International Studies and Spanish. Subsequently, she earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, an Advanced Project Manager Certification from Stanford University, and was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Her professional awards include the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Department of the Navy Superior Public Service Award. 

Ms. McAleer currently serves on the National Council of Women in Defense (WID) and the Board of Directors for the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).  She previously was a member of the Secretary of Defense's Reserve Forces Policy Board and served on the Board of Directors for The Science Coalition.