George Barnes

George Barnes, Former Deputy Director, NSA & NCF Chairman of the Board (Jan 2024)

As National Security Agency (NSA) Deputy Director, George Barnes was instrumental in developing the Progress Through Partnership vision that became the basis of the Memorandum of Agreement signed by NSA Director GEN Nakasone and NCF President & CEO Laura Nelson.

George was the driving force for launching the inaugural NCF sponsored “Convening to Act” on Quantum Resistant Cryptography and ensured that that experts from NSA were engaged in the process. During his time as Deputy Director, Mr. Barnes was an advocate for the NCF, as he recognized the importance of our private-public partnership in shaping discussions on topics of national security interest. 

George joined the NCF Board in December 2023 and was elected to serve as the Chairman beginning in January 2024.

George Barnes - Bio

Mr. George C. Barnes served as the Deputy Director and senior civilian leader of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) from 2017 to 2023. As Deputy Director, Mr. Barnes acted as NSA’s chief operating officer, overseeing strategy execution, establishing policy, guiding operations, and managing the senior civilian leadership.  As an agency deputy in the U.S. national security system, Mr. Barnes supported the U.S. defense and intelligence enterprise in the formulation of national security policies, and positioned NSA as an integrated mission partner enabling U.S. decision advantage and security against foreign threats.
Over his 35-year career at NSA, Mr. Barnes held numerous technical and organizational leadership roles spanning intelligence collection operations, target analysis, foreign liaison and industrial partnership management, workforce support, and global enterprise governance.
Mr. Barnes is a certified Cryptologic Engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. In 2020, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni by University of Maryland’s College of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  He is a recipient of the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, a Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the NSA Ann Caracristi Award for Operations & Production Excellence, and multiple Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Awards.