Marcel Lettre

Security, Tech, Innovation | Fmr USDI

General Information

Washington, D.C.
Eastern Time (US & Canada)


Most recently, Lettre served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI), the top intelligence advisor to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and the top defense advisor to Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper.

Lettre is an internationally-recognized national security expert with a proven track record of leading organizations at the highest levels in managing crisis and change, and managing and explaining international events and national security technology innovation trends.  He served eight years in the Pentagon, including an advisor to Secretaries of Defense Bob Gates and Chuck Hagel, and as Deputy Chief of Staff to Leon Panetta.

In his role as USDI, Lettre oversaw $17 billion in military intelligence funding and 110,000 personnel across nine agencies and organizations, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Security Service, while working closely with the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the White House National Security Council.

As USDI, he pushed to harness technological innovation to build powerful new intelligence capabilities for the future while tackling key current global challenges including the rebalance to the Asia Pacific, countering ISIS and al Qaeda, nuclear weapons proliferation, Russian aggression, cyber attacks, and insider threats.

In addition to his service in the Pentagon, Lettre has extensive experience on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. Lettre has served as Senior National Security Advisor to the U.S. Senate Majority Leader and as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, handling defense and intelligence-related legislation, appropriations, and confirmations, and supporting efforts to improve intelligence capabilities after 9/11 and during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Previously, Lettre worked as a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, in research roles including for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and at the Harvard-Stanford Preventive Defense Project.

Lettre is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has a masters degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a bachelors from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. An avid outdoorsman, he once backpacked the entire 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. Lettre lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his spouse and two daughters.