Radha Iyengar Plumb is an Indian-American economist who started serving as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense in February 2021. She made headlines in June 2022 when she was nominated by US President Joe Biden for the top Pentagon post of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.
Radha Iyengar Plumb was born on Wednesday, October 29, 1980 (age 41 years; as of 2021). From 1998 to 2002, she pursued a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US. She earned a PhD in Economics from Princeton University, New Jersey, US, from 2002 to 2006.
Parents & Siblings
Not much information is available about her parents and siblings.
Husband & Children
Radha Iyengar is married and has two sons.
In August 2006, she started her career as RWJ Health Policy Scholar at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After working there for two years, she became an Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics (LSE), London, England; she worked at LSE until August 2011. From 2010 to 2011, she also worked as an academic advisor at CAAT. After working as an economist for RAND Corporation, a policy-analysis think tank in Santa Monica, CA, for eight months, she assumed the position of Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary at the Pentagon, the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense. From September 2013 to October 2014, she served as the Director of Defense Personnel, Readiness, and Partnerships at the National Security Council, The White House. She held the position of Deputy Chief of Staff in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from October 2014 to October 2015. At DOE, she led policy processes including budget and policy reviews related to modernizing nuclear infrastructure and efforts to enhance energy sector security and resilience. Thereafter, she rejoined RAND Corporation as a senior economist, where she worked till September 2017. At RAND Corporation, she focused on improving the measurement and evaluation of readiness and security efforts across the Department of Defense. In that capacity, she authored a number of critical reports including assessing the implications of open service for Transgender Service members and review of security and suitability screening efforts. Then, she joined Facebook (now Meta) as Research Lead on User Safety and Risk Management (UX) in Menlo Park, California. In September 2018, she became Head of Product-Policy Research at Facebook. In August 2019, she was promoted to the position of Global Head of Policy Analysis, whose objective is to focus on high-risk/high-harm safety and critical international security issues. In February 2020, she joined Google in San Francisco Bay Area as Director, Trust & Safety – Research and Insights; she led the cross-functional teams on business analytics, data science and technical research. She became the Chief Of Staff to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H Hicks in February 2021. On 15 June 2022, Joe Biden announced five nominees to top leadership posts in his administration including Radha Iyengar Plumb for a key Pentagon position of deputy undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment. Over the course of her government service, she was instrumental in executive actions on sexual assault and suicide prevention, budget and policy related to nuclear and energy infrastructure security and resilience, and security assistance and counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. She has also co-hosted a national-security podcast called ‘Bombshell,’ which she established with Erin Simpson and Loren DeJonge Schulman after the 2016 presidential election. She is also known for her podcasts Smart Women, Smart Power (2014) and Rational Security (2015). She co-authored the book ‘Availability of Family Violence Services for Military Service Members and Their Families.’
- In an interview, she revealed that her mentors, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Michael Sheehan and former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, have helped to guide her career.
- She was also instrumental in evaluating stabilization operations in Afghanistan to prevent and respond to sexual assault in the U.S. military.
- For her 40th birthday, she created a fundraiser for RAICES, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.