Elected in 2006 to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), Dr. Ron Sanders has served with distinction in some of the most senior positions with the US government, the private sector, and academe, and he has played a key role in the transformation of some of the most important and impactful public sector organizations in the world.
Among his many accomplishments, he helped lead the historic post-Cold War transformation of the US Defense Department; the post-9/11 stand-up of the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of National Intelligence, and the integration of the US Intelligence Community (IC), as well as the recruiting, development, and deployment of thousands of new intelligence officers to fight the Global War on Terror; the reform and restructuring of the IRS; the creation of the cybersecurity and space agencies of the United Arab Emirates; and even the establishment of China’s National School of Administration.
Recipient of three Presidential Rank Awards (from DOD, IRS, and the US Office of Personnel Management), two Teddy Roosevelt Distinguished Public Service Awards, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, an Innovations in American Government award from Harvard, and numerous other decorations, he has testified before the US Congress over three dozen times and has also developed numerous laws—such as those creating voluntary separation pay (a.k.a., ‘buy-outs’)—and regulations that established DOD’s National Security Personnel System and the IC’s revolutionary civilian ‘joint duty’ program.
In addition, Dr. Sanders has written four books—including two published by the Brookings Institution and one by NAPA—and has also served as a member of National Security Agency’s Advisory Board, as well as on the Boards of Directors of the National Intelligence University Foundation, the Senior Executives Association, the American Society for Training and Development; the Journal The Public Manager, and the National Academy of Sciences Cybersecurity Panel. And from 2017 until his unintentionally well-publicized resignation in October 2020, he was also the Presidentially appointed Chairman of the US Federal Salary Council.
Dr. Sanders has taught on the faculties of Syracuse University’s top-ranked Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the George Washington University (GWU) and led research centers at both institutions; he also chaired the faculty of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Public Policy Education. He earned his Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA) from GWU and holds a B.A. from USF (Class of 1973) and an M.S. from the University of Utah.
A former SEC football player, Dr. Sanders is a certified SCUBA diver, with logged dives from the Great Barrier Reef and the Pacific to the Red Sea and Gulf of Arabia—and he also flies WWII ‘war birds’ (such as the AT-6 Texan, the P-40 Warhawk, and the P-51 Mustang) as a hobby. He is married to the former Elizabeth Book of Miami, and they have one married son, also a Federal civil servant.