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Philip McNamara

Assistant Secretary, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Philip A. McNamara is the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a position he has held since March 2013. In this role, Assistant Secretary McNamara serves as Secretary Jeh Johnson’s direct representative to the nation’s 50 governors, mayors and state homeland security advisors.  Assistant Secretary McNamara is responsible for coordinating and advancing DHS interaction and outreach with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and the national associations that represent them. As part of this, Assistant Secretary McNamara represents the interests and perspective of state, local, tribal and territorial officials in the Department’s policy development process. He participates in the DHS response to actual or potential national security threats/incidents and a variety of natural disasters. He ensures the timely distribution and coordination of information to governors and mayors to keep them informed during an incident. 

In addition to his service as Assistant Secretary, McNamara served as the Department’s Chief of Staff (Acting) for seven months – from July 2013 through the beginning of February 2014.  In this assignment, he supported the DHS Secretary in managing the daily operations of the third largest Department in the Federal Government with 240,000 employees, 22 agencies and a $60 billion budget.  He was the principal advisor to the Secretary on all operational and policy functions of the Department, supervised the Department’s policy development process, and managed the Department’s interaction with the White House, the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President.  His tenure as Chief of Staff was through the transition period of DHS Secretaries. In all, Assistant Secretary McNamara served under Secretary Janet Napolitano, Acting Secretary Rand Beers and Secretary Johnson and included the October 2013 government shutdown. 

Prior to these positions, Mr. McNamara was appointed by Secretary Napolitano as the Department’s Executive Secretary, a position he held from June 2009 through March 2013.  In this position, he was the Executive Director of Operations and Administration for the Office of the Secretary and was responsible for all correspondence, briefing materials, and White House and Interagency Actions going in and out of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary’s offices.  He developed and implemented DHS-wide processes and protocols for managing internal communications and decision documents to/from the Secretary and Deputy Secretary ensuring that all documents bound for the Secretary were properly vetted. 

Upon joining the Department, Mr. McNamara concluded an 11-year career with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), where he served as the Director of Party Affairs and Delegate Selection from 2002 through 2009. The Office of Party Affairs and Delegate Selection assists the National Party Chairman with the institutional functions of the DNC and coordinates the Party’s presidential nominating process and selection of delegates to the National Convention. Mr. McNamara was the senior advisor to 5 DNC Chairmen on Party rules and procedures from 1998 to 2009 and was the DNC’s lead expert in the historic 2008 presidential nominating process. 

Mr. McNamara is a native of Massachusetts and has lived in Washington, D.C. since 1998. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in 1997, where he double-majored in political science and journalism. 

Last Updated: 11/15/2021
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