Debra Decker

Senior Advisor
  • Managing Across Boundaries

Debra Decker is a senior advisor at the Managing Across Boundaries initiative. She has more than 20 years of experience developing policies and managing processes in the private and public sectors and is a subject matter expert in the field of risk management.

Decker is also president of Decker Advisors, LLC, a firm she recently established to focus on framing complex national security problems in innovative ways and engaging stakeholders to develop efficient solutions. Prior to this, Decker was with Booz Allen Hamilton. She has advised the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security on strategy and risk and has specialized in the threats stemming from weapons of mass destruction and in the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure. As a researcher, Decker was an associate of Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her research has been featured at the World Economic Forum and to Congress.

She is a member of the Society for Risk Analysis, the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management, the Security Analysis and Risk Management Association, and the 2013 ASIS Technical Advisory Committee for developing a national risk assessment standard. She currently serves on the boards of the Washington Foreign Law Society and of TexProtects, which works against child abuse and neglect in Texas. Earlier in her career, Decker managed strategic planning for the European operations of a major international bank. As a journalist and NPR commentator, she has won national awards, including the Scripps Howard "Walker Stone" Award for editorial writing.

Decker holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. from American University.

Select Publications and Presentations 

Government Can't Do It All, But the Public Can Help (Government Executive, January 14, 2014)

A Win-Win for Government and Insurers: Partnering for Security (Carrier Management, October 9, 2013)

A Fuller Accounting (Huffington Post, December 6, 2012)

Before the First Bomb Goes Off: Developing Nuclear Attribution Standards and Policies (Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2011)

Risk of What? Using ERM [Enterprise Risk Management] to Consider National Interests (Presentation to Society for Risk Analysis, 2009)

What It Takes to Change Government (Booz Allen Hamilton Strategy Team, 2009) 

Before Disaster Strikes: Rate and Raise Public Preparedness Now (Policy Brief, Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2009) 

Who Pays When the Bomb Goes Off? (Foreign Policy, December 2006)

Insure to Assure: A New Paradigm for Nuclear Nonproliferation and International Security (Innovations vol. 4, no. 2, spring 2009; co-authored with Wharton Risk Center Managing Director Erwann Michel-Kerjan)

The Economics of Nuclear Energy Markets and the Future of International Security (Working Paper, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 2008)

The Other Energy Crisis (September 4, 2007, Strategy + Business)

A New Energy Paradigm: Ensuring Nuclear Fuel Supply and Nonproliferation through International Collaboration with Insurance and Financial Markets (Discussion Paper, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2007) 

Ensuring Global Uranium Supplies (December 22, 2006, International Herald Tribune)

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