Image of Caitlin McInnes

By Shane Klestinski, Associate Editor


Caitlin McInnes is the new director of international programs at Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD).


Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McInnes received her bachelor’s in economics from Loyola University Maryland in 2008. Having graduated into the Great Recession, McInnes took a practical approach in her post-college job hunting and opted for government service instead of the private sector.


“Based on my degree and my interests, I targeted the Department of Defense (DOD),” McInnes said. “Through career fairs, I found opportunities for an internship program with the Navy.”


She began her federal career with the Department of the Navy’s Naval Acquisition Intern Program later in 2008. Since then, she has held several different Navy civilian positions prior to arriving at NAWCTSD.


After McInnes’ internship, her first “echelon one” experience at the Pentagon was an eight-month rotation supporting the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs (DASN Ships). McInnes later served as the procurement manager for the Columbia-class submarine program, where she provided acquisition and contracts management oversight for all aspects of the program.


“Given the importance of the mission, working on a lead ship is always amazing,” McInnes said. “Those opportunities only come around so often.”


McInnes cites her 14-month rotation with the Undersea Warfare Division at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) as deputy branch head for tactical submarines, as another experience that was especially significant in preparing her for current position. Her portfolio covered Virginia-class submarines, in-service submarines, SSN(X) submarines, and the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program.


“My portfolio was pretty big and exciting,” McInnes said. “I got to see a lot of different things I’d never been exposed to because I’d mostly been on acquisition programs previously. My OPNAV position was more portfolio management than program management, and my new role is definitely more portfolio-focused.”


Since beginning her federal career, McInnes has enjoyed unexpected opportunities outside of the traditional government path of professional development, such as a two-week “Insight into Industry” course the Navy hosted at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, which she describes as having been “truly beneficial.”


During her time at the DASN Ships office, McInnes wrote the congressional testimony for the president’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget submission for the Navy. She accompanied Allison Stiller, the then-acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition, and witnessed Stiller’s testimony to Congress that defended the Navy’s budget.


“Seeing how she handled herself when she was peppered with a lot of questions, as well as watching her courage under pressure and her ability to respond, gave me some reflection on how I’d need to prepare myself in the future,” McInnes said.


As the new director of international programs, McInnes oversees security cooperation efforts for training devices that NAWCTSD provides to its foreign military sales customers. She said she looks forward to supporting the workforce, fostering her organization’s growth, and hitting its milestone dates.


“I am excited to execute NAWCTSD’s mission and support our partnerships across the globe,” McInnes said.


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