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Rachael A. Dempsey

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Navigation, Observations, and Positioning, NOAA’s National Ocean Service

Rachael A. Dempsey

Rachael A. Dempsey is deputy assistant administrator for navigation, observations, and positioning in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Ocean Service (NOS).


Rachael A. Dempsey is the National Ocean Service’s (NOS) first-ever deputy assistant administrator for navigation, observations, and positioning, effective April 24, 2023. She will have full responsibility for establishing, managing, and providing strategic direction for the NOS navigation, observations, and positioning programs. She will also supervise NOS’s information technology and data management strategies.

With nearly 28 years as a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer in the United States Navy, Ms. Dempsey has broad meteorological and oceanographic prediction and operational application expertise and significant experience leading large, diverse organizations and managing financial resources. She also possesses an extensive background in cyber operations and network defense background.

Ms. Dempsey managed the Navy’s $2 billion undersea surveillance systems program and a variety of Navy Department research and development programs. As the Deputy Command Information Officer for Naval Information Forces, she oversaw critical network cybersecurity programs for over 70 subordinate organizations. Selected as one of the first women to serve as an information warfare commander at sea, she delivered innovative solutions to maintain adversarial advantage in the information sphere; as the maritime operations center director for Fleet Cyber Command, she was responsible for coordination and oversight of global navy cyber, space and communications operations.

Ms. Dempsey grew up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and is passionate about maritime environmental stewardship and its important role in economic and national security.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in marine science from Jacksonville University in Florida and holds master’s degrees in meteorology and oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School and in national security strategy from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Additionally, Ms. Dempsey earned a certificate for leadership in the intelligence community from the National Intelligence University in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ms. Dempsey is an avid gardener and lives with her husband and two children in Alexandria, Virginia.