Michelle Woods

Michelle Woods

Vice President and Director, RAND Homeland Security Research Division; Director, Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center; Senior Defense Researcher

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Michelle Woods is vice president and director of the RAND Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD), which operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC). She is also a senior defense researcher at RAND.

Woods served as the program director for homeland security in the National Governors Association's (NGA) Center for Best Practices, where she managed the homeland security policy issue area, including state and local emergency management and resilience; homeland security policy issues related to preventing targeted violence, public health preparedness, information and intelligence sharing, critical infrastructure protection, and use of the National Guard; and state/federal funding mechanisms and practices, including grant programs.

Prior to joining NGA, Woods served as the director for Homeland Security for the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. During her tenure with the Committee, Woods was responsible for leading major homeland security policy initiatives, including the effort to re-authorize the Department of Homeland Security, establishment of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and authorization of the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice efforts to counter malicious drones.

Woods also worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office where she conducted and managed program evaluations and investigations of the Intelligence Community and the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State. Before that she served as special assistant to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where she was the director of civics literacy and voter education initiatives.

Woods holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. in political science and communications from Western Kentucky University.


M.P.A. in management, University of Kentucky; B.A. in political science, Western Kentucky University; B.A. in communications, Western Kentucky University

Authored by Michelle Woods

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