Cindy Lersten

Associate Administrator for Management and Budget
Our Leadership

Cindy Lersten, a 20-year career professional in government and a member of the Senior Executive Service, serves as the Associate Administrator for Management and Budget at NNSA.  As a recipient of the 2008 OPM Presidential Meritorious Rank Award for her work in globally reducing weapons of mass destruction and her achievements in mentoring and training across government, Ms. Lersten with her notable experience, is responsible for  NNSA’s human capital management policies and programs, financial management programs, international operations (at embassies, missions, and consulates), and administrative operations supporting more than 2,400 employees nation-wide and internationally.

Prior to joining the office of Management and Budget, Ms. Lersten joined the Senior Executive Service in August 2003 and served for five years as the Associate Assistant Deputy Administrator to the Office of Nonproliferation and International Security—an office of 90 people and a $140 million budget, which works with over 50 countries to reduce the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

From 2001 to 2003, she served as the senior Department of Energy (DOE) Middle East Regional representative while living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was responsible for developing regional nonproliferation partnerships and fostering oil and gas initiatives for the Department. In 1999 Ms. Lersten became the DOE Moscow Officer Director at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  During this time, she was responsible for overseeing the implementation of DOE’s $300 million nuclear assistance program in Russia and focused extensively in developing partnerships throughout Russia with the goal of reducing the nuclear weapons stockpile there.  She was also active in the energy sector and united the U.S. business community, Russian government and the Department in energy-related dialogue. 

Ms. Lersten began her career at DOE in 1994 where her main role then was to manage an export control program and implement the launch of two programs that aided Russia and the Newly Independent States in securing their borders and establishing effective systems of export control.  During those years Ms. Lersten, in partnership with DOE laboratories, launched the Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program in Russia.  The SLD, which has grown to 30 countries, works to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear and radiological materials by securing international land borders, seaports and airports that may be used as smuggling routes for materials needed for a nuclear device or a radiological dispersal device.  At the same time she was launching SLD, Ms. Lersten was also responsible for the Nonproliferation Graduate Program (NGP).  Ms. Lersten began working with NGP during its formative years and today has grown the program to serve as an agency-wide succession planning tool to meet future workforce needs for the NNSA.

Ms. Lersten studied abroad in Malta, graduated from University of Wyoming with a B.A. in International Studies while working for former Senator Alan K. Simpson, and obtained her M.A. from George Washington University in Security Policy Studies.  Ms. Lersten is currently married and resides in the DC area with her husband and their four children.