About The Punaro Group


The Punaro Group is your trusted guide to the federal market place, offering advice, analysis and strategy backed by 40 years of unparalleled experience and proven performance, enabling you to seize opportunities and accelerate growth.

We are committed to your success by ensuring you have clarity on federal trends and decisions, that you receive timely analysis on markets and events that affect business, and that you have confidence to move forward with an informed strategy that influences the outcome and wins business.

Arnold L. Punaro is the chief executive of TPG. His 40 years of unparalleled experience provides a competitive advantage in the Washington landscape. With TPG, the client receives:

  • The sense of urgency of an Executive Vice President for Business Development, Government Relations, Communications and Washington operations, from his 14 years in corporate America for a top-ten government contractor.
  • The experience of a Senate staff member repeatedly rated among the most influential by Roll Call during 24 years of service on the Hill, 14 as Staff Director of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
  • The insight of a figure of influence in national security who has been called to chair and serve time and again on various presidential and Defense Department boards and commissions.
  • An insider’s view of the military and modern warfare drawn from a 35-year career in uniform culminating in service as a U.S. Marine Corps Major General.
  • The experience drawn from leadership in crisis and risk management for a Fortune 250 company.
  • The entrepreneurial spirit of a current small business owner.
  • A deep understanding of national security decision making drawn from an illustrious  career spanning legislative and executive branches and the defense industry.
  • The ability to convey to others the essence of decision making as illustrated by 10 years as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University teaching a graduate course on national-security decision making during which he was ranked by students in the top 1% of all Georgetown professors.

Arnold L. Punaro Biography

Arnold Punaro is chief executive officer of The Punaro Group, LLC, a Washington-based firm he founded in 2010 specializing in federal budget and market analysis, business strategy and capture, acquisition due diligence, government relations, communications, sensitive operations, business risk analysis and compliance, and crisis management. He consults for a broad array of Fortune 100 companies and was recognized by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential individuals in U.S. Defense in 2012 and 2013.  He received the Reserve Officers Association’s prestigious Minuteman of the Year Award in 2014.

In November 2013, Mr. Punaro was selected to a two-year term as the Chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association, the country’s largest defense industry association with over 1,600 corporate and 91,000 individual members. He’s also Chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, which serves as an independent advisor to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Reserve and National Guard matters.

He is a retired Marine Corps Major General who has also served as the executive vice president of an $11 billion technology and professional services firm, and as the staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, among other positions.

Corporate Leadership

As an executive vice president at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) from 1997 to 2010, Mr. Punaro served as a sector manager, deputy president of the Federal Business Segment, and led SAIC’s Corporate Business Development organization. He was the senior corporate official responsible for SAIC’s government affairs, worldwide communications and support operations, to include crisis and risk management, as well as general manager of their Washington operations and supervisor of SAIC’s corporate Small and Disadvantaged Business office.  At SAIC, he was recognized for his leadership and accomplishments with the Founder’s Award and two special CEO awards.

U.S. Senate Leadership

From 1973 to 1997, Mr. Punaro worked for Senator Sam Nunn, D-GA, in National Security matters. He served as his director of National Security Affairs, and then as Staff Director of the Senate Armed Services Committee (eight years), and Staff Director for the Minority (five years). In his work with Senator Nunn and the Senate Armed Services Committee, he was involved in the formulation of all major defense and intelligence legislation and the oversight and review of all major defense and intelligence activities, civilian and military nominations, for over two decades.

U.S. Marine Corps Leadership

Punaro is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General. He served as the Director of the Marine Corps Reserve during the post-9/11 mobilizations, Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (Mobilization), and for three years as the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division. Other assignments were Commanding General, Marine Corps Mobilization Command, and Deputy Commander, Marine Forces Reserve. He served on active duty as an Infantry Platoon Commander in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor, and the Purple Heart. In December 1990, General Punaro was mobilized for Operation Desert Shield. In December 1993, he completed a tour of extended active duty as Commander of Joint Task Force Provide Promise (Forward) in the former Yugoslavia. He was mobilized for a third time in May 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Commissions and Task Force Leadership

Punaro meets with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Punaro meets with former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

On September 1, 2011, Punaro was named by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to chair the newly constituted Reserve Forces Policy Board which serves as an independent advisor to the Secretary of Defense on reserve and guard matters. He served on the Defense Business Board (DBB) as a founding member since its inception in 2001 until the completion of his current term in January 2014. In 2012, he chaired a DBB task force making recommendations to reform the DoD acquisition process entitled “Linking and Streamlining” the DoD requirements, acquisition and budget processes. In 2010, he chaired a DBB task force for Secretary of Defense Gates on reducing DoD overhead. In January 2005, he was named by Secretary Rumsfeld to chair the Statutory Commission on the National Guard and Reserves established by public law 108-375. The Commission completed their work in April 2008 with most of their 113 recommendations largely adopted by DoD and the Congress.

Punaro also served as a task force member for U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security, a Commissioner on the Independent Commission on the Iraqi Security Force, Deputy Executive Director of the Hart-Rudman National Security Commission from 1998-2001, which foresaw the growing terrorist threat to the United States well before the September 11, 2001 attacks and advocated priority attention be devoted to homeland security, and chaired the Defense Reform Task Force for Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 1997.

Policy Organization and Board Leadership

Punaro is a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He serves on the non-profit boards of the Atlantic Council,  the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs Board of Visitors, Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the Georgia Institute of Technology Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, and as Chair of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).

Personal Awards

Punaro is the recipient of numerous recognitions including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. He received the Marine Corps League’s “Iron Mike” Award in 1993 for “exceptionally outstanding service” and “unwavering commitment” for over 20 years to “insuring a strong national defense.” He has received the Air Force Association’s “Exceptional Service Award,” the National Guard “Minuteman Award,” the Army’s “Outstanding Civilian Service Medal”, and was the recipient of SAIC’s “Founders Award” and two special CEO awards. In March 2014 Punaro received the Reserve Officers Association’s Minuteman of the Year award presented annually to a “citizen who has contributed most to National Security during these times.” He has over 20 military awards and decorations to include the Distinguished Service Medal.

Education and Early Life

Punaro has a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Arts degree from Georgetown University, the latter in national security studies. He was on the Adjunct Faculty of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for ten years where he taught an annual graduate level course entitled “National Security Decision Making.” He is a 2011 Grady College Fellow inductee of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. He received his undergraduate degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

He born and raised in Macon, Georgia where he graduated from Mount de Sales Academy (Georgia). He is the son of the late Angelo J. Punaro, a civil engineer, and Annina Benedetto Punaro, a teacher. His father and mother were 2nd generation Americans whose parents immigrated from Italy.

Boards and Commissions


Current Boards



Chairman, Reserve Forces Policy Board September 1, 2011 – Current
Chairman, Board of Directors, National Defense Industrial Association  Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, National Defense Industrial Association November 2013 – Current October 2011 – October 2013
Board of Visitors, Member, UGA School of Public and International Affairs August 2010 – Current
Member, Georgia Institute of Technology Sam Nunn School of International Affairs January 2013 – Current
Member, Syracuse University Maxwell Advisory Board April 2012 – Current
Member, Board of Directors, The Atlantic Council August 2007 – Current
Senior Adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies February 1997 – Current
Visiting Scholar, Bipartisan Policy Center September 2011 – Current
Member, Defense Business Board July 2015 – Current


Previous Boards and Commissions



Member, Defense Business Board
(Appointed by Secretary Rumsfeld, re-appointed by Secretary Gates, re-appointed by Secretary Panetta)
February 2002 – January 2014
Chairman of the Board, and Board Member, Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS) October 2, 2009 –
December 31, 2011
Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq May 2007 – September 2007
Report to Congress, September 6, 2007, Commissioner
Chairman, Commission on the National Guard and Reserve March 1, 2005 – April 30, 2008
90-Day report, June 5, 2006
Second report to Congress, March 1, 2007
Final report to Congress, January 31, 2008
Appointed Chairman by Secretary Rumsfeld
Senior Review Panel for the National Defense University’s Quadrennial Defense Review Project 2000
Deputy Executive Director, The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century July 1998 – March 2001
Phase I: New World Coming, American Security in the 21st Century, September 15, 1999
Phase II: Seeking A National Security Strategy, April 15, 2000
Phase III: Building for Peace
Chairman, 1997 Defense Reform Task Force 1997-1998
Appointed by Secretary William Cohen
Senior Officers Advisory Panel, Defense Intelligence College 1997-2003
Reserve Forces Policy Board, Member July 1, 1997 –
September 30, 2003
Board of Governors, Marine Corps Association 1994-1998
Member, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps’ Vision Group 1994-1995
Member Marine Corps Reserve Policy Board 1993-1996