Chief Government Relations Officer (CGRO)

Virginia J. Burnley joined the senior staff team in 2017 as senior vice president of government relations and external affairs.

Our Chief Government Relations Officer Virginia J.Burnley joined the senior staff team in 2017 as senior vice president of government relations and external affairs. In this capacity, Virginia provides vision and strategic leadership in support of the USO relationship with government and external stakeholders including the White House, Congress, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Guard and Reserve and state government officials.

Virginia has more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit community, senior levels of federal service, state government and the private sector. Prior to joining the USO, Virginia was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Virginia also worked as Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives over the course of eight years, including serving as Counsel to the House Armed Services Committee. She subsequently served as the Executive Director of the Office of the Chairman at the American Red Cross National Headquarters for two years prior to her appointment by the Bush Administration in 2006 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. In this capacity, Virginia had primary responsibility for communication and strategic outreach for Congressional Leadership, Committees and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and she served as a key advisor on legislative issues for both Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. She was retained by the Obama Administration to assist with the President’s transition team in 2009 and was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

From 2009 to 2012, Virginia served in a Defense Intelligence Senior Leader position overseeing legislative affairs at the Defense Security Service.

Earlier in her career, Virginia worked in the private practice of law for 10 years in Washington, D.C., and was on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown University and the University of San Diego. Virginia graduated cum laude from Duke University and received a Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University School of Law.