John Barsa is the founder
and principal of Barsa Strategies, a firm providing a full spectrum of consulting and lobbying services within the homeland
and national security environments. Mr. Barsa has extensive political and legislative
experience spanning the past fifteen years where he both served in, and worked along with, the U.S. Congress and Executive
Branch on national and homeland security issues.
Mr. Barsa served within the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as its original Director of the Office of Public Liaison, managing DHS interaction
with the public as well as private and public organizations. As Director, Mr.
Barsa worked with both Secretaries Tom Ridge
and Michael Chertoff as DHS developed and grew during its formative years. He
was a senior-level participant in several national exercises such as Top Off and Pinnacle and he led a team in JFO New Orleans
in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Mr. Barsa created the DHS Speakers
Bureau, which matches senior DHS officials with strategic conferences and meetings, in order to promote the Department’s
overall goals. He has a national array of contacts in the homeland security environment
and an intimate knowledge of the current DHS decision-making processes and organization.
Further, Mr. Barsa is sought by current and former government officials for his advice on the complex interactions
between the public/private sector, state and local governments, the U.S. Congress and the Executive branch. He is proud to serve as a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute.
Prior to working at DHS,
Mr. Barsa served at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for Administrator Sean O’Keefe, re-establishing
a permanent, formal industry-liaison function. When Mr. Barsa was recruited to
NASA’s Legislative Affairs team, he was able to leverage his strong bi-partisan relationships in both the U.S. House
of Representatives and Senate not only to help ensure the passage of crucial appropriations and authorizing legislation, but
also to improve Congressional communications and institutional relationships in general.
Mr. Barsa arrived at NASA
from the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) where he served as a senior lobbyist and Manager for International Relations. AIA represents the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military,
and business aerospace products. As a lobbyist for AIA, Mr. Barsa’s skill
in working with various member-companies to coordinate coherent and unified legislative strategies was crucial to AIA’s
many successes within the U.S. Congress.
In the U.S. House of Representatives,
Mr. Barsa worked for an influential Member of Congress who served as Assistant Majority Whip, as well as on the powerful House
Rules Committee and Homeland Security Committee. Mr. Barsa’s strength in
coalition-building and coordinating both legislative and political strategies were integral to many of the Congressman’s
international and national security-related victories, including the successful campaign to re-locate the U.S. Southern Command
to Miami, Florida. Mr. Barsa’s ability to work across the aisle has earned him the respect and long-lasting friendship
of many Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike.
Mr. Barsa served his country
for a decade as a Member of the U.S. Army Reserves. He spent seven of those years
with the 11th Special Forces Group where he was a communications specialist.
After his time with the Special Forces, Mr. Barsa served as a member of the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion,
a Special Forces unit attached to the 82nd Airborne Division. The
ability to develop and execute successful relationship-building strategies has led to his achievements both within these elite
units as well as the civilian world.
A native of Miami, Florida, Mr. Barsa received
his B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University. He is a native Spanish-speaker and a former Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Virginia. In addition, Mr. Barsa is an active participant in numerous other political and social
organizations within his adopted state of Virginia. He resides in Alexandria
with his wife and two young daughters.