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#SPA80for80: Allison Bawden, SPA/MPA ’04

Allison Bawden

SPA was established in 1934 as a training ground for federal employees. Today, alumni like Allison Bawden help the School of Public Affairs maintain a connection to that original mission.

Bawden now serves as an assistant director with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), where she focuses on important national security issues, specifically nuclear security and cleanup. She has also helped SPA develop its MPP practicum and meets regularly with students to discuss career opportunities in the federal government.

Her role at GAO keeps Bawden focused on important national security issues, specifically nuclear security and cleanup. Her expertise in public administration translated into extensive program evaluations and audits of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an agency within the Department of Energy (DOE). Established in 2000 by Congress, the NNSA is responsible for the management and security of U.S. nuclear weapons, U.S. naval reactor programs, and international nonproliferation issues.

Bawden's work has contributed to numerous reports on nuclear security, critically examining current policies and providing recommendations to improve those policies. Her most recent contributions were to a pair of reports focused on greater transparency in both the Department of Defense's budget estimations regarding nuclear weapons programs and the DOE's method of valuing uranium transactions.

Bawden began her career at GAO on the Acquisition and Sourcing Management team, and completed additional graduate coursework in national security studies at the United States Naval War College. During a break from evaluating the NNSA between 2010 and 2012, she served as the strategic planner within the GAO's Natural Resources and Environment team.


"I truly enjoyed my experience at SPA and have continued to benefit from the concepts to which I was exposed by professors who challenged me and set expectations for the highest quality work.Similarly, the breadth of experiences and interests of my fellow students inspired me to co-found with other classmates the student journal The Public Purpose, which I am so proud to see continues to flourish. It was an AU and SPA alum who hired me at GAO, and I aim to continue to pay it forward!"