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Director, Defense-State Liaison Office
Geraldine Valentino-Smith assumed the duties of director of the Defense-State Liaison Office within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy in October 2022. As director, Ms. Valentino-Smith is responsible for an office of eight regional liaisons. Together, they conduct strategic planning, legislative analysis, outreach and education to assist governors, state legislators and other state officials in addressing the department’s priority issues affecting service members and their families.
The Defense-State Liaison Office is responsible for assisting in the passage of bills that address critical needs of military families, including absentee voting, occupational licensing, unemployment compensation, consumer protection, family law, child advocacy, K-16 education, public health and National Guard support. The Defense-State Liaison Office consults annually with staffs working for the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, military departments, National Guard Bureau and the joint staff to develop potential state issues to ensure state policymakers consider issues that are timely and important.
Prior to her assignment as director, Ms. Valentino-Smith served three terms in the Maryland House of Delegates. She assumed several leadership positions, including service on the House Appropriations Committee as vice chair for the Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and house chair for the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness. During her tenure, she spearheaded a vast array of legislative initiatives for military personnel and their families, seniors, the vulnerable, juvenile justice, impaired driving initiatives, domestic violence, victim rights, local government needs and health care policy. Ms. Valentino-Smith is also a former clinical nurse for the National Institutes of Health.
Ms. Valentino-Smith received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Catholic University and holds a Juris Doctor from Catholic University Columbus School of Law. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1992.
The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy is directly responsible for programs and policies that establish and support community quality-of-life programs for service members and their families worldwide. This office also serves as the focal point for coordination for a broad range of quality-of-life issues within the Defense Department.