George Barnes, President, Red Cell Cyber Practice

Mr. George C. Barnes is the President of Red Cell Partner’s Cyber Practice and a Partner at the firm. In this role, he oversees the pursuit of new-start incubations that are focused on cybersecurity opportunities spanning commercial and government sectors. He ensures optimized market gap responsiveness of new incubations and guides Red Cell’s platform team support as young cybersecurity companies progress through their early-stage business lifecycles. As a Red Cell Partner, Mr. Barnes applies his national security and cybersecurity domain expertise to Red Cell’s incubation activities and oversees the company’s overall cyber-related investment strategy.

Prior to joining Red Cell Partners, Mr. Barnes served as the Deputy Director and senior civilian leader of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) from April 2017 through September 2023. In this role, Mr. Barnes served as NSA’s chief operating officer, overseeing strategy, policy, and operations. As an agency deputy in the U.S. national security system, Mr. Barnes supported the U.S. defense and intelligence enterprise in national security strategy execution and the formulation of supporting policies. He positioned NSA as an integrated mission partner enabling U.S. decision advantage and security against foreign threats.

Over his 36-year career at the NSA, Mr. Barnes held numerous technical and organizational leadership roles spanning intelligence collection operations, intelligence target analysis, foreign liaison and industrial partnership management, workforce support, and global enterprise governance.

U.S. Government Service Recognition Includes:

Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal

Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Medal

National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security Distinguished Service Medallion National Security Agency Distinguished Civilian Service Medal

Centra Intelligence Agency Seal Medal

National Reconnaissance Office Medal of Distinguished Performance

National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Medallion for Excellence

National Intelligence Medal of Achievement

Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award

Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Awards (2)

Mr. Barnes received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1986. In 2020, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni by the University of Maryland’s College of Electrical and Computer Engineering.