Lieutenant General Emerson N. Gardner, USMC, (ret.) is a recognized expert on the Department of Defense programming and budgeting process and assists defense and non-defense companies in strategy development as an independent consultant.
From 2007 to 2010 Gardner was the Principal Deputy Director and then acting Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In this billet he led independent evaluations of all major defense programs and managed the development of the Pentagon's $3 Trillion, six year Future Year Defense Plan for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He had previously been the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Programs and Resources where he was directly responsible for the development and execution of all aspects of the Corps’ $33 Billion annual budget.
Gardner completed 37 years of distinguished service as a Marine officer in 2010. As an aviator with 4300 hours of flight experience, his career highlights included tours as a Presidential Helicopter Command Pilot in HMX-1, operational deployments to the Middle East, Europe and Japan, and command in combat in Kuwait and expeditionary operations in Africa. As a flag officer, he was Assistant Deputy Commandant for Marine Aviation, managed the US Central Command's joint operations center during operations in Afghanistan after 9/11, and was the Director for Operations at US Pacific Command, which is responsible for US military activities in 42 countries.
Gardner is a cum laude graduate of Duke University and was an Olmsted Scholar for two years in Göttingen, Germany. He is a graduate of the Norwegian Defense College and the National Security Seminar at the Maxwell School of International Relations at Syracuse University.