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Catharina Wrede Braden

Helps defense and security institutions improve their operations, organizations, and strategies to better deliver on mission

Cat, a leader of our public-sector defense and security work, serves clients on a broad range of issues, including strategy, risk management, operational-performance improvement, and long-term change programs. She also leads our North American public-sector strategy and risk group. In this role, Cat helps governments to link strategy, risk, and resourcing more tightly in rapidly changing environments by aligning on strategic priorities, assessing capabilities against needs, and creating the budgetary headroom for reallocating resources to the needs of emerging missions.

Examples of Cat’s recent client work include the following:

  • supporting a public-sector organization in designing and standing up a new corporate-governance system to increase transparency and agility in decision making
  • helping a federal agency to design a new internal strategic-prioritization process
  • advising a public-sector organization on the design and implementation of an enterprise risk-management system
  • helping a public-sector organization to design and stand up a new division to support the requirements of a new mission
  • helping a public-sector organization to define and implement a multiyear organizational transformation
  • helping a federal agency to assess and redesign its processes in order to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness and to free up capacity for reallocation to new priorities
  • supporting a federal agency in streamlining its corporate-governance processes and leadership decision-making practices
  • advising a defense organization on the design and execution of a contract clean-sheeting program to reduce spending on third-party contracted goods and services
  • supporting a public-sector agency in the development of a capability-building program to create an enduring new skill set in its acquisition organization
  • helping a defense organization to develop a long-term efficiency strategy to sustain a major weapons system

Cat received her doctorate from Harvard University, where her research focused on nonrational decision making and organizational behavior in conflict environments.

Published work

Booting out bias: How to derisk advanced analytics models in the public sector,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

Reimagining US federal work for the postpandemic world,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021 


Harvard University
PhD; MA, international relations, international security

Yale University
BA, political science, Russian studies