March 3, 2020
News Release

Gracio Tapped to Head PNNL’s National Security Directorate


RICHLAND, Wash. – Deborah Gracio has been named associate laboratory director for the National Security Directorate at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The directorate includes a $500 million research portfolio and 1,300 staff.

Gracio has over 30 years of experience developing and delivering science and technology programs at PNNL. Her work has included leading the strategy, research, development and management of several cross-disciplinary, multi-laboratory programs in the basic sciences and  national security sectors.  

Most recently, Gracio served as the chief operating officer for the National Security Directorate where she led the capability development, mission execution and project management of the directorate. Previously, she oversaw NSD’s program development office, led PNNL’s Computational and Statistical Analytics Division, and was director of PNNL’s Data-Intensive Computing research initiative.

In her new role, Gracio will oversee a portfolio that develops science-based solutions designed to keep America safe. PNNL’s national security researchers, tools and technologies help secure U.S. borders and critical infrastructure, combat global terrorism, manage nonproliferation treaties and detect concealed threats and explosives.

The research is sponsored by DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

Gracio won an R&D 100 Award and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for her role in developing the Molecular Sciences Software Suite, a trio of integrated, comprehensive and unique software packages that provide access to high-performance, massively parallel computers for a broad range of applications.

She also received DOE’s Outstanding Woman in Engineering award.

Gracio is a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and has served on the IEEE Information Systems Strategy Council.

Gracio earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Washington State University in Pullman. She serves on the executive advisory board for WSU’s College of Engineering and Architecture and the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at WSU.

Media Contacts:

Greg Koller – (509) 372-4864


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: March 3, 2020