Her father spent his childhood in Communist-ruled Hungary and learned firsthand about life in a surveillance state. His experience influenced her views on how to balance privacy and security concerns.
In 1976, her parents were passengers on the Air France flight hijacked to Entebbe. The lesson she learned from the rescue by Israeli commandos is that “there are threats where sometimes only a government, only a military, can bring peace.”
Growing up she said she didn’t have any role models. “I heard a lot of ‘a frum [observant] woman can’t do this; a frum woman doesn’t do that.’ But I strongly feel that a woman should use the talents Hashem [God] gave her, and that being frum is not a barrier to professional success.
She attended Lander College, a women’s-only division of Touro College in New York and studied finance and computer science. After graduation, she worked her family’s financial services company before getting her MBA and a second master’s degree at Columbia University.
Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Neuberger decided she wanted to serve her country and moved to Washington after receiving a prestigious White House Fellowship. She was assigned to the Department of Defense, which had never selected a woman before. After a year, she was appointed special assistant to the secretary of the Navy, working on programs that were running over budget or not functioning well.
At the Pentagon, she helped plan the U.S. military’s Cyber Command to protect military networks before being appointed special assistant to the director of the National Security Agency where she also served as the NSA’s liaison to private tech companies. In 2014, she was assigned the job of Chief Risk Officer at the National Security Agency. She subsequently served as Assistant Deputy Director of Operations, the lead of the NSA’s Russia Small Group, and Director of Cybersecurity before being promoted to Deputy National Manager in 2019, making her the highest-ranking woman in the NSA.
Joe Biden appointed Neuberger as deputy national security adviser for cybersecurity in January 2021.
Neuberger also co-founded a charity called Sister to Sister, which helps divorced Jewish women in Orthodox communities.
Seven of her eight great-grandparents were murdered by the Nazis. Their surviving children — Neuberger’s grandparents — started new lives in America. She told NPR, “There was a deep sense among my grandparents that their parents had been killed for their faith, and they had an obligation to bring up a generation [for whom] that faith and that tradition was meaningful — and to recreate it in these kids who were proving that Hitler had not been successful at eradicating this commitment to faith.”
She married an Orthodox man and is an observant Jew who leaves the NSA office early on Fridays to be home in time for Shabbat.
Sources: NSA, (October 3, 2019);
“At The NSA, A Rising Star's Commitment To Faith — And Public Service,” NPR, (July 12, 2015);
“Anne Neuberger As Told To Barbara Bensoussanm,” Jewish Action, (Winter 2012);
Shira Hanau, “Orthodox Jewish woman to be appointed to National Security Council cybersecurity position,” JTA, (January 7, 2021).