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Arnold Punaro

54 - Arnold Punaro
2012 Rank: 57

CEO, Punaro Group
Punaro has been one of the loudest critics of the Pentagon’s overhead growth and is one of Chuck Hagel’s leading supporters in the drive to reduce the headquarters ranks by 20 percent. His insights are sought because few in Washington have a résumé to match: a retired Marine Corps major general who earned a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart in Vietnam and also served in Desert Shield, the Balkans, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. A former senior staffer for then-Sen. Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat, Punaro was staff director for the Senate Armed Services Committee for eight years, then spent more than a dozen years as a top executive at SAIC. Sharp, experienced and unrelenting, Punaro has a reputation for getting the job done even if it means bruising egos, toes and other body parts along the way. Indeed, his outspoken nature has ruffled feathers but hasn’t made him any more shy about expressing himself: If he thinks you’ve got a bad idea — or are on the wrong side of an argument — you’ll know it. A longtime reservist, he chairs the Reserve Forces Policy Board where has been advocating greater reliance on the Guard and reserves as the active force shrinks. He also heads the Defense Business Board task force on acquisition reform.

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