A native of Boston, Rear Adm. Daniel MacDonnell was commissioned an ensign in January 1987 after completing Aviation Officers Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. In 1990, he was re-designated as a special duty officer, cryptology (now information warfare). He holds a master's degree in management from Salve Regina University and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in psychology, from Norwich University.
A fully joint qualified officer, MacDonnell is a graduate of the National Defense University-Joint Forces Staff College and the Naval War College-College of Command and Staff. He has attended the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has completed the National Security Agency Senior Cryptologic Officer course.
His active duty tours include a mobilization with the International Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan, and assignments with the National Security Agency, Naval Network Warfare Command, Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia, Center for Expeditionary Counterterrorism Operations, USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and Naval Security Group Activity Edzell, Scotland.
MacDonnell has had four reserve commanding officer tours at Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, NIOC Georgia, NIOC MD-Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and Naval Security Group Reserve Devens.
MacDonnell assumed command of Naval Information Force Reserve in November 2014. He has an additional duty as reserve deputy commander, Naval Information Forces. His first flag assignment was as reserve deputy commander, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.
MacDonnell's personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, several personal Navy and Joint awards, as well as the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal and other campaign and unit awards.
In his civilian career he is a cybersecurity executive with an international medical device company in Marlborough, Massachusetts. He has previously led multiple technical organizations at the director and vice president levels in the network, network security and factory automation/SCADA software and data storage business sectors.