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Deputy Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
""United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Defense
""Flag of the United States Deputy Secretary of Defense.svg
Flag of the Deputy Secretary of Defense
""Patrick M. Shanahan official portrait.jpg
"Patrick M. Shanahan

since July 19, 2017
"U.S. Department of Defense
"Office of the Secretary of Defense
"Style Mister Deputy Secretary
The Honorable
(formal address in writing)
Reports to "Secretary of Defense
"Seat "The Pentagon, "Arlington County, "Virginia, U.S.
Appointer The "President
with the "advice and consent of the "Senate
"Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument "10 U.S.C. § 132
Inaugural holder "Stephen Early[1]
Formation 1949
see article for further dates[1]
Succession "1st in SecDef succession
Salary "Executive Schedule, Level II[2]
Website defense.gov

The Deputy Secretary of Defense ("acronym: DEPSECDEF) is a statutory office ("10 U.S.C. § 132) and the second-highest-ranking official in the "Department of Defense of the "United States of America.

The Deputy Secretary is the principal civilian deputy to the "Secretary of Defense, and is appointed by the "President, with the advice and consent of the "Senate. The Deputy Secretary, by statute, is designated as the DoD Chief Management Officer and "must be a civilian, at least seven years removed from service as a "commissioned officer on active-duty at the date of appointment.[3]

The Deputy Secretary of Defense position is currently held by "Patrick M. Shanahan.[4]



Public Law 81-36, April 2, 1949, originally established this position as the "Under Secretary of Defense, however Public Law 81-2 16, August 10, 1949, a.k.a. the 1949 Amendments to the "National Security Act of 1947, changed the title to Deputy Secretary of Defense. Former Assistant to President "Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Stephen Early, became the first officer holder when he was sworn-in on May 2, 1949.[1]

Public Law 92-596, October 27, 1972, established a Second Deputy Secretary of Defense position, with both deputies performing duties as prescribed by the Secretary of Defense. The second deputy position was not filled until December 1975. "Robert F. Ellsworth, serving from December 23, 1975, until January 10, 1977, was the only one to ever hold that office. Public Law 95-140, October 21, 1977, established two "Under Secretaries of Defense and abolished the second deputy position.[1]


By delegation, the Deputy Secretary of Defense has full power and authority to act for the "Secretary of Defense and to exercise the powers of the Secretary of Defense on any and all matters for which the Secretary is authorized to act pursuant to statute or executive order.[1] The Deputy Secretary is first in the line of succession to the office of Secretary of Defense.

The typical role of the Deputy Secretary of Defense is to oversee the day-to-day business and lead the internal management processes of the $500-billion-plus Department of Defense budget, that is as its "chief operating officer; while the Secretary of Defense as the "chief executive officer focuses on the big issues of the day, ongoing military operations, high-profile congressional hearings, attending meetings of the "National Security Council, and directly advising the President on defense issues.

Prior to February 1, 2018, the Deputy Secretary of Defense also served as the Department's chief management officer, to whom the Deputy Chief Management Officer reported, but those responsibilities were split into a new "Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense position.[5]

The Deputy Secretary, among the office's many responsibilities, chairs the Senior Level Review Group (SLRG), before 2005 known as Defense Resources Board (DRB), which provides department-wide budgetary allocation recommendations to the Secretary and the President. Traditionally, the Deputy Secretary has been the civilian official guiding the process of the "Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).

The Deputy Secretary of Defense chairs the Special Access Program Oversight Committee (SAPOC), which has oversight responsibilities and provides recommendations with respect to changes in status of the Department's "Special Access Programs, for either the Deputy Secretary Defense or the Secretary of Defense to make.

List of Deputy Secretaries of Defense[edit]

No. Image Name Term of Office "Secretaries of Defense serving under: "President appointed by:
Began Ended Days of Service
1 ""Portrait of Stephen T. Early.jpg "Stephen Early May 2, 1949
August 10, 1949[1]
August 9, 1949[a]
September 30, 1950[b][1]
516 "Louis A. Johnson
"George Marshall
"Harry S. Truman
2 ""Robert Lovett, photo portrait, 1951.jpg "Robert A. Lovett October 4, 1950 September 16, 1951 316 "George Marshall
3 ""WilliamCFoster.jpg "William Chapman Foster September 24, 1951 January 20, 1953 484 "Robert A. Lovett
4 "Roger M. Kyes February 2, 1953 May 1, 1954 453 "Charles E. Wilson "Dwight D. Eisenhower
5 ""Robert B Anderson (cropped).jpeg "Robert B. Anderson May 3, 1954 August 4, 1955 458
6 "Reuben B. Robertson Jr. August 5, 1955 April 25, 1957 629
7 ""Donald A. Quarles.jpg "Donald A. Quarles May 1, 1957 May 8, 1959 737 "Charles E. Wilson
"Neil H. McElroy
8 ""Thomas Gates official DoD photo.jpg "Thomas S. Gates June 8, 1959 December 1, 1959 176 "Neil H. McElroy
9 ""James H. Douglas Jr. (cropped).jpg "James H. Douglas Jr. December 11, 1959 January 24, 1961 410 "Thomas S. Gates
"Robert McNamara
10 ""Roswell Gilpatric.PNG "Roswell Gilpatric January 24, 1961 January 20, 1964 1091 "Robert McNamara "John F. Kennedy
11 ""CyrusVanceSoS.jpg "Cyrus Vance January 28, 1964 June 30, 1967 1249 "Lyndon B. Johnson
12 ""Paul Nitze.jpeg "Paul Nitze July 1, 1967 January 20, 1969 569 "Robert McNamara
"Clark Clifford
13 "David Packard January 24, 1969 December 13, 1971 1053 "Melvin R. Laird "Richard Nixon
14 ""Kenneth-Rush-1977.jpg "Kenneth Rush February 23, 1972 January 29, 1973 341
15 ""Bill Clements.jpg "Bill Clements January 30, 1973 January 20, 1977 1451 "Elliot Richardson
"James R. Schlesinger
"Donald Rumsfeld
16 ""Secretary Duncan (cropped).jpg "Charles Duncan Jr. January 31, 1977 July 26, 1979 906 "Harold Brown "Jimmy Carter
17 ""W. Graham Claytor 1984.jpg "W. Graham Claytor Jr. August 24, 1979 January 16, 1981 511
18 ""Frank Carlucci.jpg "Frank Carlucci February 4, 1981 December 31, 1982 695 "Caspar Weinberger "Ronald Reagan
19 "W. Paul Thayer January 12, 1983 January 4, 1984 357
20 ""William Howard Taft IV, Deptuty Secretary of Defense, official portrait (cropped).jpg "William Howard Taft IV February 3, 1984 April 22, 1989 1905 "Caspar Weinberger
"Frank Carlucci
"Dick Cheney
21 ""Donald J. Atwood, Jr.jpg "Donald J. Atwood Jr. April 24, 1989 January 20, 1993 1367 "Dick Cheney "George H. W. Bush
22 ""William Perry official DoD photo.jpg "William J. Perry March 5, 1993 February 3, 1994 335 "Les Aspin "Bill Clinton
23 ""John Deutch, Undersecretary of Defense, 1993 official photo (cropped).JPEG "John M. Deutch March 11, 1994 May 10, 1995 425 "William J. Perry
24 ""John P. White, official DoD portrait (cropped).jpg "John P. White June 22, 1995 July 15, 1997 754 "William J. Perry
"William Cohen
25 ""Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, official portrait (cropped).jpg "John J. Hamre July 29, 1997 March 31, 2000 976 "William Cohen
26 ""Rudy de Leon, official military photo, 1997 (cropped).jpg "Rudy de Leon March 31, 2000[6] March 1, 2001[6] 335 "William Cohen
"Donald Rumsfeld
27 ""Paul Wolfowitz (cropped).jpg "Paul Wolfowitz March 2, 2001[7] May 13, 2005[7] 1533 "Donald Rumsfeld "George W. Bush
28 ""Gordon England portrait (cropped).jpg "Gordon R. England May 13, 2005
January 4, 2006[7]
January 3, 2006[c]
February 11, 2009[7]
"Donald Rumsfeld
"Robert Gates
29 ""Deputy Secretary of Defense Lynn (cropped).jpg "William J. Lynn III February 12, 2009[7] October 5, 2011[7] 965 "Robert Gates
"Leon Panetta
"Barack Obama
30 ""Ashton Carter DOD photo (cropped).jpg "Ash Carter October 6, 2011[7] December 4, 2013[7] 789 "Leon Panetta
"Chuck Hagel
Acting ""Christine Fox (cropped).jpg "Christine Fox December 5, 2013[7] May 1, 2014[7] 149 "Chuck Hagel
31 ""Robert O. Work DoD photo (cropped).jpg "Robert O. Work May 1, 2014 July 14, 2017 1170 "Chuck Hagel
"Ashton Carter
"James Mattis
32 ""Patrick M. Shanahan official portrait (cropped).jpg "Patrick M. Shanahan July 19, 2017 308 "James Mattis "Donald Trump

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As "Under Secretary of Defense"
  2. ^ As "Deputy Secretary of Defense"
  3. ^ Served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Department of Defense Key Officials 1947–2015: p. 15.
  2. ^ "5 U.S.C. § 5313.
  3. ^ "10 U.S.C. § 132.
  4. ^ Biography of incumbent
  5. ^ "Report to Congress: Restructuring the Department of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Organization and Chief Management Officer Organization" (PDF). 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 
  6. ^ a b Department of Defense Key Officials 1947–2015: p. 17.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Department of Defense Key Officials 1947–2015: p. 18.


External links[edit]

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