- United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Flag of the Deputy Secretary of Defense
Style The Honorable Inaugural holder Stephen Early Formation 1949 Deputy Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense Salary Executive Schedule Level II Website defense.gov
The Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) is the second-highest ranking official in the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Deputy Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Deputy Secretary, by statute, must be a civilian, at least seven years removed from service as a commissioned officer on active-duty at the date of appointment.
The Deputy Secretary of Defense position is currently held by Ashton B. Carter.
Public Law 81-36, 2 April 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.
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 10 January 1977, was the only one to ever hold that office. Public Law 95-140, 21 October 1977, the law establishing two Under Secretaries of Defense, abolished the second deputy position.
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. 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 management of the $500 billion plus Department of Defense, that is as its Chief Operating Officer, while the Secretary of Defense focuses on the big issues and advises the President. The Deputy Secretary, among the office's responsibilities, chairs the Senior Level Review Group (SLRG), before 2005 known as Defense Resources Board (DRB), and manages the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).
List of Deputy Secretaries of Defense
No. Image Name Term of Office Secretaries of Defense serving under: President appointed by: Began Ended Days of Service 1 Stephen Early 2 May 1949
10 August 1949
9 August 1949 
30 September 1950 
516 Louis A. Johnson
Harry S. Truman 2 Robert A. Lovett 4 October 1950 16 September 1951 316 George Marshall 3 William Chapman Foster 24 September 1951 20 January 1953 484 Robert A. Lovett 4 Roger M. Kyes 2 February 1953 1 May 1954 453 Charles E. Wilson Dwight D. Eisenhower 5 Robert B. Anderson 3 May 1954 4 August 1955 458 6 Reuben B. Robertson, Jr. 5 August 1955 25 April 1957 629 7 Donald A. Quarles 1 May 1957 8 May 1959 737 Charles E. Wilson
Neil H. McElroy
8 Thomas S. Gates 8 June 1959 1 December 1959 176 Neil H. McElroy 9 James H. Douglas, Jr. 11 December 1959 24 January 1961 410 Thomas S. Gates
10 Roswell Gilpatric 24 January 1961 20 January 1964 1091 Robert McNamara John F. Kennedy 11 Cyrus Vance 28 January 1964 30 June 1967 1249 Lyndon B. Johnson 12 Paul Nitze 1 July 1967 20 January 1969 569 Robert McNamara
13 David Packard 24 January 1969 13 December 1971 1053 Melvin R. Laird Richard Nixon 14 Kenneth Rush 23 February 1972 29 January 1973 341 15 William P. Clements, Jr. 30 January 1973 20 January 1977 1451 Elliot Richardson
James R. Schlesinger
16 Charles W. Duncan, Jr. 31 January 1977 26 July 1979 906 Harold Brown Jimmy Carter 17 W. Graham Claytor, Jr. 24 August 1979 16 January 1981 511 18 Frank Carlucci 4 February 1981 31 December 1982 695 Caspar Weinberger Ronald Reagan 19 W. Paul Thayer 12 January 1983 4 January 1984 357 20 William Howard Taft IV 3 February 1984 22 April 1989 1905 Caspar Weinberger
21 Donald J. Atwood Jr. 24 April 1989 20 January 1993 1367 Dick Cheney George H. W. Bush 22 William J. Perry 5 March 1993 3 February 1994 335 Les Aspin Bill Clinton 23 John M. Deutch 11 March 1994 10 May 1995 425 William J. Perry 24 John P. White 22 June 1995 15 July 1997 754 William J. Perry
25 John J. Hamre 29 July 1997 31 March 2000 976 William Cohen 26 Rudy de Leon 31 March 2000 1 March 2001 335 William Cohen
27 Paul Wolfowitz 2 March 2001 13 May 2005 1533 Donald Rumsfeld George W. Bush 28 Gordon R. England 13 May 2005
4 January 2006
4 January 2006
11 February 2009
29 William J. Lynn III 12 February 2009 5 October 2011 1013 Robert Gates
Barack Obama 30 Ashton B. Carter 6 October 2011 Incumbent 47 Leon Panetta Barack Obama
- Defense Acquisition Board
- Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee
- Deputy's Advisory Working Group, a panel chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://osdhistory.defense.gov/docs/DOD%20Key%20Officials%201947-2004.pdf".
- 10 U.S.C. § 132. Deputy Secretary of Defense, accessed on 2010-07-22.
- Department of Defense Key Officials 1947-2004, Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, pp. 11–13; available online
- Deputy Secretary of Defense position profile at Prunes Online
Deputy Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
- ^ As "Under Secretary of Defense"
- ^ As "Deputy Secretary of Defense"
- ^ Served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense
Senior Officials in the United States Department of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense: Ashton Carter
Under Secretaries of Defense:
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics: Frank Kendall III (Acting) • Policy: Michèle Flournoy • Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer: Robert Hale • Personnel and Readiness: Clifford Stanley • Intelligence: Michael Vickers
Chiefs of the Military Services:
Chief of Staff of the Army: Raymond Odierno • Commandant of the Marine Corps: James Amos • Chief of Naval Operations: Jonathan Greenert • Chief of Staff of the Air Force: Norton Schwartz
Agencies under the United States Department of Defense Deputy Secretary of Defense Under Secretary of Defense
for Acquisition, Technology and LogisticsDirector, Defense Research and Engineering · Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency · Missile Defense Agency · Defense Contract Management Agency · Defense Logistics Agency · Defense Technical Information Center · Defense Threat Reduction Agency · Office of Economic Adjustment · Defense Acquisition University · Business Transformation Agency
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Under Secretary of Defense
for Personnel and ReadinessDefense Commissary Agency · Department of Defense Education Activity · DoD Human Resources Activity · Military Health System · Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences · Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute · Office of the Chancellor for Education and Professional Development
Under Secretary of Defense
Service Departments Leadership
- Commander-in-chief: President of the United States
- Secretary of Defense
- Deputy Secretary of Defense
- Joint Chiefs of Staff (Chairman)
- United States Congress: Committees on Armed Services:
- Active duty four-star officers
- Highest ranking officers in history
- National Security Act of 1947
- Goldwater–Nichols Act
OrganizationBranchesReserve components Structure Operations and history PersonnelTrainingOther
- Creeds & Codes:
- Service numbers:
- Military Occupational Specialty/Rating/Air Force Specialty Code
- Uniform Code of Military Justice
- Judge Advocate General's Corps
- Military Health System/TRICARE
- Veterans Affairs
- Chiefs of Chaplains:
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