|Deputy Secretary of Defense
Flag of the Deputy Secretary of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
|Department||Office of the Secretary of Defense|
(formal address in writing)
with the advice and consent of the Senate
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Inaugural holder||Stephen Early|
(several dates, see article)
|Succession||1st in SecDef succession|
|Deputy||Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense|
|Salary||Level II of the Executive Schedule|
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, 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 lead the internal management processes of the $500 billion plus Department of Defense, that is as its chief operating officer and chief management officer; while the Secretary of Defense as the chief executive officer focuses on the big issues of the day, command and control issues, congressional hearings, attending meetings of the National Security Council, and directly advising the President on defense issues.
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 Depauty 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
|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||1557||Robert Gates
|30||Ashton B. Carter||6 October 2011||Incumbent||591||Leon Panetta|
- 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
- As "Under Secretary of Defense"
- As "Deputy Secretary of Defense"
- Served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense