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United States Secretary of the Army

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Secretary of the Army
Emblem of the U.S. Department of the Army.svg
Flag of the United States Secretary of the Army.svg
Flag of the Secretary[1]
Mark Esper

since November 20, 2017[2]
United States Department of the Army
StyleMr. Secretary
Reports toSecretary of Defense
AppointerThe President
with the advice and consent of the Senate
Term lengthNo fixed term
PrecursorSecretary of War
FormationSeptember 18, 1947
First holderKenneth Claiborne Royall
Succession2nd in SecDef succession
DeputyUnder Secretary
(principal civilian deputy)
Chief of Staff
(military advisor and deputy)
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level II

The Secretary of the Army (SA, SECARM[3] or SECARMY) is a senior civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications, and financial management.

Prior military service is not a requirement, but quite a few have served in the United States armed forces. Secretary Stone is the only holder to serve in the military outside of the United States.

The Secretary of the Army is nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Secretary is a non-Cabinet level official serving under the Secretary of Defense.[4] This position was created on September 18, 1947, replacing the Secretary of War, when the Department of War was split into the Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force.[5]

On November 15, 2017, Mark Esper was confirmed as the Secretary of the Army, and was sworn in to office on November 20, 2017.[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Eric Fanning & the Future of the US Army


>> From the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. >> Karen Lloyd: Good morning and thank you for joining us. I'm Karen Lloyd, Director of the Army's -- the Library's Veterans History Project. >> We'll take it. >> Karen Lloyd: Today we are in for a real treat. With a nod to our upcoming exhibit which opens on April 4th, 2017, our American's entry into World War I, appropriately named "Echoes of the Great War, America's Experiences of World War I," this interview with a current leader of our military team seems a good fit. Today Colleen Shogan will have a fireside chat with Eric Fanning, the Secretary of the Army. Since 2015 Colleen Shogan has served as Deputy Director of the Library's National and International Outreach. She joined the Library's Congressional Research Service in 2008 and served as the CRS Deputy Director from 2012 until 2015. Prior to joining CRS she worked for two years on the Legislative Staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is also a published author with three books and many academic authors to her credit. Our special guest, Secretary Eric Fanning, has had an extraordinary career. Secretary Fanning knows his way around the Pentagon having served in jobs as diverse as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Acting Secretary of the Air Force, Undersecretary of the Air Force and Chief Management Officer, Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, Deputy Chief Management Officer acting under the Secretary of the Army and Chief Management Officer. The enduring theme of his assignments relate to business transformation and governance to improve enterprise-wide efficiencies. He also spent time in a Defense Agency so he has first-hand experience in a variety of aspects of the Department of Defense that provide him a [inaudible] of knowledge that is rare and extremely valuable. Secretary Fanning has also spent time with a variety of Washington, D.C. think tanks and as a Research Assistant with the House Armed Services Committee. It is understatement to say we are fortunate to have such a defense expert with us today to help us better understand the importance of diversity, budget stability, and innovation. Let's welcome them both with a big round of applause. [ Applause ] >> Colleen Shogan: Thanks, Karen. Good morning. And to our, all of our guests, welcome to the Library of Congress. We've very privileged and honored this morning to host Secretary Fanning here at the Library. And the format for this morning -- We have about 45 minutes for the conversation. If there is time left over then Secretary Fanning will take questions from the audience. Mr. Secretary, you've had, just really as Karen said, a tremendous career in the Pentagon, largely in public service in the public sector, but also in the private sector as well. Can you tell us when you first became interested in defense policy and when you knew that would be the focus of your career? >> Eric Fanning: Well I think my interest was in government and politics first. I went to school in New Hampshire and I actually arrived as an Art Major. I wanted to be an architect. But when you go to school in New Hampshire you're going to be there for a presidential primary at some point during your time. And it's not a big state, not a lot of places for them to go, and they're there for a long time. So you get to see the process up close. And I knew I wanted to come back. I wanted to come to Washington. So I -- an art major the first year but come to Washington the summer after my freshman year and then hooked on politics, on the Congress in particular, and was sort of drawn to Defense and Foreign Policy for a number of reasons. I have a pretty big military family. My father grew up at West Point. Two of his brothers, brother-in-law went there. And it all kind of clicked because I got a job in the House Armed Services Committee. And that just sort of took off quickly because within 16 months the Chairman of the Committee for whom I was working became Secretary of Defense. And so that was the -- the path was set at an early point. >> Colleen Shogan: Okay. This is the Library of Congress. We're very interested in people who have had -- worked in the Legislative Branch. So I'm going to ask a little bit more about that. You started your career at House Armed Services and then, of course, went on to have a very distinguished career in the Executive Branch. From the positions that you've held in the Pentagon, when you look back at your time in Congress, was that very helpful to have had that experience working in the Legislative Branch, and can you talk a little bit about that? >> Eric Fanning: It's very helpful. It's also very fun. I usually -- when I'm advising younger people, I say, go to the Hill early because it's a relatively structure. You can get a lot of responsibility very quickly and also tire of it very quickly. But it's been helpful to me in every job that I've had. So much of what we do is interacting with Congress, our Board of Directors, essentially. And there's so little understanding outside of Congress of how it actually functions and how people think, how they operate, and so -- I had one meeting before coming over here this morning and it was all about Congressional issue and how to move things through our committees. >> Colleen Shogan: Mm-hmm. I have one more Congress-related question for you. The National Defense Authorization Act, the NDAA, has been enacted, I think, 55 years in a row without fail. And, as you know, in this time of withering authorizations on the Hill where it's very infrequent to see authorizations, and certainly not on a routinized scheduled, can you share with us why you think the NDAA has had its record of continued passage and whether you think that even this time of extreme polarization and partisanship on the Hill, whether defense still remains a bipartisan or an even nonpartisan issue with Congress? >> Eric Fanning: Everything is political and partisan one way or another. But it is a bastion of across-the-aisle efforts, the Armed Services Committee. I think that the bipartisan approach that we've taken for national security for decades and a point of pride for those committees is what drives in NDAA every year. It is remarkably bipartisan how those committees approach their work. I mean just my confirmation process which was really -- the whole thing took place on the Republican side -- the debate, the issues, my supporters were on the Republican side. We make an effort to work together across the aisle to keep communication open as much as possible. And what I found -- it hit me really in an unexpected way at the start of the Obama Administration. I was -- I worked in the Clinton Pentagon, was returning to the Iran Pentagon, and it's a lot of the same characters. A lot of the people who I work with in the Obama Pentagon I worked with at an early point in all of our careers in the Clinton Pentagon. And a lot of names -- people on the Hill, members in particular, are people that were around back then as well. And so those relationships survive and just evolve over time. >> Colleen Shogan: Right. That's interesting. It's been years since I've worked with Defense Policy and worked in Armed Services. But when I went back to prepare for this interview I was surprised at how many of the issues actually had remained very consistent and the same. So you sat in many different seats in the Pentagon. You've worked in the Navy. You've worked in the Air Force. You've worked in the Sec-Def Office. We're going to focus today on the Army because that's your current position. You talked a little bit about your confirmation, your confirmation hearing, in particular. You said that you were concerned about decreasing Army end-strength. But you also said that the Army is more than just a number. So I'd like to ask you about what the future of the Army looks like with a reduced force structure. Is the Army going to continue to be a conventional fighting force or does it have to prepare for other endeavors and other challenges? And what does that mean for the training of our soldiers? Will they continue to be trained as war fighters or will they need additional skills? >> Eric Fanning: So there's about 12 questions in that. >> Colleen Shogan: Yeah, there's a lot. >> Eric Fanning: I could pull that one apart a little bit. My confirmation hearing I was more -- I was focused on making sure that we were getting the most combat capability out of the force structure we have. Maybe too nuanced. But my own background in really focusing on how we're organized, how we're run, what the processes are, to get as agile and as efficient as possible, so that whatever force structure we're given, whatever resource we're allotted, that we're getting the most bang for the buck out of it. It was interpreted as me saying we're cutting the Army too far which caused me immediate problems with my boss. But we worked through that. The Army is run hard. The Military is run hard. When we targeted this just over 980,000 total Army -- the Active, the Guard, and the Reserve -- Russia wasn't doing -- wasn't being as provocative as it is now. China wasn't flexing in the way that it is now. ISLE didn't exist as it does today. And yet we're -- now we have all those new requirements levied on top of the force structure that we were aiming towards. What I would say -- two things about force structure. A raw number doesn't necessarily tell you what an army is, what capabilities an army brings to a fight. And it's very important that we think in terms of a balanced program. It's not just people. It's people that are trained and equipped. And if we're asked to keep more force structure without an increase in the budget in some way then we have more people with less training and less equipment. And that could easily quickly become a larger army that's less effective and less capable than the one that we're trying to build now. So the balance is important. It's not just the number of people that you have. It's how they're organized, how they're trained, and how they're equipped. As far as the future. You now I think that the broad requirements levied on the Army now -- counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism -- as well as preparing for a larger fight with a near-peer adversary, are going to remain into the future. The issue is how technology changes, how the adversary changes, and where you imagine the environment you might be fighting is changing or evolving, because we know that we're on a trend to increased urbanization and mega-cities, which creates all sorts of vulnerabilities for people when they're clustered together like that, which could create something on the back end of this trend. But we've got to think about being able to fight, increasingly fight, in dense, urban environments where the adversary is mixed in with large civilian populations. >> Colleen Shogan: Okay. The most recent QDR, the Quadrennial Defense Review, had a discussion of risk based upon some of the aging weapon -- major weapon systems in the Army, the idea that we are still technically advanced beyond our adversaries. But the gap between the United States and our adversaries is actually decreasing, hence the risk. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about problems, and everybody reads about them in the news, concerning the acquisitions process, cost over-runs, delayed deliverables. What is the crux of the development process, particularly in the Army? And if you had more time as Secretary, how would you fix it? >> Eric Fanning: So I think there are two things when we're talking about that risk. One is investment. And the Army, with the nature of the fights in the last 15 years, has really been drawn into the day, day after day after day after day, and, as it should, making sure that we have the size army we need and that it is ready for today's fight, and that is men leveraging the future in some ways. And substantially cutting just in the last eight years by upwards of a third our modernization budget. And so that's one part of the growing risk because we're not maybe investing in modernization in the way we should be, to think about the future -- 10, 15, 20 years out. The second, of course, is just the process, the acquisition procurement process. And the Army a decade or so ago was grappling with some very serious problems across its portfolio programs that were suffering from pretty substantial cost overruns and time delays. It's easier now to say that we have a better handle on our acquisition programs because we have a lot fewer of them, and so they're easier to oversee. But we've made a lot of changes to the acquisition process. If I had more time that would be a primary focus to keep working on that. And a bit part of it's not just changing what we do internally. It is changing how we interact with, and collaborate with, work with those outside the Department of Defense. Technology is -- companies and academic centers -- that they develop technology is a different way than they used to. It's very iterative now and we aren't generally agile enough to even keep up with that iteration. I mean we all now have -- we're probably the last people institutionally to hold on to BlackBerrys because Apple didn't want to work with us. They said, you know, we put -- the product is just one part of it. The software, the updates, it all is a package that goes together, and you are not equipped to receive our technology and we just can't be bothered. And so I think that's a cautionary tale for how we build, acquire things. I think there's more we can be getting off the shelf and getting a [inaudible] faster. But also about how we build and acquire larger things. >> Colleen Shogan: I'd like to give you an opportunity to talk about one of your major achievements as Secretary which is standing up the Rapid Capabilities Office in the Army. Can you tell everybody what that is, what the structure is, what goals you're hoping to achieve with it, and why it's so important to create -- give the Army the ability to create disruptive technologies in the short amount of time? >> Eric Fanning: So there are a lot of -- you know, I say is there's actually a lot of creativity and innovation inside the Department of Defense -- in uniform, in civilian workforce, among our traditional industrial base. There's a lot of creativity despite the barriers we've put up in their -- in place of them. So the Rapid Capabilities Office really was -- in my job in the Air Force as the Air Force Undersecretary, which is the Number Two, a lot of work with the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, which is an enormous organization because of all of the black world programs that are parked in the Air Force and moved through this office. The Army's version is different and really was built on what we were seeing, really what we were seeing the Russians do with Ukraine and realizing that they had been watching us more closely than maybe we'd been watching them, that they had turned into a more of a learning organization than they had been during the Cold War, and that the decisive edge we won in capability maybe wasn't what we had tracked it to be. And so the way I describe our Rapid Capabilities Office, and nobody's allowed to call it the RCO -- we're drawing a line at Acronyms with the Rapid Capabilities Office -- is that it fills a gap in time. And I use a helicopter as an example. We're not going to enlarge the Rapid Capabilities Office to something that can build an entire helicopter. But there might be some capability on that helicopter that we need to pull out and accelerate to field it faster for the existing fleet that we've got. And so we're really looking at a one to five year time horizon to plug gaps. And I don't know -- in some cases they're gaps and some places it's to get that decisive edge back in capability. >> Colleen Shogan: Right. >> Eric Fanning: And if it's aligned right -- it's not meant to be a workaround to the big existing acquisition process. We still need to keep working on that. But if these things are aligned right, then the technology and capability we can get out in the Rapid Capabilities Office will inform the more strategic modernization that's taking place over a longer term. >> Colleen Shogan: So it's a building block in other words. >> Eric Fanning: It's a building block, yeah. >> Colleen Shogan: Due to frequent deployments and repeated deployments because of the global war on terror, many service members have come back obviously with severe physical injuries, but also have returned with what is sometimes called "invisible injuries," post-traumatic stress disorder, depression. The Army has endured for the past several years an elevated suicide rate. Can you talk about that? And what are the things that are being put in place right now in Army to try to solve that problem? And are they addressing the underlying problems of culture and stigma? >> Eric Fanning: So there's -- you know, I think there's a lot of work being doing in this area. There's a lot of focus on it. There's a lot of attention on it. There's a great deal more to be done. There's a lot of research taking place. The Army's partnering with a lot of academic/medical communities because we want to understand this better. And I think that the stigma is changing. But the more I think about this -- we've been focused on trying to get behavioral health, behavioral care, further out into operational units so it's more accessible. Someone doesn't have to walk to the corner of an installation to get help. But it's just there. But I think we need to further radically shape the paradigm which is not -- we're going to provide care if you need it, but you're going to need care when you come back. What we ask soldiers to do on a regular basis, deployment after deployment, goes against how we're hardwired biologically as human beings. And so it shouldn't be it's there if you need it, and we're going to make it easy for you to find it. It should be you're going to need it and you're going to get it when you come back. It should just be a part of the cycle we have, much like how we maintain tanks, for example. If we run them hard, we bring them back, we strip them down, we put them back together. The Special Operations Command has actually done a lot of work in this that's very interesting. But I think in 10/15/20 years we're going to look back on this time and say wow, we really missed a lot of things, got a lot of things wrong. And hopefully we'll have an entire different way of looking at behavior health that -- I would be frightened to think we had an army of people doing what we ask of them and they're not impacted by that mission. I don't even want to know what that would look like. I wouldn't want to let that loose on an adversary someplace, particularly its environments we're talking about. And so I think we need to -- I think we're in the process of looking at this differently. But a lot more work has to be done. >> Colleen Shogan: I want to ask you a few questions, two questions about women in the Army. Can you give us an update? Where are we with the expansion of women into all roles in the Army including combat roles? And where do you see the challenges in that transformation and that change for the Army? And then, secondly, an issue that's gotten a lot of attention her on Capitol Hill in the past several years which is sexual assault in the military. What steps have been taken under your watch as Secretary of the Army to try to solve that problem? >> Eric Fanning: So on the first, women in combat -- I think things are going very well. You know I always brag on the Army on this one because I can do it without -- because it's -- a lot of great work was done before I got to the Army to really analyze what requirements are necessary to do all the jobs across the Army. And they are independent of any qualifier of who you are. They're real requirements based on the equipment, the mission. And then opening it up [inaudible] to meet those requirements. We made a decision in the Army to build the leadership cadre first, so to get new young lieutenants in, to get enlisted, to re-branch, you know, who have had some experience so that when we get brand new junior soldiers in we've got leadership in place to help make the transition as smooth as possible. And so the challenge, if you even use that word "challenge" is just that it was going to take a little bit of time to get some critical mass going in there. But I think it's going very well. We see -- the women that I see, they're at the vanguard of this, would be the people I'd want fighting with me if I were wearing a uniform in the army right now. They are impressive. They're dedicated. And they, more than anybody else, want to make sure that the requirements are set and that they meet the requirements. >> Colleen Shogan: Mm-hmm. >> Eric Fanning: And sexual assault? Yeah, I think -- you know, there were a lot of titles that were mentioned in my introductions. Some of them were at the same time, but I've had nine different jobs in this Administration. And so I've seen this from every single corner of the Pentagon. And I do think it's been a -- it's been something we'll spend -- I wouldn't say it's been a priority of mine. It's been a priority of ours to focus on this and get this right. It's critical that we get at this and that we -- you know, we are held to a higher standard, and we should be. And we need to meet that higher standard. And I think where my focus has been in the last year with the Army, the last year plus, has been -- we have done a lot on the response aspect, making sure that lawyers are changed, judges are changed. We have victims' advocates. But we need to make that whole aspect irrelevant by getting at the prevention part. And that's been really my focus the last 18 months as I've moved through the Army jobs as investing in that part of our organization, pushing the team on the research and on programs to get at the prevention part which is harder. But I think we're making some progress there. >> Colleen Shogan: Terrific. Well, if you hadn't noticed, in the past couple of weeks we had a Presidential Election and I -- you know, I think it was a very divisive Presidential Election. And one of the, I think, good results out of it is that people are trying to stay positive in their personal interactions with each other and also online and social media, so I want to ask a very positive question of you. I've been asking you a lot of hard questions. We're going to celebrate Thanksgiving in two days, so what are you most thankful for this year? >> Eric Fanning: Well, my [inaudible] -- my answer to that is the traditional one. But I felt it acutely over the course of the last couple of years with confirmation processes and movements and what have you. And that's my friends and my family. I had -- you know, two years ago now I was Undersecretary of the Air Force. The Secretary of the Air Force is one of my oldest, closest, dearest friends. She worked on the House Armed Services Committee with me, and just loving life. And Ash Carter, who I've known for 25 years, came knocking and sets off a 12-month period where I'm in five different jobs as I moved from the Air Force to him to the Number Two in the Army to the Acting Secretary of the Army, then back to his office because of the vagaries of the confirmation process. And if I didn't have that sort of stability in those touchpoints in my personal life it would have been a much different 12 months. >> Colleen Shogan: Well, you have just a tremendous resume. You've sat in all these very impressive seats in the Pentagon. Can I ask you, what's next in your career? What are the next steps? And where do you think your skills will be best utilized in the future? >> Eric Fanning: Well, I, you know, I think I have one of the greatest jobs in the world that very few people really understand the role of the Service Secretary which is one of the reasons it's such a great job, because they kind of leave you alone. Generally, if you get a call, it's -- something bad has happened and you got to deal with it. But the autonomy that you get as Service Secretary is great. And the way I describe it is being the CEO of a business unit. I mean, I'm the CEO of the Army. The Army is a unbelievably lethal war-fighting machine and a tool of national power. The Department of the Army is a business unit that creates it. And it's -- and so when I -- and the confirmation process now having gone through it twice -- it takes a lot out of people who go through it. And I had it relatively easy compared to a lot of people. And so I said when I get through this and get into this job that I love so much, I'm going to focus on that job until they drag me out of the building. And then I'm going to take a long break someplace warm and then think about what it is I want to do next. I didn't want to waste any -- there's so much you want to do in organization of 1.4 million people that -- in 150 countries in the world, that I didn't want to take a lot of time thinking about what's next and then -- and any two conversation you have you got to report to the lawyers and then life gets complicated for you. So, you know, my plan is to do this as long as I'm needed and then go catch my breath. >> Colleen Shogan: Thank you for your service. Now's the time in the program that, if we have questions from the audience, we'd be happy to take them. Yes. Up front. >> How many Army [inaudible] services? How should we [inaudible]? >> Eric Fanning: Well, I'm Secretary of the Army so, no, it shouldn't be that way [laughter]. Well, you know, the -- it's, it's not really a third. It is substantially less than the Navy and the Air Force. Now they're building these enormous platforms. The Army doesn't have aircraft carriers or nuclear bombers or joint strike fighters. Those programs cost more money. But I do think that the Army's -- and, you know what? I've worked through all those departments. See, they're struggling as well. And if you think we're out of balance now, look 10 years into the future for the military budget. The entire nuclear apparatus needs to be modernized or capitalized at the exact same time. Usually you want that phased a little bit. New bombers are going to be coming on line, new warheads, entirely new missile system for the Air Force, new ballistic submarines. That's not -- there isn't a plan on how to pay for that yet. So those services have their own balance, programmatic balance issues. The Army is by far the best balance, and that just means you've got risk evenly applied across your budget. But I would argue that we need to increase the modernization budget for the Army because when I look -- the current plan is to modernize existing platforms, but in a timeframe that exceeds how long we'd ever plan on keeping and holding on some of these platforms. So I don't look at it as how it's balanced in the pie with the other services. I just think about the pie itself for the entire Department of Defense. I mean one of the things I do, as I've moved through these jobs -- it is never going to win an argument if the Army starts out by comparing itself to the Air Force, the Navy, and some way that they're hoping makes them look better. It just never catches water on the Hill or with OSD. But we do have some bills we've pushed into the future, and it's not just modernization. It's installations, too. We're under-investing year after year after year in installations and, you know, it's a certain amount of money to maintain a building, a certain amount to repair it, and then a lot more to replace it, which is what's starting to happen. >> Colleen Shogan: Up front. [ Inaudible Speaker ] >> -- on climate change, a national security issue. And, of course, the President has [inaudible] directives on that, on that [inaudible]. Do you think that that is the thing that is now baked into [inaudible] department [inaudible] or do you think that will [inaudible] next administration? >> Eric Fanning: I don't know what the next administration because I'm not a part of those conversations. But I do think it's baked into the Department of Defense in a way that's enduring, and for two reasons. We are already seeing it impact our installations, you know. Where are Navy bases? They're on shores. And so we're already seeing issue in the Army, in the Navy, in the Marine Corps, in the Air Force, with our installations. But, you know, anybody who looks at the threatened environment of the -- or the geopolitical environment of the future has got to see that the other -- the effects of climate change also are going to create all sorts of instability that we're going to have to deal with. So I do think it feels pretty baked in for me and it's not just on the political side in this Administration. It's in numerous strategy documents that we've been creating over the last few years. >> Colleen Shogan: Yes, mm-hmm. >> Excuse me. >> Colleen Shogan: Mm-hmm. >> Hi [inaudible]. What are your top priorities for the last couple of months of your term? And do you have any concerns about how an Administration change might change the direction that the Army's headed? >> Eric Fanning: My priorities for the end are the Rapid Capabilities Office. In the next couple of weeks we will finalize the first round of actual investments for that office. That is a priority. I want to keep talking about behavioral health and see what more I can do to keep moving in that direction, the paradigm shift that I talked about. And then I'm very proud of the different ways that we have opened up service to those who've been denied the opportunity in the past, and continuing to make sure that that's going smoothly will be an important part of whatever time that I have left. And, you know, I think, you know, the dramatic changes that I've seen in my career with the Department of Defense is, you know, when I said I'm the CEO of business unit, again, I create a product. Other people decide how to use that product. I'm way oversimplifying, of course. But that's where you get dramatic changes from one government to another which is how you're the military in the context of foreign policy and all the tools you've got in the toolbox. It's a complex world out there with lots of threats swirling. And so, you know, I'm not sure what the new Administration will decide and how they want to tackle some of those problems. >> Colleen Shogan: In back [inaudible]. >> Hi. Scott Moucione with Federal News Radio. Talent management has been something that Ash Carter's really been focusing on. And I think he's been bringing up some of the promotion board issues. The Army was in the news with promotion boards because Lieutenant Riley, who was a Rhodes Scholar, was almost passed over for his promotion board until Chief of Staff Milley got involved. I was just wondering, you know, one, do you think that the next -- whoever's going to be in charge of the Army next will be able to recognize that problem since the Force of the Future has had such problems with Republicans. And, two, what more do you plan to do in the realm of talent management in your final days? >> Eric Fanning: I think there are certain issues we're working on that -- some might choose a different approach. But I feel like there's a shared recognition that the issues are important. Force of the Future -- the Force of the Future initiatives I think are important at -- you know Secretary Carter's imagining what a workforce is going to look like in 20 years, and doesn't necessarily see that the Department of Defense is going to be an attractive place as it exists now for people to work at, to work for, and I think some of these changes are important. But it's broader than just changing -- you know, our uniform workforce and our career civilian workforce, I think we have to think very -- we have to think much more creatively about what a workforce is and how we access it. And it might be temporary. It's how we interact with industry differently, with academia differently. I think we've got to get much more creative at breaking down barriers which is really what he's focused on. General Milley and I have talked a lot about talent management on the uniform side, and I think there are some relatively easy fixes to get at some of these things so that a lieutenant who's got a degree from Oxford, is a Rhodes Scholar, doesn't get passed over. And part of that is just maybe allowing a little bit more time in the process. The Army is massive and these boards move through names very quickly and so some of that nuance can be lost. And Secretary Carter's been focused on trying to give people opportunities, development, career development opportunities, broadening opportunities. But we still have these poll years and it could be hard for people in uniform to take a year or two years and actually believe that -- they may come back onto the track they're not going to be -- their career advance is not going to be hindered. And so we're looking at ways to make sure that those -- that people who take advantage of those opportunities, that, that it impacts in a positive way their career and their career trajectory. >> Colleen Shogan: A question. Mark, mm-hmm. >> Secretary, you spoke about -- [ Inaudible Speaker ] How do you see the role -- [ Inaudible Speaker ] >> Eric Fanning: So I -- you know, it's interesting. I start in the date -- it's probably the Navy which has to two services. And as one Admiral described them, yes, they're sister services, the Navy and Marine Corps, but they're orphan children adopted in separate families. And then I go to the Air Force and think, okay, now I've got it easy. It's one service. And then I run into the politics of the Guard. Then I think I have it all figured out and I go to the Army and we have the Corps of Engineers which is then a whole other political grab-bag. But first is we cannot do what we're asked to do. The Army cannot do what it's asked to do if it doesn't think as a total force and work as efficiently and effectively as a total force. The act of [inaudible] just couldn't do everything that's being of it. Second of all, people join the Guard for different reasons today than they did 15 years ago. One thing I keep reminding -- a lot of these issues that we focus on, we do with -- are really generational. And 911 was a call to service for a lot of people. People who join the Guard want to be operational in a way that I don't think was necessarily the same case 40 years ago. And so a [inaudible] formed leadership may be remembered as an older Guard. The, you know, colonels now, like my colonels in the back, they know the new Guard, because you go downrange now. You go out into the field, you can't tell whether someone's Guard, Reserve, or Active unless you ask. And then the more junior officers, on a lot of issues, this being one of them, just look at me like I'm crazy for even asking the question, like we're already doing it. And so the future of the Guard is integral to the Army. And I think we're getting much better at all of the different -- it can be very political because the governors have an agenda for the Guard, we have an agenda for the Guard, the Adjutant Generals of the Guard -- you know, there's the Guard Bureau, there's the Hill. Someone once described the active Army as the President's Army and the Guard is Congress's Army. But we've set up a lot of mechanisms to increase communication and collaboration. And, you know, it got so bad that the Air Force was asked -- that the Congress stood up a commission on the future of the Air Force. And I was in the Air Force and got to live through that and moved over to the Army just in time to deal with the Army's Commission on the Future. But one of the things that came out of that is this thing called the Council of Governors. And it's been a very effective mechanism with about 10 governors and Department of Defense leadership and DHS leadership to work through these issues because, going back to what I said at the start, we cannot do what we're asked to do if we don't think of ourselves as a total force. >> Colleen Shogan: I think we have time for one more question. Right up here, mm-hmm. >> So if you look at the [inaudible] going back over the last quarter century, it looks like there's a pretty clear pattern. And if you read budget documents published at very institutions around town, you'd see the same pattern which is that pretty much any given force structure the United States has seems to somehow require annual real increases in defense spending of 2- or 3% to sustain it, no matter what, year-in, year-out. So, given how much management experience you've had, what's the story on this because I can't really find a consistent story on why this appears to be the case. >> Eric Fanning: Well, a couple of things. If I just broaden that a little bit and say -- I think there's a few reasons for that. One is we don't manage that way. We don't manage -- if -- you know, in my experience in the last eight years we haven't even managed with annual budgets. Wonder [inaudible] resolution right now. We've started every single year with a continuing resolution which is a very disruptive and expensive way to govern, to manage. If we really took a 25-year period, snapped the chalk line, and then went 2- to 3% by year, you'd get more out of your budget, out of your program, I think, than the way we manage now where there's no predictability, there's no reliability to the budget. You can't manage the Department of Defense on a series of 12-month cycles. You certainly -- you know, it's very difficult to manage in our series of three-month and then nine-month cycles. And now we're going to get a continuing resolution that takes us in, you know, probably into six months. That costs a lot of money to govern that way. And people don't understand the impacts. This will be the first administrative transition under a continuing resolution. And what a -- and people -- my predecessor, John McHugh, was a Member of Congress for many years. And he said he thought a CR was a good thing because it kept the spigot open. Well, all it does is let you spend what you spent last year. So if you've got any new program in your budget, you're not authorized to spend on it. What does that do to your people? What does it do to contracts? What does it do to the industrial brace. It adds costs year after year after year to operate in such fiscal confusion. And I -- to me, that's a big part of it. Now, the 25-year period, the Berlin Wall falls, we took a knee a little bit because you decide, okay, the world is stable enough that I can take a little bit of risk and invest in something different. We haven't been able to do that these last 15 or 20 years. We haven't had -- we haven't been able to take that balance where, okay, we've got a little bit less risk geopolitically so we can take some risks in being ready in order to invest in modernization. And you kind of balance that out over these curves in a 25-or-longer-year period. So we haven't had that. And we've had -- we start -- we end every fiscal year preparing for a shutdown. A very inefficient operation environment for the military the last eight years. >> Colleen Shogan: Mr. Secretary, on behalf of the Library of Congress, thank you for your time this morning. And most importantly, thank you for your service. And we wish you the best of luck. >> Eric Fanning: Thank you. Thanks very much. [ Applause ] >> This has been a presentation of the Library of Congress. Visit us at


Roles and Responsibilities

The Senior Leadership of the Department of the Army consists of two civilians—the Secretary of the Army and the Under Secretary of the Army—and two military officers of four-star rank—the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.

The Secretary of the Army (10 U.S.C. § 3013) is in effect the chief executive officer of the Department of the Army, and the Chief of Staff of the Army works directly for the Secretary of the Army. The Secretary presents and justifies Army policies, plans, programs, and budgets to the Secretary of Defense, other executive branch officials, and to the Congressional Defense Committees. The Secretary also communicates Army policies, plans, programs, capabilities, and accomplishments to the public. As necessary, the Secretary convenes meetings with the senior leadership of the Army to debate issues, provide direction, and seek advice. The Secretary is a member of the Defense Acquisition Board.

The Secretary of the Army has several responsibilities under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including the authority to convene general courts-martial. Other duties include management of the Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army Program.[6]

Office of the Secretary of the Army

The Office of the Secretary of the Army is composed of the Under Secretary of the Army, the Assistant Secretaries of the Army, the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, the General Counsel of the Department of the Army, the Inspector General of the Army, the Chief of Legislative Liaison, and the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee. Other offices may be established by law or by the Secretary of the Army. No more than 1,865 officers of the Army on the active-duty list may be assigned or detailed to permanent duty in the Office of the Secretary of the Army and on the Army Staff.[7]

Chart showing the organization of the Office of the Secretary of Army and its relationship to the Army Staff.
Chart showing the organization of the Office of the Secretary of Army and its relationship to the Army Staff.

Chronological list of Secretaries of the Army

Kenneth Claiborne Royall, the last Secretary of War, became the first Secretary of the Army when the National Defense Act of 1947 took effect. Gordon Gray was the last Army secretary to hold the cabinet status, which was henceforth assigned to the Secretary of Defense.[5][8]

Photo Name Term of Office President(s) served under
KCR portrait.jpg
Kenneth Claiborne Royall September 18, 1947 – April 27, 1949 Harry S. Truman
Gordon Gray - Project Gutenberg etext 20587.jpg
Gordon Gray[9] April 28, 1949 – April 12, 1950
Frank Pace Sec. Army.jpg
Frank Pace April 12, 1950 – January 20, 1953
Earl D. Johnson.jpg
Earl D. Johnson
January 20, 1953 – February 4, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Robert Ten Broeck Stevens.jpg
Robert T. Stevens February 4, 1953 – July 21, 1955
Wilber Marion Brucker.jpg
Wilber M. Brucker July 21, 1955 – January 19, 1961
Elvis Jacob Stahr.jpg
Elvis Jacob Stahr Jr. January 24, 1961 – June 30, 1962 John F. Kennedy
Cyrus Roberts Vance July 5, 1962 – January 21, 1964 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
Stephen Ailes, official photo.jpg
Stephen Ailes January 28, 1964 – July 1, 1965 Lyndon B. Johnson
Stanley Rogers Resor, official photo.jpg
Stanley R. Resor July 2, 1965 – June 30, 1971 Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon
Robert Froehlke.jpg
Robert F. Froehlke July 1, 1971 – May 14, 1973 Richard Nixon
Howard Callaway.jpg
Howard H. Callaway May 15, 1973 – July 3, 1975 Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
Norman Ralph Augustine.jpg
Norman R. Augustine
July 3, 1975 – August 5, 1975 Gerald Ford
Martin Richard Hoffmann.jpg
Martin R. Hoffmann August 5, 1975 – January 20, 1977
Clifford Alexander, speaking at a podium, March 1984.jpg
Clifford Alexander Jr. February 14, 1977 – January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
No image.svg
Percy A. Pierre
January 21, 1981 – January 29, 1981
John Otho Marsh speaking at Arlington Cemetery, March 1985.jpg
John O. Marsh Jr. January 30, 1981 – August 14, 1989 Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush
Michael Stone, official portrait, 1989.JPEG
Michael P. W. Stone August 14, 1989 – January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
John W. Shannon.JPEG
John W. Shannon
January 20, 1993 – August 26, 1993 Bill Clinton
General Gordon Sullivan, official military photo 1992.JPEG
Gordon R. Sullivan
August 28, 1993 – November 21, 1993
Togo West, official DoD photo portrait, 1994.JPEG
Togo D. West Jr. November 22, 1993 – May 4, 1997
Robert M Walker.jpg
Robert M. Walker
December 2, 1997 – July 1, 1998
Louis Caldera July 2, 1998 – January 20, 2001
Gregory R Dahlberg.jpg
Gregory R. Dahlberg
January 20, 2001 – March 4, 2001 George W. Bush
Joseph Westphal.jpg
Joseph W. Westphal
March 5, 2001 – May 31, 2001
Thomas E White, Secretary of the Army.jpg
Thomas E. White May 31, 2001 – May 9, 2003
Les Brownlee, official DoD photo.jpg
Les Brownlee
May 10, 2003 – November 18, 2004
Francis J. Harvey, official photo as Secretary of the Army.jpg
Francis J. Harvey November 19, 2004 – March 9, 2007
Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army, official photo.jpg
Pete Geren March 9, 2007 – September 21, 2009 George W. Bush, Barack Obama
Army Secretary John McHugh.jpg
John M. McHugh September 21, 2009 – November 1, 2015 Barack Obama
Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning.jpg
Eric Fanning
November 3, 2015 – January 11, 2016
Patrick J. Murphy official portrait.jpg
Patrick Murphy
January 11, 2016 – May 17, 2016
Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning.jpg
Eric Fanning May 17, 2016 – January 20, 2017
Robert M. Speer.jpg
Robert Speer
January 20, 2017 – August 2, 2017 Donald Trump
Ryan McCarthy-Acting Secretary of the Army.jpg
Ryan McCarthy
August 2, 2017 – November 20, 2017
Mark T. Esper.jpg
Mark Esper November 20, 2017 – present


  1. ^ Archived June 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, accessed on January 4, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Secretary of the Army". U.S. Army. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "SECARM sets goals, timeline for Rapid Capabilities Office: AUSA exclusive". October 3, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "US CODE: Title 10,3013. Secretary of the Army". Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Bell, William Gardner (1992). ""Kenneth Claiborne Royall"". Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army: Portraits and Biographical Sketches. United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  6. ^ "Secretary of the Army". Archived from the original on September 21, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  7. ^ "US CODE: Title 10,3014. Office of the Secretary of the Army". Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  8. ^ Bell, William Gardner. ""Intro - Secretaries of War & Secretaries of the Army"". Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army: Portraits & Biographical Sketches. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e f *Bell, William Gardner (1992). Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army: Portraits and Biographical Sketches. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History.
  10. ^ "Secretary of the Army Accused of Shoplifting", Stephanie Griffith and Bill Miller, The Washington Post, August 28, 1993
  11. ^ The Daily Sentinel (Ohio/West Virginia), Acting Army Chief Ticketed for Shoplifting, August 29, 1993
  12. ^ U.S. Organization Chart Service, Department of Defense Fact Book, 2006, page 17

External links

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