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United States Secretary of Defense

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States secretary of defense (SecDef) is the head of the United States Department of Defense, the executive department of the U.S. Armed Forces, and is a high ranking member of the federal cabinet.[5][6][7] The secretary of defense's position of command and authority over the military is second only to that of the president of the United States, who is the commander-in-chief. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a defense minister in many other countries.[8] The secretary of defense is appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is by custom a member of the Cabinet and by law a member of the National Security Council.[9]

The secretary of defense is a statutory office, and the general provision in 10 U.S.C. § 113 provides that "subject to the direction of the President", its occupant has "authority, direction, and control over the Department of Defense". The same statute further designates the secretary as "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense".[10] To ensure civilian control of the military, no one may be appointed as the secretary of defense within seven years of serving as a commissioned officer of a regular military component (i.e., non-reserve) without a waiver from Congress.[11]

Subject only to the orders of the president, the secretary of defense is in the chain of command and exercises command and control, for both operational and administrative purposes, over all service branches administered by the Department of Defense – the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force – as well as the Coast Guard when its command and control is transferred to the Department of Defense.[12][13][14][15][16] Only the secretary of defense (or the president or Congress) can authorize the transfer of operational control of forces between the three military departments (Department of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force) and the eleven Unified Combatant Commands.[12] Because the secretary of defense is vested with legal powers that exceed those of any commissioned officer, and is second only to the president in the military hierarchy, its incumbent has sometimes unofficially been referred to as "deputy commander-in-chief".[17][18][19] The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the secretary of defense and the president; while the chairman may assist the secretary and president in their command functions, the chairman is not in the chain of command.[20]

The secretary of state, the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of defense, and the attorney general are generally regarded as the four most important (and are officially the four most senior and oldest) cabinet officials because of the size and importance of their respective departments.[21] The current secretary of defense is retired general Lloyd Austin, who is the first African American to serve in the position.[22]


Seal of the National Military Establishment (1947–1949)
Seal of the National Military Establishment (1947–1949)

An Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were established in 1775, in concurrence with the American Revolution. The War Department, headed by the secretary of war, was created by Act of Congress in 1789 and was responsible for both the Army and Navy until the founding of a separate Department of the Navy in 1798.

Based on the experiences of World War II, proposals were soon made on how to more effectively manage the large combined military establishment. The Army generally favored centralization while the Navy had institutional preferences for decentralization and the status quo. The resulting National Security Act of 1947 was largely a compromise between these divergent viewpoints. It renamed the Department of War the Department of the Army, and added both it and the Department of the Navy to a newly established National Military Establishment (NME). The Act also separated the Army Air Forces from the Army to become its own branch of service, the United States Air Force.

A new title was coined by the Act for the head of the NME: Secretary of Defense. At first, each of the service secretaries maintained cabinet status. The first secretary of defense, James Forrestal, who in his previous capacity as the secretary of the Navy had opposed the creation of the new position, found it difficult to exercise authority over the other branches with the limited powers his office had at the time. To address this and other problems, the National Security Act was amended in 1949 to further consolidate the national defense structure in order to reduce interservice rivalry, directly subordinate the secretaries of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to the secretary of defense in the chain of command, and rename the National Military Establishment as the Department of Defense, making it one Executive Department. The position of the deputy secretary of defense, the number two position in the department, was also created at this time.

The general trend since 1949 has been to further centralize management in the Department of Defense, elevating the status and authorities of civilian OSD appointees and defense-wide organizations at the expense of the military departments and the services within them. The last major revision of the statutory framework concerning the position was done in the Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. In particular, it elevated the status of joint service for commissioned officers, making it in practice a requirement before appointments to general officer and flag officer grades could be made.

As the secretary of defense is a civilian position intended to be independent of the active-duty leadership, a secretary is required to have been retired from service for at least seven (originally ten) years unless a waiver is approved by Congress.[23] Since the creation of the position in 1947, such a waiver has been approved only three times, for Army general George Marshall in 1950, Marine Corps General Jim Mattis in 2017, and retired Army general Lloyd J. Austin III in 2021.[24][25]

Powers and functions

Department of Defense organizational chart (December 2013)
Department of Defense organizational chart (December 2013)

The secretary of defense, appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, is by federal law (10 U.S.C. § 113) the head of the Department of Defense, "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to Department of Defense", and has "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense". Because the Constitution vests all military authority in Congress and the president, the statutory authority of the secretary of defense is derived from their constitutional authorities. Since it is impractical for either Congress or the president to participate in every piece of Department of Defense affairs, the secretary of defense and the secretary's subordinate officials generally exercise military authority.

As the head of DoD, all officials, employees and service members are "under" the secretary of defense. Some of those high-ranking officials, civil and military (outside of OSD and the Joint Staff) are: the secretary of the Army, secretary of the Navy, and secretary of the Air Force, Army chief of staff, commandant of the Marine Corps, chief of naval operations, Air Force chief of staff, chief of space operations, and chief of the National Guard Bureau and the combatant commanders of the Combatant Commands. All these high-ranking positions, civil and military, require Senate confirmation.

The Department of Defense is composed of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Joint Staff (JS), Office of the Inspector General (DODIG), the Combatant Commands, the Military Departments (Department of the Army (DA), Department of the Navy (DON) & Department of the Air Force (DAF)), the Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities, the National Guard Bureau (NGB), and such other offices, agencies, activities, organizations, and commands established or designated by law, or by the president or by the secretary of defense.

Department of Defense Directive 5100.01 describes the organizational relationships within the Department and is the foundational issuance for delineating the major functions of the Department. The latest version, signed by former secretary of defense Robert Gates in December 2010, is the first major re-write since 1987.[26][27]

Office of the Secretary of Defense

The secretary's principally civilian staff element is called the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and is composed of the deputy secretary of defense (DEPSECDEF) and five under secretaries of defense in the fields of acquisition & sustainment, research & engineering, comptroller/chief financial officer, intelligence, personnel & readiness, and policy; several assistant secretaries of defense; other directors and the staffs under them.

The name of the principally military staff organization, organized under the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the Joint Staff (JS).

Awards and decorations

The Defense Distinguished Service Medal (DDSM), the Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (JSCM) and the Joint Service Achievement Medal (JSAM) are awarded, to military personnel for service in joint duty assignments, in the name of the secretary of defense. In addition, there is the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA), which is the only ribbon (as in non-medal) and unit award issued to joint DoD activities, also issued in the name of the secretary of defense.

The DDSM is analogous to the distinguished services medals issued by the military departments (i.e. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal & Air Force Distinguished Service Medal), the DSSM corresponds to the Legion of Merit, the DMSM to the Meritorious Service Medal, the JSCM to the service commendation medals, and the JSAM to the achievement medals issued by the services. While the approval authority for DSSM, DMSM, JSCM, JSAM and JMUA is delegated to inferior DoD officials: the DDSM can be awarded only by the secretary of defense.

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor (MOH), formally endorsed in writing by the secretary of the military department concerned and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are processed through the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and such recommendations be must approved by the secretary of defense before it can be handed over to the president, who is the final approval authority for the MOH, although it is awarded in the name of Congress.

The secretary of defense, with the concurrence of the secretary of state, is the approval authority for the acceptance and wear of NATO medals issued by the secretary general of NATO and offered to the U.S. permanent representative to NATO in recognition of U.S. servicemembers who meet the eligibility criteria specified by NATO.[28]

Congressional committees

As the head of the department, the secretary of defense is the chief witness for the congressional committees with oversight responsibilities over the Department of Defense. The most important committees, with respect to the entire department, are the two authorizing committees, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and the two appropriations committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.

For the DoD intelligence programs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have the principal oversight role.

National Security Council

The secretary of defense is a statutory member of the National Security Council.[29] As one of the principals, the secretary along with the vice president, secretary of state and the assistant to the president for national security affairs participates in biweekly Principals Committee (PC) meetings, preparing and coordinating issues before they are brought before full NSC sessions chaired by the president.

Role in the military justice system

The secretary is one of only five or six civilians – the others being the president, the three "service secretaries" (the secretary of the Army, secretary of the Navy, and secretary of the Air Force), and the secretary of homeland security (when the United States Coast Guard is under the United States Department of Homeland Security and has not been transferred to the Department of the Navy under the Department of Defense) – authorized to act as convening authority in the military justice system for General Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 822: article 22, UCMJ), Special Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 823: article 23, UCMJ), and Summary Courts-Martial (10 U.S.C. § 824: article 24 UCMJ).


Secretary of Defense is a Level I position in the Executive Schedule,[4] thus earning a salary of US$221,400, as of January 2021.[30]

List of secretaries of defense

The longest-serving secretary of defense is Robert McNamara, who served for a total of 7 years, 39 days. Combining his two non-sequential services as the secretary of defense, the second-longest serving is Donald Rumsfeld, who served just ten days fewer than McNamara. The second-longest unbroken tenure was Caspar Weinberger's, at 6 years, 306 days.

The shortest-serving secretary of defense is Elliot Richardson, who served 114 days and then was appointed U.S. attorney general amid the resignations of the Watergate Scandal. (This is not counting deputy secretaries of defense William P. Clements and William Howard Taft IV, who each served a few weeks as temporary/acting secretary of defense).

For precursors to this position prior to the establishment of the Department of Defense, see the lists of secretaries of the Navy and secretaries of war prior to 1947.


  Democratic   Republican   Independent / Unknown

  Denotes an Acting Secretary of Defense
No. Portrait Secretary of Defense Took office Left office Time in office Party State of residence President
serving under
1Forrestal, JamesJames Forrestal
September 17, 1947March 28, 19491 year, 192 daysDemocraticNew YorkTruman, HarryHarry S Truman (D)[31]
2Johnson, LouisLouis A. Johnson
March 28, 1949September 19, 19501 year, 175 daysDemocraticWest VirginiaTruman, HarryHarry S Truman (D)[32]
3Marshall, GeorgeGeorge C. Marshall
September 21, 1950September 12, 1951356 daysIndependentPennsylvaniaTruman, HarryHarry S Truman (D)[33]
4Lovett, RobertRobert A. Lovett
September 17, 1951January 20, 19531 year, 125 daysRepublicanNew YorkTruman, HarryHarry S Truman (D)[34]
5Wilson, CharlesCharles Erwin Wilson
January 28, 1953October 8, 19574 years, 253 daysRepublicanMichiganEisenhower, DwightDwight D. Eisenhower (R)[35]
6McElroy, NeilNeil H. McElroy
October 9, 1957December 1, 19592 years, 53 daysRepublicanOhioEisenhower, DwightDwight D. Eisenhower (R)[36]
7Gates, ThomasThomas S. Gates Jr.
December 2, 1959January 20, 19611 year, 49 daysRepublicanPennsylvaniaEisenhower, DwightDwight D. Eisenhower (R)[37]
8McNamara, RobertRobert McNamara
January 21, 1961February 29, 19687 years, 39 daysRepublicanMichiganKennedy, JohnJohn F. Kennedy (D)
Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
9Clifford, ClarkClark Clifford
March 1, 1968January 20, 1969325 daysDemocraticMarylandJohnson, LyndonLyndon B. Johnson (D)[39]
10Laird, MelvinMelvin R. Laird
January 22, 1969January 29, 19734 years, 7 daysRepublicanWisconsinNixon, RichardRichard Nixon (R)[40]
11Richardson, ElliotElliot Richardson
January 30, 1973May 24, 1973114 daysRepublicanMassachusettsNixon, RichardRichard Nixon (R)[41]
Clements, BillBill Clements
May 24, 1973July 2, 197339 daysRepublicanTexasNixon, RichardRichard Nixon (R)[42]
12Schlesinger, JamesJames R. Schlesinger
July 2, 1973November 19, 19752 years, 140 daysRepublicanVirginiaNixon, RichardRichard Nixon (R)
Gerald Ford (R)
13Rumsfeld, DonaldDonald Rumsfeld
November 20, 1975January 20, 19771 year, 61 daysRepublicanIllinoisFord, GeraldGerald Ford (R)[44]
14Brown, HaroldHarold Brown
January 20, 1977January 20, 19814 years, 0 daysIndependentCaliforniaCarter, JimmyJimmy Carter (D)[45]
15Weinberger, CasparCaspar Weinberger
January 21, 1981November 23, 19876 years, 306 daysRepublicanCaliforniaReagan, RonaldRonald Reagan (R)[46]
16Carlucci, FrankFrank Carlucci
November 23, 1987January 20, 19891 year, 58 daysRepublicanVirginiaReagan, RonaldRonald Reagan (R)[47]
Taft, WilliamWilliam Howard Taft IV
(born 1945)
January 20, 1989March 21, 198960 daysRepublicanOhioBush, GeorgeGeorge H. W. Bush (R)[48]
17Cheney, DickDick Cheney
(born 1941)
March 21, 1989January 20, 19933 years, 305 daysRepublicanWyomingBush, GeorgeGeorge H. W. Bush (R)[49]
18Aspin, LesLeslie Aspin
January 20, 1993[50][51]February 3, 19941 year, 14 daysDemocraticWisconsinClinton, BillBill Clinton (D)[52]
19Perry, WilliamWilliam Perry
(born 1927)
February 3, 1994January 23, 1997[53] / January 24, 1997[50][54]2 years, 356 daysDemocraticPennsylvaniaClinton, BillBill Clinton (D).
20Cohen, WilliamWilliam Cohen
(born 1940)
January 24, 1997January 20, 20013 years, 362 daysRepublicanMaineClinton, BillBill Clinton (D)[55]
21Rumsfeld, DonaldDonald Rumsfeld
January 20, 2001December 18, 20065 years, 332 days
(7 years, 29 days total)
RepublicanIllinoisBush, George W.George W. Bush (R)[56]
22Gates, RobertRobert Gates
(born 1943)
December 18, 2006June 30, 2011[57] / July 1, 2011[50]4 years, 194 daysRepublicanTexasBush, George W.George W. Bush (R)
Barack Obama (D)
23Panetta, LeonLeon Panetta
(born 1938)
July 1, 2011February 26, 20131 year, 240 daysDemocraticCaliforniaObama, BarackBarack Obama (D)[58]
24Hagel, ChuckChuck Hagel
(born 1946)
February 27, 2013February 17, 20151 year, 355 daysRepublicanNebraskaObama, BarackBarack Obama (D)[59]
25Carter, AshAsh Carter
February 17, 2015January 20, 20171 year, 338 daysDemocraticMassachusettsObama, BarackBarack Obama (D)[60][50]
26Mattis, JimJim Mattis
(born 1950)
January 20, 2017January 1, 20191 year, 345 daysIndependentWashingtonTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (R)[61]
Shanahan, PatrickPatrick M. Shanahan
(born 1962)
January 1, 2019June 23, 2019173 daysIndependentWashingtonTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (R)[62]
Esper, MarkMark Esper
(born 1964)
June 24, 2019July 15, 201921 daysRepublicanVirginiaTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (R)[63]
Esper, MarkRichard V. Spencer
(born 1954)
July 15, 2019July 23, 20198 daysRepublicanWyomingTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (R)[64]
27Esper, MarkMark Esper
(born 1964)
July 23, 2019November 9, 20201 year, 109 daysRepublicanVirginiaTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (R)[63]
Miller, Christopher C.Christopher C. Miller
(born 1965)
November 9, 2020January 20, 202172 daysRepublicanIowaTrump, DonaldDonald Trump (R)[63]
Norquist, David L.David Norquist
(born 1966)
January 20, 2021January 22, 20212 daysRepublicanMassachusettsBiden, JoeJoe Biden (D)[65]
28Austin, LloydLloyd Austin
(born 1953)
January 22, 2021Incumbent2 years, 134 daysIndependentGeorgiaBiden, JoeJoe Biden (D)[66]


Presidential succession

The secretary of defense is sixth in the presidential line of succession, following the secretary of the treasury and preceding the attorney general.[67]

Secretary succession

On December 10, 2020, President Donald Trump modified the order of succession for the office of Secretary of Defense in Executive Order 13963. The order of succession is:[68]

# Office
1 Deputy Secretary of Defense
2* Secretary of the Army

Secretary of the Navy

Secretary of the Air Force

3 Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
4 Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security
5 Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense
6 Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment
7 Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
8 Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
9 Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
10 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
11 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security;
12 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment;
13 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
14 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
15 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
16* General Counsel of the Department of Defense

Assistant Secretaries of Defense

Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation

Director of Operational Test and Evaluation

Chief Information Officer of the Department of Defense

17* Under Secretary of the Army

Under Secretary of the Navy

Under Secretary of the Air Force

18* Assistant Secretaries of the Army

Assistant Secretaries of the Navy

Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force

General Counsel of the Army

General Counsel of the Navy

General Counsel of the Air Force

*Order of Succession is determined by the seniority of officials in their role.

See also



  1. ^ Trask & Goldberg: p. 177.
  2. ^ "Positional Colors for the Department of Defense". Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  3. ^ "3 U.S. Code § 19 – Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act".
  4. ^ a b 5 U.S.C. § 5312
  5. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 113.
  6. ^ DoDD 5100.1: Enclosure 2: a
  7. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 101.
  8. ^ "NATO – member countries". NATO. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  9. ^ 50 U.S.C. § 402.
  10. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 113
  11. ^ The National Security Act of 1947 originally required an interval of ten years after relief from active duty, which was reduced to seven years by Sec. 903(a) of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. In 1950 Congress passed special legislation (Pub. Law 81-788) to allow George C. Marshall to serve as Secretary of Defense while remaining a commissioned officer on the active list of the Army (Army regulations kept all five-star generals on active duty for life), but warned:

    It is hereby expressed as the intent of the Congress that the authority granted by this Act is not to be construed as approval by the Congress of continuing appointments of military men to the office of Secretary of Defense in the future. It is hereby expressed as the sense of the Congress that after General Marshall leaves the office of Secretary of Defense, no additional appointments of military men to that office shall be approved.

    Defenselink bio, Retrieved February 8, 2010; and Marshall Foundation bio, Retrieved February 8, 2010.

  12. ^ a b 10 U.S.C. § 162
  13. ^ Joint Publication 1: II-9, II-10 & II-11.
  14. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 3011
  15. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 5011
  16. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 8011
  17. ^ Trask & Goldberg: pp.11 & 52
  18. ^ Cohen: p.231.
  19. ^ Korb, Lawrence J.; Ogden, Pete (October 31, 2006). "Rumsfeld's Management Failures". Center for American Progress. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  20. ^ 10 U.S.C. § 152
  21. ^ Cabinets and Counselors: The President and the Executive Branch (1997). Congressional Quarterly. p. 87.
  22. ^ "Senate confirms Biden's Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black Pentagon chief". Fox News. January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  23. ^ Peters, Heidi M. (December 1, 2016). "Waiver of Statutory Qualifications Relating to Prior Military Service of the Secretary of Defense". UNT Digital Library. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "Why Generals Need Congressional Waivers To Become Defense Secretary". Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  25. ^ Youssef, Nancy A. (January 21, 2021). "Lloyd Austin Receives Waiver Allowing Him to Become Defense Chief". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  26. ^ Department of Defense Directive 5100.01 Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components
  27. ^ DoDD 5100.1: p.1.
  28. ^ DoDM 1348.33, Vol 3: p.39 (Enclosure 3)
  29. ^ 50 U.S.C. § 402
  30. ^ "Salary Table No. 2021-EX Rates of Basic Pay for the Executive Schedule (EX)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on January 23, 2021.
  31. ^ "James V. Forrestal – Harry S. Truman Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  32. ^ "Louis A. Johnson – Harry S. Truman Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  33. ^ "George C. Marshall – Harry S. Truman Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  34. ^ "Robert A. Lovett – Harry S. Truman Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  35. ^ "Charles E. Wilson – Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  36. ^ "Neil H. McElroy – Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  37. ^ "Thomas S. Gates, Jr. – Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  38. ^ "Robert S. McNamara – John F. Kennedy / Lyndon Johnson Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  39. ^ "Clark M. Gifford – Lyndon Johnson Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  40. ^ "Melvin R. Laird – Richard Nixon Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  41. ^ "Elliot L. Richardson – Richard Nixon Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  42. ^ Cantwell, Gerald T. (1997). Citizen Airmen: A History of the Air Force Reserve 1946–1994. DIANE Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 9781428991620. In June 1973, Representative O. C. Fisher complained to William P. Clements, Jr., acting Secretary of Defense, that the authority, responsibility, and, consequently, effectiveness of the chiefs of the various reserve components seemed to be eroding.
  43. ^ "James R. Schlesinger – Richard Nixon / Gerald Ford Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  44. ^ "Donald H. Rumsfeld – Gerald Ford Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  45. ^ "Harold Brown – James Carter Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  46. ^ "Caspar W. Weinberger – Ronald Reagan Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  47. ^ "Frank C. Carlucci – Ronald Reagan Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  48. ^ "II. Secretaries of Defense". Washington Headquarters Services – Pentagon Digital Library. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017. (Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft served as acting secretary of defense from 20 January 1989 until 21 March 1989).
  49. ^ "Richard B. Cheney – George H.W. Bush Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  50. ^ a b c d Department of Defense Key Officials September 1947 – February 2019
  51. ^ "Les Aspin Serves One Year As Defense Secretary".
  52. ^ "Leslie Aspin – William J. Clinton Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  53. ^ "William J. Perry – William J. Clinton Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
  54. ^ "II. Secretaries of Defense". Washington Headquarters Services – Pentagon Digital Library. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017. Sworn in as secretary of defense on 3 February 1994 and served until 24 January 1997.
  55. ^ "William S. Cohen – William J. Clinton Administration". Office of the Secretary of Defense – Historical Office.
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General sources

Federal law

Directives, regulations and manuals

Further reading

Primary historical sources

Online sources

External links

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Secretary of the Treasury Order of precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Defense
Succeeded byas Attorney General
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by 6th in line Succeeded by
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