United States Secretary of Defense

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United States Secretary of Defense
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg
Seal of the Department[1]
Flag of the United States Secretary of Defense.svg
Patrick Shanahan (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Patrick M. Shanahan
Acting

since January 1, 2019
United States Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleMr. Secretary
StatusLeader and chief executive
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 113
50 U.S.C. § 401
FormationSeptember 17, 1947 (1947-09-17)
First holderJames Forrestal
SuccessionSixth[3]
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Defense
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level I[4]
Websitewww.defense.gov

The United States Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) is the head of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The role was made in 1947. The Secretary of Defense is sixth in line to the United States presidential line of succession.

List of Secretaries of Defense[change | change source]

# Picture Name Term of Office President(s) served under
Start End
1 James Forrestal James Vincent Forrestal September 17, 1947 March 28, 1949 Harry S. Truman
2 Louis A. Johnson Louis Arthur Johnson March 28, 1949 September 19, 1950
3 George C. Marshall General George Catlett Marshall, Jr. September 21, 1950 September 12, 1951
4 Robert A. Lovett Robert Abercrombie Lovett September 17, 1951 January 20, 1953
5 Charles E. Wilson Charles Erwin Wilson January 20, 1953 October 8, 1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower
6 Neil H. McElroy Neil Hosler McElroy October 9, 1957 December 1, 1959
7 Thomas S. Gates Thomas Sovereign Gates December 2, 1959 January 20, 1961
8 Robert McNamara Robert Strange McNamara January 21, 1961 February 29, 1968 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
9 Clark M. Clifford Clark McAdams Clifford March 1, 1968 January 20, 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
10 Melvin R. Laird Melvin Robert Laird January 22, 1969 January 29, 1973 Richard Nixon
11 Elliot L. Richardson Elliot Lee Richardson January 30, 1973 May 24, 1973
12 Schlesinger James Rodney Schlesinger July 2, 1973 November 19, 1975 Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
13 Rumsfeld Donald Henry Rumsfeld November 20, 1975 January 20, 1977 Gerald Ford
14 Harold Brown Harold Brown January 21, 1977 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
15 Caspar W. Weinberger Caspar Willard Weinberger January 21, 1981 November 23, 1987 Ronald Reagan
16 Carlucci Frank Charles Carlucci III November 23, 1987 January 20, 1989
17 Cheney Richard Bruce Cheney March 21, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
18 Les Aspin Leslie Aspin, Jr. January 21, 1993 February 3, 1994 Bill Clinton
19 William J. Perry William James Perry February 3, 1994 January 24, 1997
20 William S. Cohen William Sebastian Cohen January 24, 1997 January 20, 2001
21 Rumsfeld Donald Henry Rumsfeld (again) January 20, 2001 December 18, 2006 George W. Bush
22 Gates Robert Michael Gates December 18, 2006 July 1, 2011 George W. Bush, Barack Obama
23 Panetta Leon Edward Panetta July 1, 2011 February 27, 2013 Barack Obama
24 Hagel Charles Timothy Hagel February 27, 2013 February 17, 2015
25 Carter Ashton Carter February 17, 2015 January 20, 2017
26 Mattis James Mattis January 20, 2017 December 31, 2018 Donald Trump
27 Shanahan Patrick M. Shanahan
Acting
January 1, 2019

References[change | change source]

  1. Trask & Goldberg: p. 177.
  2. http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/UniformedServices/Flags/Pos_Colors_DoD.aspx Archived May 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, accessed on January 4, 2012.
  3. "3 U.S. Code § 19 – Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act".
  4. 5 U.S.C. § 5312.

Other websites[change | change source]