John E. Whitley

John Euler Whitley (born September 15, 1970) is an American government official who served as the acting United States Secretary of the Army from January 20, 2021, to May 28, 2021. He previously serviced as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) and acting director of cost assessment and program evaluation for the Department of Defense.[1]

John Whitley
John E. Whitley.jpg
Acting United States Secretary of the Army
In office
January 20, 2021 – May 28, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
DeputyChristopher Lowman (acting)
Preceded byRyan D. McCarthy
Succeeded byChristine Wormuth
16th Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller)
In office
September 26, 2018 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byRobert M. Speer
Succeeded byCaral Spangler
Acting Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation
In office
August 16, 2019 – March 13, 2020
PresidentDonald Trump
Joe Biden
Preceded byE. Y. (Yisroel) Brumer (acting)
Succeeded byJoseph R. Nogueira (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1970-09-15) September 15, 1970 (age 52)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationVirginia Tech (BA, BS)
University of Chicago (MA, PhD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1988–1992
RankArmy-USA-OR-05.svg Sergeant
Unit2 Ranger Battalion Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.svg 2nd Ranger Battalion

Early life and educationEdit

Whitley was born in Gainesville, Florida, and grew up in Clear Spring, Maryland.[2]

Whitley served in the United States Army from 1988 until 1992. He served in the 2nd Ranger Battalion[3] and completed numerous courses, including Ranger School, the Ranger Indoctrination Program, and the Special Operations Medical Course.[4]

He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in animal science and a Bachelors of Arts degree in agricultural economics. Whitley graduated summa cum laude and was the outstanding senior in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.[5] He went on to the University of Chicago, where he earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Economics in 2000.[6]

Upon completing his Ph.D. in economics, Whitley worked in the economics department of the University of Adelaide in Australia. At Adelaide, Whitley taught various courses on microeconomics topics and published research in on agricultural economics and law and economics topics.[3]

Government serviceEdit

Whitley then worked in the Department of Defense (DoD), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E) as an operations research analyst (which was subsequently renamed to Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE)).[3] At PA&E, Whitley worked on defense resource allocation and military healthcare.[7] In 2007, Whitley worked in the office of Jon Kyl, a former U.S. Senator from Arizona.[7]

Whitley left DoD for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the office of the CFO. He was the director of DHS PA&E and the DHS Performance Improvement Officer. In these roles, he led the resource allocation process and the measurement, reporting and improvement of performance. At DHS, Whitley worked on counterterrorism, immigration, cybersecurity and disaster management issues.[7]

Whitley then served as a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Alexandria, Virginia. At IDA, he led research on resource allocation and performance issues in national security, including military healthcare and border security. He supported the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission on healthcare reform and has testified before Congress on these issues.[7] He also served as a senior fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses and taught as an adjunct professor at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University.[4]

On February 1, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Whitley to be Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller). On September 18, 2018, the United States Senate confirmed his nomination by voice vote; he was sworn in the same day.[2][8] Whitley served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the U.S. Army, in charge of financial management, audit, and budgetary issue for the $180 billion Army budget.[9]

From August 16, 2019, through March 13, 2020, Whitley was acting director of cost assessment and program evaluation (CAPE) for DoD. He then moved to the role of performing the duties of the director of CAPE from March 13, 2020, through May 4, 2020.[10] As the director of CAPE, Whitley served in roles similar to the Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Investment Officer of the DoD.[11] On May 4, 2020, he was nominated to assume this post.[12] While awaiting confirmation, Whitley served as the acting deputy chief management officer of the DoD.[13] On January 3, 2021, his nomination was returned to the President under Rule XXXI, Paragraph 6 of the United States Senate.[12]

Whitley in 2018 as Assistant Secretary of the Army

President Joe Biden appointed Whitley as the acting Secretary of the Army.[3] In the role, Whitley functioned as the CEO of the Department of the Army, including its over one million military personnel, 200,000 civilians, and $180 billion annual budget.[1] During his tenure, Whitley advocated for Army modernization efforts,[14] increased the focus in readiness on small units training,[15] directed a major restructuring of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command,[16] oversaw the National Guardsmen stationed in Washington, D.C. (including the 25,000 National Guardsmen in place for the inauguration on January 20, 2021),[17] and developed the 2022 Army budget.[18] On May 5, 2021, Whitley testified to the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on the Fiscal Year 2022 Army Budget.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Whitley lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Danielle, and their two children.


Selected Academic WorksEdit

Whitley, J.; Bishop, J.; Burns, S.; Guerrera, K.; Lurie, P.; Rieksts, B.; Roberts, B.; Wojtecki, T.; Wu, L. (2018). “Medical Total Force Management: Assessing Readiness and Cost” IDA Paper P-8805

Whitley, J. (2017). “Five Actions to Improve Military Hospital Performance”. IBM Center for The Business of Government.

Whitley, J. (2015). “Four Actions to Integrate Performance Information with Budget Formulation”. IBM Center for The Business of Government.

Roberts, B.; Whitley, J.; and Valdes-Dapena, M. (2014). “Economics of Federal Law Enforcement,” in Payson S. (ed). "Public Economics in the United States: How the Federal Government Analyzes and Influences the Economy". 1: Praeger.

Whitley, J. (2013) “Managing Illegal Immigration to the United States: How Effective is Enforcement?” Council on Foreign Relations Special Report.

Arnold, S.; Harmon, B.; Rose, S.; Whitley, J. (2013). “The Value of an Economic Price Adjustment Clause”. Defense Acquisition Research Journal. 20 (2): 174–193. 

Whitley, J. (2012). “Five Methods for Measuring Unobserved Events: A Case Study of Federal Law Enforcement”. IBM Center for The Business of Government.


  1. ^ a b "US Army FY 2021 President's Budget Highlights" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b "Biography of John E. Whitley". Army Financial Management & Comptroller. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Acting Secretary of the Army | The United States Army". Acting Secretary of the Army | The United States Army. Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  4. ^ a b "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration | The White House". Retrieved 2018-10-11 – via National Archives.
  5. ^ "Undergraduate Student Awards". Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  6. ^ "John Whitley | IBM Center for The Business of Government". Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  7. ^ a b c d "Conversations with authors: John Whitley on Five Actions to Improve Military Hospital Performance". Federal News Network. 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  8. ^ "Trump nominations tracker: See which key positions have been filled so far". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  9. ^ "Army Financial Management & Comptroller". Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  10. ^ "Department of Defense Key Officials September 1947–December 2020" (PDF). U.S. Department of Defense. 2020-12-01. p. 44. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  11. ^ "OSD CAPE". Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  12. ^ a b "PN1725 — John E. Whitley — Department of Defense". U.S. Congress. 3 January 2021. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  14. ^ "U.S. Army Protects Modernization Priorities In Budget Request | Aviation Week Network". Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  15. ^ Freedberg, Sydney J. Jr. (16 March 2021). "Train Small Units For Big Wars: Gen. McConville". Breaking Defense. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  16. ^ "Army announces CID restructure and SHARP policy improvements". Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  17. ^ "Pentagon Briefing on National Guard Stationed in Washington, D.C. |". Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  18. ^ "'A Lot of Risk' in Army's Proposed 2022 Budget, Service Leaders Say". Defense One. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  19. ^ "Fiscal Year 2022 United States Army Budget". House Committee on Appropriations. 2021-05-05. Retrieved 2021-05-16.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of the Army

Succeeded by