Ryan D. McCarthy

Ryan D. McCarthy (born 1973 or 1974)[1] is an American business executive and former U.S. Army Ranger who served as the 24th United States Secretary of the Army, from 2019 to 2021.[3] He previously held the office in an acting capacity in 2017 and 2019.

Ryan McCarthy
Ryan McCarthy-Acting Secretary of the Army.jpg
24th United States Secretary of the Army
In office
September 30, 2019 – January 20, 2021
Acting: July 23, 2019 – September 30, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyJames E. McPherson
Preceded byMark Esper
Succeeded byChristine E. Wormuth
In office
Acting: June 24, 2019 – July 15, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byMark Esper
Succeeded byMark Esper*
In office
Acting: August 3, 2017 – November 20, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byRobert M. Speer (acting)
Succeeded byMark Esper
33rd United States Under Secretary of the Army
In office
August 3, 2017 – September 30, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byBrad Carson
Succeeded byJames E. McPherson
Personal details
Born1973/1974 (age 46–47)[1]
Alma mater
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1997–2002
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain[2]
Unit75th Ranger Regiment
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
*McCarthy served in an acting capacity until Esper's formal nomination to be Secretary of Defense was submitted to the Senate. While McCarthy served as Acting Army Secretary, McPherson served as Acting Under Secretary.

Education and military serviceEdit

McCarthy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history from the Virginia Military Institute. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.[4]

A former United States Army Ranger, he served in the 75th Ranger Regiment during the United States invasion of Afghanistan.[4]

Private sector careerEdit

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and McCarthy look over paperwork while visiting Camp Eggers in Kabul on December 8, 2009

Early in his career, McCarthy worked at HSBC. He became a professional staff member on the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs. McCarthy later served as a special assistant to former United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, where he was "the right hand of the Defense secretary with front-office access."[4]

McCarthy joined Lockheed Martin in 2011, where he worked on programs including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. He most recently served as the vice president of the sustainment program for the F-35 program.[5]

Department of the ArmyEdit

In June 2017, President Donald Trump nominated him to become the Under Secretary of the Army.[6] He was confirmed as Under Secretary of the Army by the United States Senate on August 1, 2017, by voice vote.[7][8]

While Under Secretary, he served as acting Secretary of the Army twice. The first was from August 3 to November 20, 2017. The second was from June 24 to July 15, 2019, while Secretary of the Army Mark Esper was acting as Secretary of Defense.[7][8]

U.S. Secretary of the ArmyEdit

President Trump nominated McCarthy to become the Secretary of the Army on June 21, 2019.[9] He was confirmed on September 26, 2019 and was sworn in on September 30, 2019.[10]

George Floyd ProtestsEdit

In 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, McCarthy activated the D.C. National Guard, which included the use of aviation assets to support local and Federal law enforcement efforts. The D.C. National Guard is the only National Guard unit, of the 54 states and territories that have them, which reports only to the President of the United States. The Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard is subordinate solely to the President. This authority to activate the D.C. National Guard has been delegated by the President to the Secretary of Defense and further delegated to the Secretary of the Army.[11] During the protests, McCarthy gave the order to deploy helicopters in response to the protests.[12] On June 2, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper ordered an inquiry into the incident, which as of 4 June 2020 is under investigation.[13] On April 14, the Army released the findings of the investigation into low flying helicopters. The Army investigation into the National Guard's use of low-flying helicopters during a June 2020 demonstration in Washington, D.C., found a "systematic lack of understanding" of how to use military aviation to respond to civil disturbances and resulted in disciplinary action taken against several individuals involved in the operation.[14]

Storming of the U.S. CapitolEdit

On January 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, overrunning and assaulting a small group of Capitol Police officers protecting the Capitol. Questions were raised about McCarthy's handling of the riots, as the D.C. National Guard (which he oversees) was unprepared to aid police and were delayed in responding to the riots once they started.[15] On March 4 Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said defense officials approved a police request for assistance in about 60 minutes and the D.C. National Guard reacted faster than the most elite forces from a cold start".[16]

In a testimony to Congress, McCarthy said there had been no plans to have the D.C. National Guard assist Capitol police in case events that day escalated.[17] D.C. National Guard's commanding general, Maj. Gen. William Walker, said that McCarthy had instituted unusual restrictions, requiring employment of the QRF to be approved by the chain of command, which prevented a rapid deployment of the D.C. National Guard.[18]

On March 8, retired Army Lt. Gen Russel Honoré, whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tasked with leading the security review, identified that the U.S. Capitol Police are too “understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained” — and woefully lacking in intelligence capabilities. [19]

The Department of Defense Inspector General is currently conducting an investigation in to the events of Jan. 6. [20]


  1. ^ a b Britzky, Haley (September 9, 2019). "This former Ranger was just nominated to be the next Secretary of the Army". Task & Purpose. Archived from the original on September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Loyola Academy (August 3, 2017). "President Trump Nominates Ryan McCarthy '92 for Army Under Secretary". Loyola Academy. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ryan D. McCarthy". defense.gov. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Mitchell, Ellen (June 7, 2017). "Trump to nominate former Ranger for Army undersecretary". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Nicholas, Scott (June 7, 2017). "Former Lockheed Exec Ryan McCarthy to Be Nominated as Army Undersecretary". ExecutiveGov. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration". whitehouse.gov. June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017 – via National Archives.
  7. ^ a b Dickstein, Corey (June 21, 2019). "Former Ranger McCarthy will take on duties of Army secretary on Monday". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on June 29, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2019. By law, because there is currently a sitting secretary of the Army, [McCarthy] can only use the title, 'performing duties as' and not acting secretary of the Army
  8. ^ a b Weisgerber, Marcus (July 15, 2019). "Inside the Pentagon's Game of Musical Chairs". Defense One. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Seck, Hope Hodge (June 21, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Mark Esper as SecDef, Ryan McCarthy as Army Secretary". Military.com. Archived from the original on August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Senate confirms Ryan McCarthy as Army secretary". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "District of Columbia National Guard > About Us". dc.ng.mil. Archived from the original on June 16, 2020. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Schmitt, Eric; Cooper, Helene (June 10, 2020). "Aggressive Tactics by National Guard, Ordered to Appease Trump, Wounded the Military, Too". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 11, 2020. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Conte, Michael (June 4, 2020). "Army investigating why National Guard helicopters hovered low over DC, Esper says". Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  14. ^ Cox, Matthew (April 14, 2021). "Soldiers Involved in Flying Helicopter Low Over DC Protesters Have Been Disciplined, Army Says". Military.com. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  15. ^ "Army secretary departs amid questions about the National Guard's Capitol riot response". The Washington Post. 2021.
  16. ^ Ryan, Missy; Lamothe, Dan. "Military reaction was 'sprint speed,' top officer says as Pentagon takes heat for Capitol riot response". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  17. ^ Devan Cole, Barbara Starr and Oren Liebermann. "Former Army secretary says DC National Guard had no plan ahead of Capitol riot beyond local traffic control". CNN. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "House Cancels Thursday Session After Police Warn Of Possible Attack On Congress". NPR.org. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  19. ^ Demirjian, Karoun. "Capitol security review identifies deficiencies as Congress debates upgrades". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  20. ^ Myers, Meghann (January 17, 2021). "The Pentagon is investigating its response to the deadly Capitol riot". Military Times. Retrieved April 16, 2021.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Patrick Murphy
United States Under Secretary of the Army
Succeeded by
James E. McPherson
Preceded by
Robert M. Speer
United States Secretary of the Army

Succeeded by
Mark Esper
Preceded by
Mark Esper
United States Secretary of the Army

United States Secretary of the Army
Succeeded by
John E. Whitley