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United States Secretary of the Army

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The secretary of the Army (SA, SECARM[2] 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.

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]
Ryan McCarthy-Acting Secretary of the Army (cropped).jpg
Ryan McCarthy

since July 23, 2019
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
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

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.[3] 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.[4]

Ryan McCarthy became Acting Secretary of the Army on July 23, 2019, upon Mark Esper's confirmation as Secretary of Defense.[5]


Roles and responsibilitiesEdit

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 ArmyEdit

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.

Chronological list of secretaries of the ArmyEdit

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.[4][8]

Prior military service is not a requirement, but quite a few have served in the United States armed forces. Secretary Stone (1989-1993) is the only holder to serve in the military outside of the United States.

Photo Name Term of Office President(s) served under
  Kenneth Claiborne Royall September 18, 1947 – April 27, 1949 Harry S. Truman
  Gordon Gray[9] April 28, 1949 – April 12, 1950
  Frank Pace April 12, 1950 – January 20, 1953
  Earl D. Johnson
January 20, 1953 – February 4, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
  Robert T. Stevens February 4, 1953 – July 21, 1955
  Wilber M. Brucker July 21, 1955 – January 19, 1961
  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 January 28, 1964 – July 1, 1965 Lyndon B. Johnson
  Stanley R. Resor July 2, 1965 – June 30, 1971 Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon
  Robert F. Froehlke July 1, 1971 – May 14, 1973 Richard Nixon
  Howard H. Callaway May 15, 1973 – July 3, 1975 Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
  Norman R. Augustine
July 3, 1975 – August 5, 1975 Gerald Ford
  Martin R. Hoffmann August 5, 1975 – January 20, 1977
  Clifford Alexander Jr. February 14, 1977 – January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
  Percy A. Pierre
January 21, 1981 – January 29, 1981
  John O. Marsh Jr. January 30, 1981 – August 14, 1989 Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush
  Michael P. W. Stone August 14, 1989 – January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
  John W. Shannon
January 20, 1993 – August 26, 1993 Bill Clinton
  Gordon R. Sullivan
August 28, 1993 – November 21, 1993
  Togo D. West Jr. November 22, 1993 – May 4, 1997
  Robert M. Walker
December 2, 1997 – July 1, 1998
  Louis Caldera July 2, 1998 – January 20, 2001
  Gregory R. Dahlberg
January 20, 2001 – March 4, 2001 George W. Bush
  Joseph W. Westphal
March 5, 2001 – May 31, 2001
  Thomas E. White May 31, 2001 – May 9, 2003
  Les Brownlee
May 10, 2003 – November 18, 2004
  Francis J. Harvey November 19, 2004 – March 9, 2007
  Pete Geren March 9, 2007 – September 21, 2009 George W. Bush, Barack Obama
  John M. McHugh September 21, 2009 – November 1, 2015 Barack Obama
  Eric Fanning
November 3, 2015 – January 11, 2016
  Patrick Murphy
January 11, 2016 – May 17, 2016
  Eric Fanning May 17, 2016 – January 20, 2017
  Robert Speer
January 20, 2017 – August 2, 2017 Donald Trump
  Ryan McCarthy
August 2, 2017 – November 20, 2017
  Mark Esper November 20, 2017 – July 23, 2019[13]
  Ryan McCarthy
Performing the duties of
June 24, 2019 – July 15, 2019
  Ryan McCarthy
July 23, 2019 – present


  1. ^ Archived June 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, accessed on January 4, 2012.
  2. ^ "SECARM sets goals, timeline for Rapid Capabilities Office: AUSA exclusive". October 3, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "US CODE: Title 10,3013. Secretary of the Army". Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Secretary of the Army". United States Army. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  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. ^
  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
  13. ^ Dickstein, Corey (June 21, 2019). "Former Ranger McCarthy will take on duties of Army secretary on Monday". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved June 29, 2019. While Esper is serving as acting defense secretary, he will technically retain the title of secretary of the Army, one of the officials said.

External linksEdit