United States Secretary of the Army

Secretary of the Army

Flag of the Secretary of the Army[1]
Eric Fanning

since May 17, 2016
Department of the Army
Style Mister Secretary
The Honorable
(formal address in writing)
Reports to Secretary of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Appointer The President
with the advice and consent of the Senate
Term length No fixed term
Inaugural holder Kenneth Claiborne Royall
Formation September 18, 1947
Succession 2nd in SecDef succession
Deputy The Under Secretary
(principal civilian deputy)
The Chief of Staff
(military advisor and deputy)
Salary Level II of the Executive Schedule
Website Official website

The Secretary of the Army (SA or SECARMY) is a senior civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States of America 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.

The Secretary of the Army is nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the Secretary of the Army is a non-Cabinet position serving under the Secretary of Defense.[2] This position was created on September 18, 1947, replacing the Secretary of War, when the Department of War became the Department of the Army and was made a department within the new Department of Defense.[3]

Eric Fanning took office as acting secretary on November 3, 2015. He stepped aside on January 11, 2016, while awaiting Senate confirmation, and Undersecretary of the Army Patrick Murphy took on the additional role of Acting Secretary.[4] The U.S. Senate confirmed Fanning's nomination on May 17, 2016.[5]


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 and management of the Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army Program.[6]

Office of the Secretary of the Army

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 Army

Kenneth Claiborne Royall, the last Secretary of War, became the first Secretary of the Army when the National Defense Act of 1947 took effect and was the last Army secretary to hold the cabinet status, which was henceforth assigned to the Secretary of Defense.[3][8]

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 Harry S. Truman
Frank Pace April 12, 1950 – January 20, 1953 Harry S. Truman
Earl D. Johnson (acting)[9] January 20, 1953 – February 4, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Robert T. Stevens February 4, 1953 – July 21, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Wilber M. Brucker July 21, 1955 – January 19, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
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 (acting)[9] July 3, 1975 – August 5, 1975 Gerald Ford
Martin R. Hoffmann August 5, 1975 – January 20, 1977 Gerald Ford
Clifford L. Alexander, Jr. February 14, 1977 – January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Percy A. Pierre (acting)[9] January 21, 1981 – January 29, 1981 Jimmy Carter
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 (acting)[10] January 20, 1993 – August 26, 1993 Bill Clinton
Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan (acting)[11][12] August 28, 1993 – November 21, 1993 Bill Clinton
Togo D. West, Jr. November 22, 1993 – May 4, 1997 Bill Clinton
Robert M. Walker (acting)[9] December 2, 1997 – July 1, 1998 Bill Clinton
Louis Caldera July 2, 1998 – January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
Gregory R. Dahlberg (acting) January 20, 2001 – March 4, 2001 George W. Bush
Joseph W. Westphal (acting)[9] March 5, 2001 – May 31, 2001 George W. Bush
Thomas E. White May 31, 2001 – May 9, 2003 George W. Bush
Les Brownlee (acting) May 10, 2003 – November 18, 2004 George W. Bush
Francis J. Harvey November 19, 2004 – March 9, 2007 George W. Bush
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 (acting) November 3, 2015 – January 11, 2016 Barack Obama
Patrick Murphy (acting) January 11, 2016 - May 17, 2016 Barack Obama
Eric Fanning May 17, 2016 – present Barack Obama


  1. http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r840_10.pdf, accessed on 2012-01-04.
  2. "US CODE: Title 10,3013. Secretary of the Army". Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  3. 1 2 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.
  4. Loita C. Baldor. "Army Acting Secretary Steps Aside amid Stalled Nomination". Associated Press, January 11, 2016
  5. "U.S. Senate backs Fanning as Army secretary". Reuters. May 17, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  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. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  10. "Secretary of the Army Accused of Shoplifting", Stephanie Griffith and Bill Miller, The Washington Post, August 28, 1993
  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
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