Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Summary

The United States under secretary of defense for policy (USDP) is a high level civilian official in the United States Department of Defense. The under secretary of defense for policy is the principal staff assistant and adviser to both the secretary of defense and the deputy secretary of defense for all matters concerning the formation of national security and defense policy.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Seal of the Department of Defense
Flag of an Under Secretary of Defense
Incumbent
Amanda J. Dory
Acting
 since 27 April 2024
United States Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleMadam Under Secretary
Reports toSecretary of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Formation1978
First holderStanley Rogers Resor
Succession5th in SecDef succession
DeputyPrincipal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level III
Websitepolicy.defense.gov

The under secretary is normally appointed from civilian life by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The incumbent is acting under secretary Amanda J. Dory, who took office upon the resignation of acting under secretary Sasha Baker.

Overview

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The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy is the principal staff element of the secretary of defense in the exercise of policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluation responsibilities, the rank of Under Secretary, the USD(P) is a Level III position within the Executive Schedule.

Reporting officials

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Officials reporting to the USD(P) include:

  • Principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy

Strategy, Plans, & Capabilities

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The assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities (ASD(SPC)) is responsible for national security and defense strategy, leading the National Defense Strategy, emerging capabilities, security cooperation plans and policies, and force design and development planning.

  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for force development and emerging capabilities provides advice advancing the force development priorities of the Secretary of Defense for implementing the defense strategy, including by devising, facilitating issuance of, and overseeing DoD Component compliance with force planning and programming guidance to balance Joint Force capability, capacity, and readiness for DoD's primary defense missions and emerging security challenges.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for global partnerships provides advice on developing policy for security cooperation, humanitarian assistance, and international humanitarian affairs.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans and posture provides advice on developing and implementing policy, strategic guidance, and oversight of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) operational planning and overseas posture.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy provides advice on developing the Department’s national defense strategy and for ensuring that the Department’s program and budget decisions support implementation of the strategy.

International Security Affairs

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The assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs (ASD (ISA)) is responsible for international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs and foreign military sales programs relating to Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russia, Eurasia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.

  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs provides advice on international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs relating to Sub-Sahara Africa.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East provides advice on international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs relating to the Middle East and North Africa.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO provides advice on international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs relating to Europe and NATO.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia provides advice on international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs relating to conventional arms control, Russia, Ukraine, Western Balkans, and Eurasian nations.
  • The secretary of defense representative in the United States Mission to NATO.
  • The secretary of defense representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Homeland Defense & Hemispheric Affairs

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The assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs (ASD(HD&HA)) is responsible for the policy, strategy, and implementation guidance for national and global security issues across countering weapons of mass destruction, cyber operations, homeland defense activities, antiterrorism, continuity of government and mission assurance, and defense support to civil authorities. The ASD(HD&HA) is also responsible for the Protected Critical Infrastructure Program (PCII), the Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative, and the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program (DCIP).

Special Operations & Low Intensity Conflict

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The assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict (ASD(SO/LIC)) is responsible for the policy, resources, strategic capabilities and force transformation, and oversight of special operations and low-intensity conflict matters of the United States Department of Defense across counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, civil affairs, information and psychological operations, and counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats is responsible for the policy, resources, strategic capabilities and force transformation, and oversight of special capabilities for counternarcotics and global threats.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability and humanitarian affairs is responsible for the policy, resources, strategic capabilities and force transformation, and oversight of conflict stabilization activities, peace operations, and humanitarian relief efforts.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combatting terrorism is responsible for the policy, resources, strategic capabilities and force transformation, and oversight of counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense, and psychological operations as well as providing staff oversight of the United States Special Operations Command resources, budget, and program development issues.

Indo-Pacific Security Affairs

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The assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs (ASD(IPSA)) is responsible for international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs relating to the Asia-Pacific region.

Space Policy

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The assistant secretary of defense for space policy (ASD(SP)) is responsible for the overall supervision of DoD policy for space warfighting, encompassing the Department’s strategic capabilities for integrated deterrence: space, nuclear weapons, cyber, missile defense, electromagnetic warfare, and countering weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, this position served as the Principal Cyber Advisor to the Secretary of Defense.

  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and cwmd policy provides advice on developing strategies, informing policies, and conducting oversight of nuclear deterrence policy and arms control, as well as developing and overseeing the implementation of strategies and policies of all countering weapons of mass destruction policy issues.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy provides advice on establishing DoD cyberspace policy and strategy, providing guidance and oversight on DoD cyberspace activities, and managing DoD’s primary external relationships across the U.S. government, key domestic stakeholders, and our allies and partners.
  • The deputy assistant secretary of defense for space and missile defense provides advice on space and integrated air and missile defense posture and policies.
  • The deputy principal cyber advisor provides advice on military cyber forces and activities and the implementation of the cyber strategy and execution of the cyber posture review.

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

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The director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is responsible for the personnel recovery of United States Department of Defense personnel who are listed as prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA), from all past wars and conflicts around the world.

Defense Security Cooperation Agency

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The director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency is responsible for providing allies and partner nations with financial and technical assistance, transfer of defense matériel, training, and the promotion of military-to-military contacts.

Defense Technology Security Administration

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The director of the Defense Technology Security Administration is responsible for the formulation and enforcement of technology security policies related to international transfers of defense-related goods, services, and technologies.

Budget

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Budget features

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  • Defense Critical Infrastructure Program (DCIP): Oversees policy formulation and strategic planning for the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program, to include the Defense Industrial Base, which provides defense-related products and services that are essential to equip; mobilize; deploy and sustain military operations, enabling the Warfighter to minimize risk. Ensures the resiliency of networked infrastructure assets, whether owned or operated by the DoD or private industry, that are critical to executing military missions. Activities include the identification, assessment, monitoring, and risk management of cyber and physical infrastructure assets critical to the execution of the National Military Strategy. DCIP is run under the auspices of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs, where it is overseen by the DASD, Homeland Defense Strategy and Force Planning.
  • Global Threat Management: Provides policy, guidance and oversight on existential threats, supranational threats and non-state actor threats. OUSD(P) fulfills this global mission by crafting and implementing initiatives to expand cultural understanding throughout the world in governed and ungoverned areas to aid in preventing the expansion of terrorist cells. Utilizes table top exercises to enable Members of Congress, Administration Officials, and DoD personnel to form strategies in addressing catastrophic security events. Active research and involvement in the ever-changing cyber environment to protect security assets and prevent sophisticated threats in cyberspace from adversaries domestic and foreign. This funding appears to primarily support the programs of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs.
  • Homeland Defense Support Activities: Formulates policy and conducts DoD strategic planning for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities, including installation preparedness; CBRNE preparedness and consequence management; border security and National Security Special Events. Supports the U.S. Northern Command in homeland defense strategy, and enhances the U.S. Southern Command mission through engagement with the ministries of defense of Western Hemisphere nations. It supervises intradepartmental and inter-agency coordination of the above issues. Conducts oversight of DoD processes to exercise force readiness through the National Exercise Program. Manages defense continuity and conducts crisis management. This funding appears to primarily support the programs of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs.
  • Policy Planning and Integration: OUSD(P) coordinates activities to aid in formulating strategies for DoD programs at national and international levels. This involves establishing and monitoring strategic direction, planning and force development as laid out in reporting documents such as the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and Defense Planning and Programming Guidance (DPPG). OUSD(P) ensures decisions are not made in a vacuum by integrating policies and resources related to humanitarian efforts and their compliance with international laws. Initiates crisis decision-making in an interagency setting; creates forums to explore emerging national security issues; and examines the capabilities and limitations of national power through various instruments. Funding allows interagency integration and coordination to determine requirements for potential dual-use application of Defense assets.
  • Regional Security Affairs: Provides analysis of management of cultural situations in nation states and oversight to military joint ventures and cooperative DoD-Foreign government programs including educational, training, and developmental opportunities. Using a variety of resources, maintains regional expertise to support DoD leadership in forming and implementing strategies and contributes to coordinating holistic government engagement in programs and policies. Regional expertise provides the ability to: monitor and solve security cooperation issues, effectively execute coalition management, monitor international security operations, and further develop cooperative relations with foreign countries. This funding appears to primarily support the programs of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
  • Rewards Program: Provides funds to publicize the program and pay rewards for information to disrupt international terrorist activities.
  • Travel: This funding supports travel in support of the OUSD(P) mission.
  • US Mission to NATO: Funding provides regional stability interface with US allies, NATO resolution of regional conflicts, response to terrorism and unstable conditions in fragile and failed nation states that include NATO involvement, weapons of mass destruction bilateral measures, and support of overseas facilities.
  • Warfighting Support Activities: OUSD(P) provides resources to orchestrate the development of special technologies and capabilities. It sustains these efforts by conducting in-depth analyses of the assignment of additional military and civilian personnel to long-term, non-intelligence positions in high-priority countries. Prepares the military for confronting threats in culturally diverse countries, supports policies and strategies that develop skills unique to counterinsurgency and stabilization efforts; reinforces and builds international support over shared security concerns, homeland security, counterterrorism and other critical nation alliances, and promotes humanitarian activities through military resources in a non-combative manner. Provides funds to pay rewards for information to disrupt international terrorist activities and enhance US security capabilities. This funding appears to primarily support the programs of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities

List of under secretaries of defense for policy

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No. Portrait Under Secretary[1] Took office Left office Time in office Secretary of Defense President Ref(s)
1
 
Stanley Rogers Resor14 August 19781 April 1979230 daysHarold BrownJimmy Carter-
2
 
Robert Komer24 October 197920 January 19811 year, 88 daysHarold BrownJimmy Carter-
3
 
Fred Iklé2 April 198119 February 19886 years, 323 daysCaspar Weinberger
Frank Carlucci
Ronald Reagan-
4
 
Paul Wolfowitz15 May 198919 January 19933 years, 249 daysDick CheneyGeorge H. W. Bush-
5
 
Frank G. Wisner6 July 19939 June 1994338 daysLes Aspin
William Perry
Bill Clinton-
6
 
Walter B. Slocombe15 September 199419 January 20016 years, 126 daysWilliam Perry
William Cohen
Bill Clinton-
-
 
Peter F. Verga
Acting
20 January 200116 July 2001177 daysDonald RumsfeldGeorge W. Bush-
7
 
Douglas J. Feith16 July 20018 August 20054 years, 23 daysDonald RumsfeldGeorge W. Bush-
8
 
Eric S. Edelman9 February 200620 January 20092 years, 346 daysDonald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
George W. Bush-
9
 
Michèle Flournoy9 February 20093 February 20122 years, 359 daysRobert Gates
Leon Panetta
Barack Obama[2]
9
 
James N. Miller18 February 20128 January 20141 year, 324 daysLeon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Barack Obama-
-
 
Michael D. Lumpkin
Acting
9 January 201423 June 2014165 daysChuck HagelBarack Obama-
10
 
Christine Wormuth23 June 201410 June 20161 year, 353 daysChuck Hagel
Ash Carter
Barack Obama-
-
 
Brian P. McKeon
Acting
10 June 201620 January 2017224 daysAsh CarterBarack Obama-
-
 
Theresa Whelan
Acting
20 January 20177 June 2017138 daysJames MattisDonald Trump[3]
-
 
Robert Karem
Acting
7 June 201727 October 2017142 daysJames MattisDonald Trump-
-
 
David Trachtenberg
Acting
27 October 20178 January 201873 daysJames MattisDonald Trump-
11
 
John Rood9 January 201828 February 20202 years, 50 daysJames Mattis
Mark Esper
Donald Trump-
-
 
James Anderson
Acting
1 March 202010 November 2020254 daysMark EsperDonald Trump[4]
-
 
Anthony Tata
Acting
10 November 202020 January 202171 daysChristopher C. Miller (acting)Donald Trump[5]
-
 
Amanda J. Dory
Acting
20 January 202128 April 202198 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
12
 
Colin Kahl28 April 202117 July 20232 years, 80 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
-
 
Sasha Baker
Acting
18 July 202326 April 2024283 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
-
 
Amanda J. Dory
Acting
27 April 2024Incumbent47 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-

Principal Deputy

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The Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy is the chief staff assistant to the USD(P). Originally established as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1992–93 (P.L. 102–190), the post was re-designated Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), or PDUSD(P) in December 1999 by DoD Directive 5111.3.[2] The PDUSD(P) provides advice and assistance to the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and USD(P) on national security policy, military strategy, and defense policy.

No. Portrait Deputy Under Secretary[1] Took office Left office Time in office Secretary of Defense President Ref(s)
1
 
I. Lewis Libb12 August 199210 January 1993151 daysPaul Wolfowitz
Dick Cheney
George H. W. Bush-
2
 
Walter B. Slocombe1 June 199314 September 19941 year, 105 daysLes Aspin
William J. Perry
Bill Clinton-
3
 
Jan M. Lodal3 October 199430 September 19983 years, 362 daysWilliam J. Perry
William S. Cohen
Bill Clinton-
4
 
James M. Bodner1 October 199819 January 20012 years, 110 daysWilliam S. CohenBill Clinton-
5
 
Stephen A. Cambone25 July 20011 July 2002341 daysDonald H. RumsfeldGeorge W. Bush-
5
 
Christopher Ryan Henry7 February 2003August 2008~5 years, 190 daysDonald H. Rumsfeld
Robert M. Gates
George W. Bush-
-
 
Peter F. Verga
Acting
August 20081 April 2009~229 daysRobert M. GatesGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
-
6
 
James N. Miller2 April 200924 May 20123 years, 52 daysRobert M. GatesBarack Obama-
7
 
Kathleen Hicks24 May 20122 July 20131 year, 39 daysChuck HagelBarack Obama-
8
 
Brian P. McKeon28 July 201410 June 20161 year, 318 daysAsh CarterBarack Obama-
9
 
David Trachtenberg27 October 201719 July 20191 year, 265 daysJames MattisDonald Trump-
-
 
James Anderson
Acting
23 July 201924 April 2020276 daysMark EsperDonald Trump-
-
 
Daniel R. Green
Acting
24 April 20208 June 202045 daysMark EsperDonald Trump-
10
 
James Anderson8 June 202010 November 2020155 daysMark EsperDonald Trump-
-
 
Thomas M. Williams
Acting
10 November 202020 January 202171 daysChristopher C. Miller (acting)Donald Trump-
-
 
Jennifer C. Walsh
Acting
20 January 202128 April 202198 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
-
 
Amanda J. Dory
Acting
29 April 202123 August 2021116 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
-
 
Mara Karlin
Acting
23 August 202114 February 2022175 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
11
 
Sasha Baker14 February 202226 April 20242 years, 72 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
-
 
Melissa Dalton
Acting
26 April 202429 May 202433 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-
-
 
Cara L. Abercrombie
Acting
29 May 2024Incumbent15 daysLloyd AustinJoe Biden-

Notes and references

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  1. ^ a b "Department of Defense Key Officials" (PDF). Historical Office, OSD. 2024. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b Moore, Sara (16 January 2009). "Defense Policy Nominee Pledges Work on Iraq, Afghanistan, National Security". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Theresa Whelan > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Biography View". www.defense.gov. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  4. ^ Seligman, Lara; Lippman, Daniel (10 November 2020). "Pentagon's top policy official resigns after clashing with the White House". POLITICO. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  5. ^ Seligman, Lara; Lippman, Daniel (10 November 2020). "Official who once called Obama a 'terrorist leader' takes over Pentagon policy". Politico. Retrieved 10 November 2020.