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Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
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
Colin Kahl
since April 28, 2021
United States Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleMr 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
Succession6th in SecDef succession
DeputyPrincipal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level III
Website
policy.defense.gov
The under secretary is normally appointed from civilian life by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The incumbent under secretary is Colin Kahl, who was confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 2021, and sworn in the following day.
Overview
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
Officials reporting to the USD(P) include:
Principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy
Strategy, Plans, & Capabilities
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, nuclear deterrence and missile defense policy, security cooperation plans and policies, and force design and development planning.
International Security Affairs
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.
Homeland Defense & Global Security
The assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and the assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs (AD(HDGS)) are 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, defense support to civil authorities, and space-related matters. The AD(HDGS) 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
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.
Indo-Pacific Security Affairs
The assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs (ASD(APSA)) is responsible for international security strategy, defense policy, and oversight of security cooperation programs relating to the Asia-Pacific region.
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
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
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
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
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2017)
Budget totals
The annual budget for the USD(P) is contained in the OSD's budget, under the Defense-Wide Operation and Maintenance (O&M) account. According to official projections, the budget for USD(P) is expected to see substantial cutbacks in FY11 and FY12.
USD Policy Budget, FY 10–12 ($ in thousands) [2]
Line ItemFY10 ActualFY11 EstimateFY12 Request
Core OSD Operating Program[3]
Civilian Pay and Benefits, USD (P)65,27869,04472,577
Program Structure[4]
Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection18,25317,4759,032
Global Threat Management11,39710,7313,636
Homeland Defense Support Activities11,27613,53410,705
Policy Planning and Integration18,47317,8185,553
Regional Security Affairs9,7169,2574,691
Rewards Program5,0774,7797,117
Travel7,3385,7104,755
US Mission to NATO6,4156,6153,319
Warfighting Support Activities8,2537,4736,266
Overseas Contingency Operations[5]
OCO OUSD (Policy)44,24300
Totals
Total Budget205,719162,436127,651
Budget features
List of under secretaries of defense for policy
PortraitName[6]TenureSecDef(s) served underPresident(s) served under
Stanley Rogers Resor14 August 1978 – 1 April 1979Harold BrownJimmy Carter
Robert Komer24 October 1979 – 20 January 1981
Fred Iklé2 April 1981 – 19 February 1988Caspar Weinberger
Frank Carlucci
Ronald Reagan
Paul Wolfowitz15 May 1989 – 19 January 1993Dick CheneyGeorge H. W. Bush
Frank G. Wisner6 July 1993 – 9 June 1994Les Aspin
William Perry
Bill Clinton
Walter B. Slocombe15 September 1994 – 19 January 2001William Perry
William Cohen
Douglas J. Feith16 July 2001 – 8 August 2005Donald RumsfeldGeorge W. Bush
Eric S. Edelman9 February 2006 – 20 January 2009Donald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
Michèle Flournoy [7]9 February 2009 – 3 February 2012Robert Gates
Leon Panetta
Barack Obama
James N. Miller18 February 2012 – 8 January 2014Leon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Michael D. Lumpkin (acting)9 January 2014 – 24 June 2014Chuck Hagel
Christine Wormuth23 June 2014 – 10 June 2016Chuck Hagel
Ash Carter
Brian P. McKeon12 June 2016 – 20 January 2017Ash Carter
Theresa Whelan
(acting)
20 January 2017 – 5 June 2017[8]James MattisDonald Trump
Robert S. Karem
(acting)
5 June 2017 – 27 October 2017
David Trachtenberg (acting)27 October 2017 – 8 January 2018
John Rood9 January 2018 – 28 February 2020James Mattis
Mark Esper
James Anderson (acting)1 March 2020 – 10 November 2020[9]
Anthony Tata (performing the duties of)10 November 2020 – 20 January 2021[10]Christopher C. Miller (acting)
Amanda J. Dory (performing the duties of)20 January 2021 – April 28, 2021Lloyd AustinJoe Biden
Colin KahlApril 28 2021 - Present
Principal Deputy
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.[7] 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.
Principal Deputy Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy[6]
NameTenureUSD(P) served underSecDef(s) served underPresident(s) served under
I. Lewis Libby12 August 1992 – 10 January 1993Paul WolfowitzDick CheneyGeorge H.W. Bush
Walter B. Slocombe1 June 1993 – 14 September 1994Frank G. WisnerLes Aspin
William J. Perry
Bill Clinton
Jan M. Lodal3 October 1994 – 30 September 1998Walter B. SlocombeWilliam J. Perry
William S. Cohen
James M. Bodner1 October 1998 – 19 January 2001William S. Cohen
Stephen A. Cambone25 July 2001 – 1 July 2002Douglas FeithDonald H. RumsfeldGeorge W. Bush
Christopher "Ryan" Henry7 February 2003 – August 2008[11]Douglas Feith
Eric S. Edelman
Donald H. Rumsfeld
Robert M. Gates
James N. Miller2 April 2009 – 18 February 2012Michele FlournoyRobert M. GatesBarack Obama
Elissa Slotkin2 April 2009 – 18 February 2012Michael D. Lumpkin
Christine Wormuth
Chuck Hagel
Kathleen H. Hicks25 May 2012 – July 2013James N. MillerChuck Hagel
Brian P. McKeon28 July 2014 – 10 June 2016Christine E. WormuthAsh Carter
David B. Shear14 July 2015 – 19 January 2017Brian P. Mckeon
David Trachtenberg18 October 2017 – 22 July 2019John RoodJames Mattis
Mark Esper
Donald Trump
James AndersonMarch 2020 – July 2020vacantMark Esper
Anthony TataJuly 2020 – November 2020James AndersonMark Esper
Thomas M. WilliamsNovember 2020 – January 2021Anthony TataChristopher C. Miller
Jennifer C. Walsh (performing the duties of)20 January 2021 – presentAmanda J. Dory (performing the duties of)Lloyd AustinJoe Biden
Notes and references
  1. ^ https://policy.defense.gov/OUSDP-Offices/ASD-for-Homeland-Defense-Global-Security/Cyber-Policy/
  2. ^ "Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)" (PDF). Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), OSD. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  3. ^ Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), p.664
  4. ^ Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), p.687-8
  5. ^ Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), p.714
  6. ^ a b "Department of Defense Key Officials"(PDF). Historical Office, OSD. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Theresa Whelan > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Biography View". www.defense.gov. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  9. ^ Seligman, Lara; Lippman, Daniel (10 November 2020). "Pentagon's top policy official resigns after clashing with the White House". POLITICO. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  10. ^ Seligman, Lara; Lippman, Daniel (10 November 2020). "Official who once called Obama a 'terrorist leader' takes over Pentagon policy". Politico. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  11. ^​http://integrator.hanscom.af.mil/2008/October/10022008/10022008-14.htm
Last edited on 1 May 2021, at 03:23
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