Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced today that he has recommended to the President that Army Undersecretary Bernard D. Rostker be nominated to fill the position of Defense Department undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness upon the departure of incumbent Undersecretary Rudy de Leon who has been recommended to become deputy secretary of Defense.
Rostker became the 25th under secretary of the Army on Oct. 26, 1998, following his nomination by President Clinton and confirmation by the Senate. As the under secretary, Rostker is the Army's number two civilian leader. He serves as the deputy and senior advisor to the secretary of the Army and is acting secretary in the absence of the secretary.
As under secretary, Rostker assists the secretary in fulfilling statutory responsibilities for recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training and mobilizing the Army and managing its $64 billion annual budget and more than 1.3 million active duty, National Guard, Army Reserve and civilian personnel.
For the four years prior to becoming under secretary, Rostker was assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. On Nov. 12, 1996, he was also named special assistant to the deputy secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses. He continues in this assignment and is responsible for coordinating all activities related to Department of Defense inquiries into the nature and causes of Gulf War illnesses.
Rostker received a bachelor's degree of science from New York University in 1964 where he was a distinguished military graduate of the ROTC program and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. He also holds a master's and doctorate in economics from Syracuse University. He began his professional career in 1968 as an economist in the Manpower Requirements Directorate of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis. He left government service in 1970 and moved to RAND where he was a research economist and the program director of the Manpower Personnel and Training Program, a personnel studies program sponsored by the Air Force.
In 1977, Rostker returned to government service as principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. In 1979, he became director of Selective Service, where he formulated the Selective Service Revitalization Plan. Under his leadership, the first mass selective service registration since World War II was executed during which almost four million young men registered.
Rostker moved to the Center for Naval Analyses in 1981 as the director for the Navy's Management Program, where he guided the development of a research and studies program examining major management issues within the Navy. In 1983 he joined Systems Research and Applications Corp. (SRA), a computer software development company, as their director of the Systems Management Division. In December 1984, Rostker returned to RAND to help establish the Arroyo Center, a new Army studies and analysis activity, where he served as program director of the Force Development and Employment Program, and associate director. In January 1990, Rostker left the Arroyo Center and assumed the position of director of the Defense Manpower Research Center in RAND's National Defense Research Institute. He held that position until he returned to government services in October 1994.