Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon presided at a private ceremony on Tuesday to swear in Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Bernard D. Rostker, following his Senate confirmation on May 18.
In his capacity as the under secretary of Defense, Rostker serves as the Department's senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, and pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, and 680,000 DoD civilians. He oversees the Defense Health Program, Defense commissaries and exchanges, a Defense Education Activity, and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.
Rostker has served as the special assistant to the deputy secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses since November 1996 and will continue in that position. As special assistant, he is responsible for coordinating all activities related to DoD inquiries into the nature and cause of Gulf War illnesses.
In his most recent position, Rostker served as the under secretary of the Army, assuming those duties in October 1998. He has also served as the assistant secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) and director of Selective Service.
Rostker began his civilian career in 1970 with Rand Corp. as a research economist and the program director of the Manpower Personnel and Training Program, a personnel study sponsored by the Air Force. He left Rand in 1977 and served in a variety of government positions until 1984. He returned to Rand to help establish a new Army studies and analysis center, the Arroyo Center, where he served as program director of the Force Development and Employment Program and associate director of the Arroyo Center. In January 1990, Rostker assumed the position of director of the Defense Manpower Research Center in Rand's National Defense Research Institute.
Rostker earned his bachelor's degree in economics and education from New York University and his master's degree and doctorate in economics from Syracuse University.