Secretary Dennis M. McCarthy was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs on June 25, 2009. A Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, he serves as the principal staff assistant to the Secretary of Defense on all matters involving the 1.2 million members of the Reserve Components of the United States Armed Forces. He is responsible for overall supervision of Reserve Component affairs of the Department of Defense.
A graduate of the University of Dayton and the Capital University Law School, Lieutenant General McCarthy began his military service in combat in Vietnam, and remained on active duty until 1978. He served as an infantry officer in the “traditional reserve,” and was recalled to active duty for Desert Shield/Desert Storm and on several subsequent occasions. He also served on the Secretary of Defense’s Reserve Forces Policy Board. In 1997 he commanded the Third Marine Division and was the only Reserve General Officer to command an active duty Marine Division. From 1984 until his retirement in 2005, he commanded eight different Marine Corps and Joint organizations for a total of 161 months, including overall command of the Marine Corps Reserve as it undertook its largest mobilization in history.
From 1978 to 1999 he engaged in the private practice of law as a civil trial lawyer. He was a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Capital University Law School and a frequent lecturer at continuing educational programs. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Ohio and the United States Supreme Court.
Secretary McCarthy's military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with "V" device and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Prior to returning to government service, Secretary McCarthy served for four years as the Executive Director of the Reserve Officers Association. In this capacity he led key efforts to sustain and reform theactive and reserve components. He has written extensively on Reserve and National Guard issues, and worked closely with the Commission on National Guard and Reserves and other groups studying reserve component policy.
Secretary McCarthy and his wife Rosemary have two sons – Sean and Michael - who serve as Citizen Warriors in the Army National Guard and Marine Corps Reserve respectively.