United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

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Robert L. Gordon III

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy)
9-11 Memorial

Robert  L.  Gordon III

Mr. Robert L. Gordon III, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, effective July 19, 2010. 

Mr. Gordon is responsible for policy, advocacy, and oversight of all community support to service members and families; quality of life issues; state liaison initiatives; family programs and the 24/7, 1-800 family assistance services; child development and youth programs; military spouse career advancement; the off-duty, voluntary education program for military personnel; tuition assistance; morale, welfare, and recreation; defense resale for commissaries and exchanges; and family violence prevention and intervention.   Included within the purview of his office is advocacy for quality education for all military students and defense-wide policy responsibility for the Department of Defense Education Activity that serves approximately 84,000 students in 192 schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.   His oversight includes the Armed Forces Retirement Home, casualty and mortuary affairs, and military funeral honors.

Prior to his appointment, Gordon served as the Chief People and Program Officer and Senior Vice President for Civic Leadership at City Year, where he was responsible for the organization’s people programs including:  recruitment, human resources, program and service, research and evaluation, the development of City Year’s 1,600 member corps of young leaders, the appointment of more than 12,000 alumni as ‘leaders for life,’ and the engagement of children and teens in service and civic leadership. 

A 1979 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Gordon was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery.  His 26-year Army career includes command and staff positions, duty as the Aide-de-Camp to then Brigadier General Colin Powell, service as an instructor and assistant professor of American Politics, and the Director of American Politics at West Point in the Department of Social Sciences. As a 1992 –1993 White House Fellow, he served as the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Veterans Affairs and the Director of Special Operations, Office of National Service, The White House, to help found the AmeriCorps program.  Gordon then served as the executive director and co-founder of the Service America program at West Point, and he has advised foreign governments on national service systems.  Most recently, Gordon was the chair of ServiceNation: Mission Serve, an initiative that created partnerships between the military and civilian service sectors to fill critical gaps of need in the military community.

Gordon’s military education includes the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.   He earned his BS from the United States Military Academy and an MA in public affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, and two awards of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.