United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

Secretaries of Defense

Current Secretary of Defense

Ash Carter

25

Feb 17, 2015 - Present

Ash Carter was sworn in as the 25th Secretary of Defense on Feb. 17, 2015. Carter has spent more than three decades leveraging his knowledge of science and technology, global strategy and policy as well as his deep dedication to the men and women of the Department of Defense to make our nation and the world a safer place. He has done so in direct and indirect service of 11 secretaries of defense in both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

Prior Secretaries of Defense

Chuck Hagel

24

Feb 27, 2013 - Feb 17, 2015

Administration:
Barack Obama

Leon E. Panetta

23

July 1, 2011 - Feb 27, 2013

Administration:
Barack Obama

Robert M. Gates

22

Dec 18, 2006 - July 1, 2011

Administration:
George W. Bush,
Barack Obama

Donald H. Rumsfeld

21

Jan 20, 2001 - Dec 18, 2006

Administration:
George W. Bush

William S. Cohen

20

Jan 24, 1997 - Jan 20, 2001

Administration:
Bill Clinton

William J. Perry

19

Feb 3, 1994 - Jan 23, 1997

Administration:
Bill Clinton

Les Aspin

18

Jan 21, 1993 - Feb 3, 1994

Administration:
Bill Clinton

Richard B. Cheney

17

Mar 21, 1989 - Jan 20, 1993

Administration:
George H. W. Bush

Frank C. Carlucci

16

Nov 23, 1987 - Jan 20, 1989

Administration:
Ronald Reagan

Caspar W. Weinberger

15

Jan 21, 1981 - Nov 23, 1987

Administration:
Ronald Reagan

Harold Brown

14

Jan 21, 1977 - Jan 20, 1981

Administration:
Jimmy Carter

Donald H. Rumsfeld

13

Nov 20, 1975 - Jan 20, 1977

Administration:
Gerald R. Ford

James R. Schlesinger

12

Jul 2, 1973 - Nov 19, 1975

Administration:
Richard Nixon,
Gerald R. Ford

Elliot L. Richardson

11

Jan 30, 1973 - May 24, 1973

Administration:
Richard Nixon

Melvin R. Laird

10

Jan 22, 1969 - Jan 29, 1973

Administration:
Richard Nixon

Clark M. Clifford

9

Mar 1, 1968 - Jan 20, 1969

Administration:
Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert S. McNamara

8

Jan 21, 1961 - Feb 29, 1968

Administration:
John F. Kennedy,
Lyndon B. Johnson

Thomas S. Gates

7

Dec 2, 1959 - Jan 20, 1961

Administration:
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Neil H. McElroy

6

Oct 9, 1957 - Dec 1, 1959

Administration:
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Charles E. Wilson

5

Jan 28, 1953 - Oct 8, 1957

Administration:
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Robert A. Lovett

4

Sep 17, 1951 - Jan 20, 1953

Administration:
Harry S. Truman

George C. Marshall

3

Sep 21, 1950 - Sep 12, 1951

Administration:
Harry S. Truman

Louis A. Johnson

2

Mar 28, 1949 - Sep 19, 1950

Administration:
Harry S. Truman

James V. Forrestal

1

Sep 17, 1947 - Mar 28, 1949

Administration:
Harry S. Truman

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