Shawn G. Skelly

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness

Shawn G. Skelly was confirmed by the Senate to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness on July 22, 2021. She is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) on all matters related to the readiness of the Total Force. In that capacity, she develops policies and plans, provides advice, and makes recommendations for Total Force Readiness programs, reporting, and assessments of readiness to execute the National Defense Strategy.

Ms. Skelly advises the Secretary of Defense on the strategic and operational readiness of the Armed Forces, and develops and oversees policies and programs to ensure their readiness for peacetime contingencies, crises, and warfighting. She supervises the comprehensive, enterprise-wide readiness system that measures the capability of the armed forces to carry out the National Defense Strategy, and develops tools to provide strategic and predictive readiness analysis. She also maintains policy and oversight of Military Service and joint training and education, including training systems and technologies, joint exercises, professional military education, and learning technologies. Additionally, Ms. Skelly serves as the DoD Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, responsible for integrated assessment and reporting of safety and occupational health issues, trend analysis, and mishap and accident reduction and mitigation activities.

Ms. Skelly served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a Naval Flight Officer, retiring with the rank of Commander. After a period in industry with ITT Exelis, she joined the Obama Administration in 2013, first serving as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the U.S. Department of Defense, and ultimately as the Director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2017, President Obama appointed her to serve as a Commissioner on the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, which delivered its final report to Congress, Inspired to Serve, in March of 2020. Ms. Skelly is also a Co-Founder and former Vice President of Out in National Security, formerly served on the Atlantic Council’s LGBTI Advisory Council, and was a member of the Service Year Alliance Leadership Council.

Ms. Skelly received a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.