Acting Secretary of Defense Richard V. Spencer

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer exchanges greetings with personnel at Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tenn., Aug. 23, 2017.

The Role

The defense secretary oversees the Defense Department and acts as the principal defense policy maker and advisor.

The Person

Richard V. Spencer of Wyoming became the acting secretary of defense on July 15, 2019. He previously served as the secretary of the Navy. A Connecticut native, Spencer graduated from Rollins College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. Upon graduation, he joined the Marine Corps and served as an H-46 pilot until 1981 before departing active duty to enter the private finance sector. He has served on the Defense Business Board and the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel.