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Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr.

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness


Mr. Gilbert Cisneros was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on August 24, 2021.  As the Under Secretary, Mr. Cisneros serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary of Defense for force readiness; force management; health affairs; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; education and training; and military and civilian personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and quality of life matters.  On April 4, 2022, the Secretary of Defense appointed Mr. Cisneros as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) to further advance the Department’s goals of ensuring the workforce is representative and inclusive.

Born and raised, in Southern California, Gilbert enlisted in the United States Navy in 1989 after graduating from high school.  After completing the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training Program, he received a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship and commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy in 1994.  In 2010, Gilbert and his wife Jacki established The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, focused on helping students find a path to higher education with scholarships and college access programs.  In 2015, he founded The Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute at his alma mater, The George Washington University, which provides scholarships for Latino students and is becoming a leading institute for policy issues that affect the Latino community.

In 2018, the voters of California’s 39th Congressional District elected Gilbert to the U.S. House of Representatives.  A strong advocate for Service members and Veterans, Gilbert served on both the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.  He championed language in the National Defense Authorization Act to foster greater diversity in our military officer corps, while also supporting military families on issues of housing, child abuse, and exceptional family members.  As the co-founder of the Military Transition Assistance Pathway (MTAP) Caucus he supported and advocated on behalf of military service members returning to civilian life. He particularly focused on the issues of mental health and suicide amongst both our veterans and service members.  

Gilbert has received numerous awards for his military service, philanthropic work, and as a member of Congress.  The United States Navy Memorial recognized him for his years of service to our country, as did the Navy Supply Corps Foundation.  He is also a member of The George Washington University’s Monumental Alumni.  

Gilbert received a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University, an M.B.A. from Regis University, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.