United States Deputy Secretary of State

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Deputy Secretary of State of the United States of America
Flag of the United States Deputy Secretary of State.svg
Flag of the Deputy Secretary of State
Department of state.svg
Seal of the Department of State
AmbassadorBurns.jpg
Incumbent
William Joseph Burns

since July 28, 2011
U.S. Department of State
Reports to The United States Secretary of State
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
Term length No fixed term
Formation July 13, 1972
First holder John N. Irwin, II
Salary Executive Schedule, level 2
Website www.state.gov

The Deputy Secretary of State of the United States is the chief assistant to the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State resigns or dies, the Deputy Secretary of State becomes Acting Secretary of State until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a replacement. The position was created in 1972. Prior to July 13, 1972, the Under Secretary of State had been the second ranking officer of the Department of State. The current Deputy Secretary of State is William Joseph Burns, formerly the Under Secretary for Political Affairs and the most senior career foreign service officer in the State Department.

The State Department is the only federal Cabinet-level agency with two co-equal Deputy Secretaries. (See Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.) This Deputy Secretary of State office is the "first assistant" for the purposes of the Vacancies Reform Act, but both Deputy Secretaries have full delegated authority to act for the Secretary, if not otherwise prohibited by law. The current Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources is Heather Higginbottom.


List of Deputy Secretaries of State[edit]

# Name Term Began Term Ended President(s) served under
1 John N. Irwin II July 13, 1972 February 1, 1973 Richard Nixon
2 Kenneth Rush February 2, 1973 May 29, 1974
3 Robert S. Ingersoll July 10, 1974 March 31, 1976
Gerald Ford
4 Charles W. Robinson April 9, 1976 January 20, 1977
5 Warren Christopher February 26, 1977 January 16, 1981 Jimmy Carter
6 William P. Clark February 25, 1981 February 9, 1982 Ronald Reagan
7 Walter John Stoessel, Jr. February 11, 1982 September 22, 1982
8 Kenneth W. Dam September 23, 1982 June 15, 1985
9 John C. Whitehead July 9, 1985 January 20, 1989
10 Lawrence Eagleburger January 20, 1989 August 19, 1992 George H. W. Bush
11 Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. January 27, 1993 November 8, 1993 Bill Clinton
12 Strobe Talbott February 22, 1994 January 19, 2001
13 Richard Armitage March 26, 2001 February 22, 2005 George W. Bush
14 Robert Zoellick February 22, 2005 July 7, 2006
15 John Negroponte February 13, 2007 January 19, 2009
16 James Steinberg January 28, 2009 July 28, 2011 Barack Obama
17 William Joseph Burns July 28, 2011 Incumbent