General Counsel of the Department of Defense

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General Counsel of the Department of Defense
Personal flag of the office holder of the Inspector General for the US Department of Defense.svg
Flag of the General Counsel[1]
Incumbent
Robert S. Taylor

since 2013 (Acting)
Department of Defense
OSD
Style The Honorable
Reports to Secretary of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Seat The Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Appointer The President
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 10 U.S.C. § 140
Precursor Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legal and Legislative Affairs
Formation 1953
First holder H. Struve Hensel
Deputy Principal Deputy General Counsel
Salary Executive Schedule, level IV[2]
Website www.dod.gov/dodgc/

The General Counsel of the Department of Defense is the chief legal officer of the Department of Defense (DoD), advising both the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on all legal matters and services, and providing legal advice to Office of the Secretary of Defense organizations and, as appropriate, other DOD components.

The General Counsel develops the department's Legislative Program and coordinates DoD positions on legislation and Executive Orders; coordinates the appeals process for denied FOIA requests; oversees the performance and standards of DoD attorneys; establishes policy on general legal issues and determines the DoD position on specific legal problems; maintains repository for all international agreements coordinated, negotiated, or concluded by DoD personnel; and is "dual-hatted" as Director of the Defense Legal Services Agency.

This position was established by Reorganization Plan No. 6 of 1953 and by Defense Directive 5145.1, signed 24 August 1953. The position derived its responsibilities from one of the original three Special Assistants to the Secretary (established in 1947) and the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legal and Legislative Affairs) (established in 1949).[3]

Office Holders[edit]

General Counsels of the Department of Defense[3]
Name Tenure SecDef(s) Served Under President(s) Served Under
H. Struve Hensel August 17, 1953 – March 4, 1954 Charles E. Wilson Dwight Eisenhower
Wilber M. Brucker April 23, 1954 – July 20, 1955 Charles E. Wilson Dwight Eisenhower
Mansfield D. Sprague October 6, 1955 – February 27, 1957 Charles E. Wilson Dwight Eisenhower
Robert Dechert February 28, 1957 – July 15, 1959 Charles E. Wilson
Neil H. McElroy
Dwight Eisenhower
J. Vincent Burke, Jr. September 14, 1959 – January 20, 1961 Neil H. McElroy
Thomas S. Gates
Dwight Eisenhower
Cyrus R. Vance January 29, 1961 – June 30, 1962 Robert S. McNamara John F. Kennedy
John T. McNaughton July 5, 1962 – June 25, 1964 Robert S. McNamara John F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) July 1, 1964 – September 19, 1966 Robert S. McNamara Lyndon Johnson
Paul C. Warnke October 3, 1966 – July 31, 1967 Robert S. McNamara Lyndon Johnson
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) August 1, 1967 – August 20, 1970 Robert S. McNamara
Clark M. Clifford
Melvin R. Laird
Lyndon Johnson
Richard Nixon
J. Fred Buzhardt, Jr. August 20, 1970 – January 4, 1974 Melvin R. Laird
Elliot L. Richardson
James R. Schlesinger
Richard Nixon
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) May 22, 1973 (sic) – March 13, 1974 James R. Schlesinger Richard Nixon
Martin R. Hoffmann March 14, 1974 – August 5, 1975 James R. Schlesinger Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) August 6, 1975 – January 1, 1976 James R. Schlesinger
Donald H. Rumsfeld
Gerald Ford
Richard A. Wiley January 2, 1976 – January 15, 1977 Donald H. Rumsfeld Gerald Ford
Deanne C. Siemer April 28, 1977 – October 15, 1979 Harold Brown Jimmy Carter
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) October 15, 1979 – February 1, 1980 Harold Brown Jimmy Carter
Togo D. West, Jr. February 1, 1980 – January 20, 1981 Harold Brown Jimmy Carter
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) January 20, 1981 – April 1, 1981 Caspar W. Weinberger Ronald Reagan
William H. Taft IV April 2, 1981 – May 2, 1984 Caspar W. Weinberger Ronald Reagan
Chapman B. Cox May 3, 1984 – December 16, 1985 Caspar W. Weinberger Ronald Reagan
H. Lawrence Garrett III February 5, 1986 – August 6, 1987 Caspar W. Weinberger Ronald Reagan
Leonard Niederlehner (Acting) August 7, 1987 – October 25, 1987 Caspar W. Weinberger Ronald Reagan
Kathleen A. Buck October 26, 1985 – December 30, 1989 Caspar W. Weinberger
Frank C. Carlucci III
William H. Taft IV
Richard B. Cheney
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Terrence O'Donnell October 30, 1989 – March 6, 1992 Richard B. Cheney George H. W. Bush
C. Paul Beach, Jr. (Acting) March 7, 1992 – August 11, 1992 Richard B. Cheney George H. W. Bush
David S. Addington August 12, 1992 – January 20, 1993 Richard B. Cheney George H. W. Bush
John H. McNeil (Acting) January 20, 1993 – May 5, 1993 Leslie Aspin, Jr. Bill Clinton
Jamie S. Gorelick May 5, 1993 – March 17, 1994 Leslie Aspin, Jr.
William J. Perry
Bill Clinton
Stephen W. Preston (Acting) March 28, 1994 – September 28, 1994 William J. Perry Bill Clinton
Judith A. Miller September 29, 1994 – November 7, 1999 William J. Perry
William S. Cohen
Bill Clinton
Douglas A. Dworkin November 7, 1999 – June 14, 2000 (Acting)
June 14, 2000 – January 19, 2001
William S. Cohen Bill Clinton
William J. Haynes II May 24, 2001 – February 26, 2008[4] Donald H. Rumsfeld
Robert M. Gates
George W. Bush
Jeh Charles Johnson February 10, 2009 – December 2012 Robert M. Gates
Leon Panetta
Barack Obama
Robert S. Taylor (Acting)[5] January 2013 – October 2013 Leon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Barack Obama
Stephen W. Preston October 2013 – present Chuck Hagel Barack Obama

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/UniformedServices/Flags/Pos_Colors_DoD.aspx. Accessed on 2013-07-04.
  2. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 5315
  3. ^ a b "Department of Defense Key Officials". Historical Office, OSD. 2004. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  4. ^ "Pentagon lawyer to leave administration: The Swamp". Swamppolitics.com. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  5. ^ "General Counsel Bio". Dod.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 

External links[edit]