Joseph W. Westphal

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Joseph W. Westphal
Official Photo of Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal.jpg
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Assumed office
March 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by James B. Smith
Personal details
Born (1948-01-26) January 26, 1948 (age 66)
Profession United States Army
Army Under Secretary Joseph W. Westphal welcomes Soldiers
Army Under Secretary Joseph W. Westphal visits wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Army Under Secretary Joseph W. Westphal thanks troops in Afghanistan

Joseph W. Westphal (born January 26, 1948)[1] has served United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia since March, 2014, and was the 30th United States Under Secretary of the Army and the Army’s first Chief management Officer (CMO). He has had a distinguished career of service in both academia and government.

Dr. Westphal served as Chancellor of the University of Maine System and Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. He also served as the Provost, Senior Vice President for Research and Professor of Environmental Studies at The New School in New York City. Prior to his current appointment, Under Secretary Westphal served as a member of President Obama’s Transition Team for Defense matters.[2]

Dr. Westphal spent his first 12 years in academia as a professor in the Department of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, later becoming head of the Department. During his many years of public service, Dr. Westphal has lectured at numerous universities around the world and taught public policy as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University while working in Washington DC.[2]

In addition to a distinguished academic career, Dr. Westphal has led a prestigious and varied career in public service as well. In 2001, he served as the Acting Secretary of the Army and earlier, he served as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works from 1998 to 2001.[2]

Dr. Westphal has had extensive experience working in the United States Congress and other departments within the executive branch. He served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Water Resources at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration. He also worked in the United States Congress in various capacities, from directing a bi-partisan congressional caucus in the House and Senate, as a budget analyst and assistant to the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget. Earlier in his public service career, Dr. Westphal worked as a policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Water Resources in the Department of the Interior.[2]

Dr. Westphal received his Bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University, his Master’s degree from the Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri.[2]

Dr. Westphal was born in Santiago, Chile, moved to the United States at an early age with his family, and speaks Spanish fluently. He is married and has four adult children and six grandchildren.


Government offices
Preceded by
Martin Lancaster
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
June 1998 – March 2001
Succeeded by
Michael Parker
Preceded by
Louis Caldera
Gregory R. Dahlberg (acting)
United States Secretary of the Army (acting)
March 5, 2001 – May 31, 2001
Succeeded by
Thomas E. White
Preceded by
Nelson M. Ford
United States Under Secretary of the Army
September 21, 2009 – 2014
Succeeded by
Brad Carson (nominee)
Preceded by
James B. Smith
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by