Frank Kendall III

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Frank Kendall III
Frank Kendall DOD photo.JPG
Born (1949-01-26) January 26, 1949 (age 68)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Citizenship United States
Alma mater United States Military Academy (B.S.)
California Institute of Technology (M.S.)
Long Island University (M.B.A.)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Occupation Army engineer, Lawyer
Employer Renaissance Strategic Advisors
Known for Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

Frank Kendall III (born January 26, 1949) is an American lawyer serving under President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.[1][2][3][4]

Kendall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.[4] Commissioned in the US Army, he served in Germany during the 1970s before transferring to the Army Reserve, during which time he also lectured at the West Point. He resigned commission as a Lieutenant Colonel. He also holds a Master's degree in aeronautical engineering from California Institute of Technology, a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from C.W Post Center of Long Island University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.[4] At the USMA, Kendall was a classmate of Jack Reed, who is currently serving as senior United States Senator from Rhode Island.

In January 2015, a report by the Defense Business Board and consultants from McKinsey & Company discovered DoD was spending $134 billion, 23% of its total budget, on back-office work, and that the back-office bureaucracy staff of over one million people was nearly as great as the number of active duty troops.[5] According to the report, DoD's purchasing bureaucracy staff of 207,000 would be among the top 30 private sector employers in the United States.[5] On January 22, 2015, the Board then voted to recommend adoption of McKinsey's five-year plan to cut $125 billion in waste.[5]

Under Secretary Kendall responded to the management consulting by asking "Are you trying to tell me we don't know how to do our job?" and that the report's conclusions were "essentially a ballpark, made-up number".[5] Kendall then argued that he could not achieve any efficiencies and, instead, that he needed to hire 1,000 more staff.[5] After Secretary Chuck Hagel was replaced by Ash Carter the next month, Kendall warned Deputy Secretary Robert O. Work that the McKinsey report could "be used as a weapon" against the defense budget.[5] Secretary Carter then replaced the Board chairman, classified the McKinsey results as secret, and removed the report from public websites.[5]

After Navy Secretary Ray Mabus gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute highlighting the McKinsey report, Under Secretary Kendall wrote to him asking "please refrain from taking any more public pot shots" and "I do not want this spilling over into further public discourse."[5]

In his civilian life Kendall has performed pro bono human rights work.[4][6] According to his official DoD biography he served on the board of directors of Amnesty International, of Human Rights First and of the Tahirih Justice Center. He has traveled to the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, as a human rights observer.


  1. ^ S. HRG. 112–745 (112th Congress, 2012).
  2. ^ "Senator Lifts Holds on Most Nominees". New York Times. 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". The Whitehouse. 2009-07-30. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Frank Kendall: Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics". United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2013-04-26. Mr. Kendall is an attorney and has been active in the field of human rights, working primarily on a pro bono basis. He has worked with Amnesty International USA, where he served as a member of the Board of Directors, with Human Rights First, for whom he was an observer at Guantanamo, and with the Tahirih Justice Center, where he was Chair of the Board of Directors. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Craig Whitlock; Bob Woodward (5 December 2016). "Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Frank Kendall (2008-04-16). "Report from Guantanamo: military commissions a failure in progress". The Jurist. Archived from the original on 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2011-10-16. Last week I traveled to Guantánamo Navy Base as a monitor for Human Rights First. I observed pretrial hearings in the cases of Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, and Omar Ahmed Khadr. The ostensible goal of the military commissions is to provide fair trials for a subset of the Guantánamo prisoners being held as "unlawful enemy combatants." I must report that the commissions are not on the path to success. Success is probably not even possible under the Military Commissions Act (MCA) or the rules that implement it, but the hearings I attended convinced me that the implementation itself is also deeply flawed. 

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Political offices
Preceded by
Ash Carter
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Succeeded by