Joseph Benkert

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Joseph Benkert (right) attends a breakfast meeting, on February 1, 2007, with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (center) and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Peter Verga.

Joseph A. Benkert is an American citizen who served as an officer in the United States Navy, and as an appointed official in the George W. Bush Administration. He joined the Cohen Group in 2009 after serving as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Affairs. [1] Benkert currently serves on the board of International Relief and Development Inc. [2]

Benkert is notable for testifying before the United States Congress.

Personal life[edit]

Joseph Benkert is married to Gail, and together have two children Stephen and Suzanne.

Naval career[edit]

Captain Joseph A. Benkert was named in the lawsuit David Alan Carmichael v. United States.[3] Benkert was Carmichael's commanding officer, and, according to Carmichael's complaint, shared responsibility for his dismissal without proper cause.

Forum participant evaluating Iraqi reconstruction[edit]

In March 2007 Benkert participated in a forum evaluating the problems that plagued American efforts to help reconstruct Iraq.[4]

Congressional testimony on the use of gas[edit]

On September 27, 2006, while serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, Benkert testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.[5] Executive Order 11850, signed in 1975, proscribed the USA from using chemical weapons. According to Benkert, it was the position of the Bush Presidency that riot control agents, like tear gas, should not be considered chemical weapons.

Congressional testimony on Guantanamo captives[edit]

In early May 2007 Benkert and two other officials testified before Congress that 30 released Guantanamo captives had returned to the battlefield.[6]

Press releases[edit]

On May 9, 2007 Benkert was quoted on the future of the Guantanamo detainees:[6]

"Neither the president nor the secretary has said we're going to close it tomorrow,

There are no readily available facilities to take these guys,"

On April 11, 2007 Benkert was quoted commenting on a facility to destroy American and former Soviet era nerve gas.[7]


  1. ^ "Cohen Group: Joseph Benkert" (PDF). Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ "IRD Board of Directors". Archived from the original (PDF) on January 4, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ "David Alan Carmichael v. United States" (PDF). June 23, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Lessons in Program and Project Management" (PDF). March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 8, 2007. Retrieved May 17, 2007. 
  5. ^ Joseph A. Benkert (September 27, 2006). "U.S. Policy and Practice with Respect to the Use of Riot Control Agents by the U.S. Armed Forces". Senate Committee on Armed Services. Retrieved May 17, 2007. 
  6. ^ a b David Morgan (May 9, 2007). "Pentagon urges Congress to keep Guantanamo open". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  7. ^ "U.S, Russia Agree to Finish Nerve Gas Destruction Facility". International Herald Tribune / Defense Treaty Ready Inspection Readiness Program. April 11, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17.