Talk:United States Secretary of Defense

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This article was vandalized, and this instance of vandalism to this article and Jimbo Wales' reaction to same has been mentioned by a media organization:
This article was vandalized, and this instance of vandalism to this article has been mentioned by a media organization:
This article was vandalized, and this instance of vandalism to this article has been mentioned by a media organization:
  • "NBC Nightly News". July 2, 2014.  (details)


Is it correct (as it would seem from the dates listed) that since the initiation of the office of Secretary of Defense there have been at least five gaps during which NO ONE was Secretary, one lasting for a full two months? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 00:07, Mar 30, 2004 (UTC)

AFAIK it is entirely possible for a cabinet seat to be vacant for a period of time, since the position has to be appointed and the appointment has to be approved by the Senate. -- Sekicho 21:49, Mar 31, 2004 (UTC)

Page protection[edit]

I am beginning to think this page should be protected- theman50554

Over one instance of vandalism in more than a month? Most pages should be so lucky.
DLJessup (talk) 14:38, 29 November 2005 (UTC)


What exactly is the role of the SECDEF; what authority does he have - there are some things that can only be ordered by the President. - Matthew238 07:02, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

I believe I have clarified this with some information from the DoD website.--Windows ME 02:25, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


According to the first paragraph, "Congress had passed a law to allow George Marshall to be appointed in 1950 despite having only been a civilian since 1945". Does anyone know what this means exactly? Was it a specific law relating to Marshall alone? Aviad2001 18:56, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Take your time... Gridge 19:12, 9 November 2006 (UTC).

List of Secretaries[edit]

Does Gates really belong on this list? There is a good chance he won't be confirmed with the Democrats in charge. He should be kept of until he is confirmed. Jayorz12 09:42, 1 December 2006 (UTC) The current secretary of defense has a dog named Baily and a daughter named Jessica Janota. She is rather fat but her dear friend Mrs. Man-of-sky helps her with her problems. Jessica crys alot about her weight and she also wants to kill Mrs. Man-of-sky for being skinny. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Should OSD Staff have a section?[edit]

I came here to find out about the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics which is a member of the OSD staff. Should there be a list of positions under the OSD on this page (like the president has for his cabinet)?

The staff can be found here:

Combine With War Dept[edit]

This article should be merged with the War Department article. It's the same department - just had a name change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

No, it should not. Secretary of War (which only controlled the Army) and Secretary of the Navy were the subject of a change in structure resulting in Secretary of Defense, with subordinates Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force. (talk) 18:34, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Sortable table[edit]

Is there any good reason why List of United States Secretaries of Defense by time in office was created as a separate article, rather than simply adding a column or two to the existing table and making it sortable? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:18, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, I didn't actually make any claims about other articles, but even if I had -- so what?
Is there a benefit to excluding that information from this article? Is there a benefit to presenting that information all by itself? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:34, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Well, what would you do about Donald Rumsfeld who served two nonconsecutive terms? And future Secretaries of Defense who serve nonconsecutive terms? How do you add a column of cumulative time in office? OCNative (talk) 01:21, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
      • How do I add a column of cumulative time in office? The same way I add a column to any table on Wikipedia. I'd label it "total time served" or something like that, and present exactly the same information that is currently in the other article.
        This isn't rocket science, you know. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:40, 7 January 2011 (UTC)


Currently, the table shows all Secretaries of Defense as only serving under a single President. Robert Gates was the obvious reason I noticed this, but MacNamara and James Schlesinger are also exceptions (I'm trusting the dates presented are right, it's possibly I'm missing someone). Considering that Robert MacNamara at least was one of the most important people to hold the position, this is probably worth fixing. I know, I know, I should fix it myself but I'm not familiar with table formating in WP. Anyone watching this page know how to fix the problem easily? --CAVincent (talk) 04:30, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

  • The list shows, if you read it carefully, which President the Secretary in question was appointed by, not serving under. Retaining a sitting Secretary, as Obama did with Gates, is not in itself a re-appointment as the commission of any presidential appointee states that he/she serves "at the pleasure of the President", regardless of who occupies the Office of President.RicJac (talk) 20:03, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Agreed. Gates should show appointed by George W. Bush Andrew (talk) 11:15, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

The list has "President serving under". This will confuse the average reader. It shows Robert Gates as only serving under Geroge W. Bush.--Joey (talk) 10:49, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Aparently the list description has changed from "appointed by" to "serving under" without the editor noting the slight differances. MacNamara served under both Kennedy and Johnson and the list should reflect this (by someone more acquainted with the formatting than me). RicJac (talk) 23:51, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
    • I sort of changed it to show Gates served under Bush. Didn't do it exactly right though. Tiller54 (talk) 11:16, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

New Secretary of Defense...[edit]

Hello, I've reverted the edits of User: because even though Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense he has not be sworn-in as such but is expected to be so on Wednesday February 27th. After he is officially sworn-in you may change that information but technically Panetta is still the Secretary of Defense until that time. TheGoofyGolfer (talk) 23:08, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 July 2014[edit]

Susiarad (talk) 12:39, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: as you have not requested a change.
If you want to suggest a change, please request this in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request, without which no information should be added to any article. - Arjayay (talk) 13:03, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

This article in the news[edit]

Please see DailyKos. Bearian (talk) 13:51, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

New Secretary[edit]

Page should be updated to show Ashton Carter as the New Secretary, as he was sworn in today, February 17, by Vice President Biden. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iwkrager (talkcontribs) 16:51, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 February 2015[edit]

To update the page to show Ashton Carter as the new Secretary instead of Chuck Hagel, as Carter was sworn in by VP Biden today, Feburary 17, as the new Secretary. Iwkrager (talk) 17:06, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Pictogram voting wait.svg Already done NiciVampireHeart 18:00, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:United States Secretary of Defense/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

At the bottom of the page

Categories: Defense is spelled incorrectly as Defence

VeraLenora (talk) 19:09, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Last edited at 19:09, 25 March 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 09:37, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 July 2016[edit]

In the living former Secretaries section, can you make note of the fact that Les Aspin was the most recently serving Secretary to die, as other pages for office holders with living former office holders sections make note of the most recently serving office holder to die if said person is different from the most recent officeholder overall to die.

2601:241:300:C930:9A1:A8B:B6A0:9A81 (talk) 02:38, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. VarunFEB2003 (talk) 13:21, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 4 October 2016[edit]

Landslide Reagan (talk) 11:51, 4 October 2016 (UTC)Dear Sir, I am undertaking a project and for this purpose, I wish to gain editorial privileges of the above page. Regards, Michael Hyde

X mark.svg Not done This is not the right page to request additional user rights.
If you want to suggest a change, please request this in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request, without which no information should be added to, or changed in, any article. - Arjayay (talk) 12:42, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 January 2017[edit]

The Picture of Secretary of Defense James Mattis is used at the top of this article, whereas the picture of Marine Corps General James Mattis (Same person, different position) is used in the historical table. The picture in the table should reflect his position as Secretary of Defense, not his position as a Marine Corps General.

Therefore, I propose the following:

--|[[File:Gen James N Mattis.jpg|75px|James Mattis]]
++|[[File:James Mattis official Transition portrait.jpg|75px|James Mattis]]
Sdcondon86 (talk) 01:11, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template. — JJMC89(T·C) 04:14, 21 January 2017 (UTC)