The dashboard is set up for exploration and queries. There are several filters on the right of the dashboard that allow users to create subsets of the data.
All data contained in "Foreign Travels of the Secretary of Defense" is drawn from unclassified, publicly available sources, mainly the published volumes of the Public Statements of the Secretaries of Defense. From the beginning of the Obama administration on, data was drawn from public statements and readouts released by the Public Affairs Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense on www.defense.gov. In some cases the data was augmented with reporting from nationally prominent newspapers.
The dataset, which will be updated with new entries annually, is purely historical and does not contain the most recent travels, or scheduled travels that have not yet occurred.
The dataset was compiled by the Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2018-2019. All data contained herein has been cleared for public release by the Defense Office of Prepublication Security Review (DOPSR). The dashboards were created by the Historical Office using Tableau. No DoD endorsement of Tableau is intended or implied.
The dashboard includes only Secretaries and acting Secretaries who made at least one foreign trip. Acting Secretary William H. Taft, Secretary Eliot L. Richardson, and Acting Secretary Richard V. Spencer do not have foreign visits recorded in our sources and do not appear in the Secretary filter.
Patrick M. Shanahan's nine visits were undertaken while he was an acting Secretary of Defense. According to our sources he was the first acting Secretary to make a foreign visit. The first of Mark T. Esper's visits was undertaken while he was an acting SecDef; the remainder took place after his confirmation.
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Robert M. Gates, and James R. Schlesinger served more than one administration; to capture their visits under a single administration, first select the individual from the Secretary filter and then narrow the results further using the Administration filter.
For the sake of simplicity, the names and borders of several former nations have been slightly adjusted. Where a nation no longer exists, the visit has been mapped to the nation that currently contains the city visited. This includes Czechoslovakia (mapped to Czechia), the USSR (mapped to Russia), and Yugoslavia (mapped to Serbia). However, while these terms share space on the map, they are listed separately in the data and can be included or excluded using the filters.
The map does not account for the Cold War division between East and West Germany or between North and South Vietnam (there were no Secretary of Defense visits to the communist-controlled portions of these nations). The map and the data present Formosa as Taiwan and the Republic of Korea as South Korea.
Compare secretary of defense travels in an interactive graph.