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News | April 14, 2015

Robert O. Work

By Barack Obama Administration

Robert O. Work was sworn in as the 32nd Deputy Secretary of Defense on 5 May 2014.

Deputy Secretary Work was born on 17 January 1953 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He graduated from the Naval Reserve Officers Training Course at the University of Illinois in 1974 and was commissioned a U.S. Marine Second Lieutenant.  He spent the ensuing 27 years in the Marine Corps, serving in various leadership positions including as Director of Operations and Exercise Support at the National Reconnaissance Office, as commander of an artillery battery and a battalion, and was the base commander at Camp Fuji, Japan. His last assignment was as Military Assistant and Senior Aide to the Honorable Richard Danzig, 7lst secretary of the Navy. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Colonel on 1 September 2001.

After retiring from the military, Deputy Secretary Work joined the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments as a Senior Fellow and became the Center’s Vice President in 2007.  In 2008, he was part of President-elect Obama’s defense team advising on defense policy, acquisition and budget matters and led the Navy Department’s issues team.  He was also an adjunct professor at George Washington University where he taught classes on defense analysis and the roles and missions of the armed forces.

From 2009-2013, Deputy Secretary Work served as Under Secretary of the Navy.  In 2013, he joined the Center for New American Security as the Chief Executive Officer.  President Obama nominated him to be deputy secretary of defense in February 2014 and he was confirmed on 30 April.

Deputy Secretary Work holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois; a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California; a Master of Science in Systems Technology (Space Operations) from the Naval Postgraduate School; and a Masters in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Among the civilian and military honors he has received, Deputy Secretary Work was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award.