Accession Number:



Criteria for the Selection of the Secretary of Defense

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Our founding fathers foresaw no Department of Defense nor did they visualize a Secretary of Defense. Accordingly, the powers of both man and office have evolved over the years to the point where the Secretary is in a position of power and prestige perhaps only second to the President himself. Concomitantly, the complexities of the office have developed to the size where only the most unusual and talented individual can manage this fantastic operation. The effects of his decisions are felt almost everywhere in the United States and almost as often make similar impacts on the international scene. The responsibility for choosing his Secretary of Defense falls on the President. It must be assumed that the President knows what kind of talent he is seeking. But in light of the foregoing he must be exceedingly perspicacious when he evaluates the qualifications of likely candidates. In fairness to the Secretaryship and to the nation the candidate must have a background that qualifies him to hold this office, a desire that motivates him to serve until he is a master of the problems, a will to work under comparative personal financial hardships which will reduce his standard of living, and a philosophy that will permit him to fade into obscurity when the job is done. American experience in having a Secretary of Defense dates only since 1947. In these few years the Secretaries have been subject to increasing scrutiny and abuse. All eight Secretaries have found themselves in a show window where each and every decision could be observed and then debated by the domestic and international press. This adds still another criterion to the list of potentially desirable attributes the candidate should possess. But where should the President look for such a unique individual What does the President expect of him What can he offer him as to reward or fate

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement: