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Ryan McCarthy
24th United States Secretary of the Army
Assumed office
September 30, 2019
Acting: July 23, 2019 – September 30, 2019
President Donald Trump
Deputy James E. McPherson
Preceded by Mark Esper

In office
Acting: June 24, 2019 – July 15, 2019
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Mark Esper
Succeeded by Mark Esper*

In office
Acting: August 3, 2017 – November 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Robert M. Speer (acting)
Succeeded by Mark Esper
33rd United States Under Secretary of the Army

In office
August 3, 2017 – September 30, 2019
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Brad Carson
Succeeded by James E. McPherson
Personal details
Born 1973/1974 (age 47–48)[1]
Alma mater
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1997–2002
Rank Captain[2]
Unit 75th Ranger Regiment
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
*McCarthy served in an acting capacity until Esper's formal nomination to be Secretary of Defense was submitted to the Senate. While McCarthy served as Acting Army Secretary, McPherson served as Acting Under Secretary.

Ryan D. McCarthy (born 1973 or 1974)[1] is an American business executive and former U.S. Army Ranger serving as the 24th and current United States Secretary of the Army since 2019. He previously held the office in an acting capacity in 2017 and 2019.

Education and military service

McCarthy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history from the Virginia Military Institute. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.[3]

A former United States Army Ranger, he served in the 75th Ranger Regiment during the United States invasion of Afghanistan.[3]

Private sector career

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and McCarthy look over paperwork while visiting Camp Eggers in Kabul on December 8, 2009

Early in his career, McCarthy worked at HSBC. He became a professional staff member on the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs. McCarthy later served as a special assistant to former United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, where he was "the right hand of the Defense secretary with front-office access."[3]

McCarthy joined Lockheed Martin in 2011, where he worked on programs including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. He most recently served as the vice president of the sustainment program for the F-35 program.[4]

Department of the Army

In June 2017, President Donald Trump nominated him to become the Under Secretary of the Army.[5] He was confirmed as Under Secretary of the Army by the United States Senate on August 1, 2017, by voice vote.[6][7]

While Under Secretary, he served as acting Secretary of the Army twice. The first was from August 3 to November 20, 2017. The second was from June 24 to July 15, 2019, while Secretary of the Army Mark Esper was acting as Secretary of Defense.[6][7]

The President nominated McCarthy to become the Secretary of the Army on June 21, 2019.[8] He was confirmed on September 26, 2019 and was sworn in on September 30, 2019.[9]

In 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, McCarthy activated the D.C. National Guard, which included the use of aviation assets to support local and Federal law enforcement efforts. The D.C. National Guard is the only National Guard unit, of the 54 states and territories that have them, which reports only to the President of the United States. The Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard is subordinate solely to the President.  This authority to activate the D.C. National Guard has been delegated by the President to the Secretary of Defense and further delegated to the Secretary of the Army.[10] During the protests, McCarthy gave the order to deploy helicopters in response to the protests.[11] On June 2, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper ordered an inquiry into the incident, which as of 4 June 2020 (2020-06-04) is under investigation.[12] During the January 6, 2021, attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol while Congress was in session, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser requested additional backup from the D.C. National Guard, but received no response from the Pentagon. Mayor Bowser then contacted the governors of both Maryland and Virginia, frantically requesting that they activate their national guards. Although the governors eventually authorized their activation and their deployment to the Capitol, they were "repeatedly denied approval to do so."[13] Only until over an hour after the attack began did the Secretary of the Army activate the D.C. National Guard, putting Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress, and Congressional staffers in grave danger as the rioters stormed the Capitol, smashing windows, attacking the police, and vandalizing the building. Even as the rioters threatened the lives of both police and members of Congress, a number of news outlets noted the stark contrast between military style responses to the Black Lives Matter protests and the relatively lax security even though Trump had for months called for a "wild" day in the Capitol.[14][15][16][17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Britzky, Haley (September 9, 2019). "This former Ranger was just nominated to be the next Secretary of the Army". 
  2. Loyola Academy (August 3, 2017). "President Trump Nominates Ryan McCarthy '92 for Army Under Secretary". Loyola Academy. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mitchell, Ellen (June 7, 2017). "Trump to nominate former Ranger for Army undersecretary". The Hill. 
  4. Nicholas, Scott (June 7, 2017). "Former Lockheed Exec Ryan McCarthy to Be Nominated as Army Undersecretary". ExecutiveGov. 
  5. "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration". The White House. June 6, 2017. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dickstein, Corey (June 21, 2019). "Former Ranger McCarthy will take on duties of Army secretary on Monday". ""By law, because there is currently a sitting secretary of the Army, [McCarthy] can only use the title, 'performing duties as' and not acting secretary of the Army"" 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Weisgerber, Marcus (July 15, 2019). "Inside the Pentagon’s Game of Musical Chairs". Defense One. 
  8. Seck, Hope Hodge (June 21, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Mark Esper as SecDef, Ryan McCarthy as Army Secretary". 
  9. "Senate confirms Ryan McCarthy as Army secretary". 
  10. "District of Columbia National Guard > About Us". 
  11. Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Schmitt, Eric; Cooper, Helene (2020-06-10). "Aggressive Tactics by National Guard, Ordered to Appease Trump, Wounded the Military, Too" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  12. Conte, Michael (June 4, 2020). "Army investigating why National Guard helicopters hovered low over DC, Esper says". 
  13. Peiser, Jaclyn. "Internet detectives are identifying scores of pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol. Some have already been fired." (in en-US). Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. 
  14. Sadeghi, McKenzie. "Fact check: Viral images compare handling of Black Lives Matter protests and Capitol riot" (in en-US). 
  15. "Bystanders Angered By Capitol Riots, Compare To Black Lives Matter Protests | NBC News NOW - YouTube". 
  16. "Biden: Black Lives Matter protesters would have been ‘treated differently’ at Capitol riot" (in en). 
  17. "Trump promises 'wild' protest in DC on Jan. 6, the day Congress to count electoral votes" (in en-US). 2020-12-19. 

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