Robert L. Wilkie (J.D. ’88) has been sworn in as the new Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. He was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in November 16th. "Mr. Wilkie is the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families."
Wilkie most recently served as senior advisor to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and recently worked in President Trump’s transition office. He previously served as assistant secretary of defense and senior director of the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration.
“Robert Wilkie has been indispensable as my senior adviser, and his nomination is a crystal clear indication that Secretary of Defense (James) Mattis is committed to choosing the highest caliber people possible to help him lead the Pentagon,” Senator Tillis said in a statement.
Wilkie began his professional career on Capitol Hill as Counsel to Jesse Helms, and later served as legislative director for Rep. David Funderburk of North Carolina. In 1997, he began service as counsel and advisor on international security affairs to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.
Wilkie is an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve on active reserve status. He is a graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff and received a master’s degree from the Army War College. He is also a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College.
As the son of an Army artillery officer, he resided at Fort Bragg, N.C. and graduated from Fayetteville’s Reid Ross Senior High School.
He graduated with honors from Wake Forest University. Wilkie received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University, New Orleans. He was also awarded a master’s of law in international and comparative law from Georgetown University.