Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)

The Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, abbreviated USD(C)/CFO, is a high level civilian official in the United States Department of Defense. The Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) is the principal staff assistant and adviser to both the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense for all budgetary and fiscal matters, including the development and execution of the Defense Department's annual budget.

Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
/Chief Financial Officer
Under Secretary of Defense flag
Elaine McCusker

since 31 July 2019[1]
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleThe Honorable
Reports toSecretary of Defense
Deputy Secretary of Defense
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, United States
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 135
First holderJohn J. Hamre
Succession7th in SecDef succession
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level III[2]

The Under Secretary is appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve at the pleasure of the President.[3]

The position of Defense Department Comptroller was originally at the rank of Assistant Secretary until the National Defense Authorization Act of 1995 upgraded the position to its current rank of Under Secretary.[4]


The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/CFO is the principal staff office for the Defense Department on all budgetary and fiscal matters, including the development and execution of the Defense Department's annual budget of more than $700 billion. As Chief Financial Officer, the Under Secretary's Office also oversees the Department's financial policy, financial management systems, and business modernization efforts.[5]

The Under Secretary is chair of the Financial Management Modernization Executive Committee, which has the goal of making sure that each of the Department of Defense's critical accounting, financial, and data feeder systems are compliant with applicable federal financial management and reporting requirements.[6] The Comptroller is also a member of the Defense Business System Management Committee.[7]

With the rank of Under Secretary, the USD(C) is a Level III position within the Executive Schedule. Since January 2019, the annual rate of pay for Level III is $176,900.

Reporting officials

Officials reporting to the USD(C) include:

The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), abbreviated DUSD(C), is the USD(C)'s chief deputy and assumes the duties of the USD(C) in his or her absence. Pursuant to Public Law 111-84, the DUSD(C) is appointed from civilian life by the President of the United States with the consent of the Senate.


Budget totals

The annual budget for the USD(C) is contained in the Office of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD) budget, under the Defense-Wide Operation and Maintenance (O&M) account.

USD Comptroller Budget, FY 10-12 ($ in thousands)[8]
Line Item FY10 Actual FY11 Estimate FY12 Request
Core OSD Operating Program[9]
Civilian Pay and Benefits, USD (C)26,56733,68028,213
Program Structure[10]
Comptroller Initiatives17,46723,40318,554
Future Years Defense Program Improvement3,4083,5103,562
Administrative Support1,4201,2831,164
Capabilities Portfolio Management4,49520,0000
Next Generation Resource Management System003,991
Enterprise Funds Distribution System Support002,992
Overseas Contingency Operations[11]
OCO OUSD (Comptroller)000
Total Budget53,61582,33258,748

Budget features

  • Comptroller Initiatives - Support for producing and providing senior Department leadership with authoritative, accurate, and timely financial statements and support Department-wide business transformation efforts by improving financial management processes, systems, and financial reporting. This funding appears to support the programs of the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
  • Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) Improvement - Maintain the FYDP information system used to collect, transform, disseminate, build reports, and provide analytical displays for planning, programming, budgeting, and execution activities
  • Administrative Support - Funds services including general office support, data administration, records management, workflow and correspondence tracking, and other administrative tasks
  • Capabilities Portfolio Management (CPM) - Funds OSD and Joint programs used to advise senior Department leadership and support strategic decision making to optimize investments and minimize risks in providing capabilities to the Warfighter. CPM includes programs such as Command & Control, Joint Logistics, Net Centric Operations, Corporate Management Support, and Battlespace Awareness
  • Next Generation Resource Management System (NGRMS) - Maintain IT system used to formulate, justify, present, and defend the DoD budget, including equipment maintenance support, software upgrades, and software licenses
  • Enterprise Funds Distribution System Support (EFDSS) - Maintain IT system used for controlling and distributing funds, including equipment maintenance support, software upgrades, and software licenses
  • Travel - Funds employee travel in support of the OUSD(C) mission

Office holders

The table below includes both the various titles of this post over time, as well as all the holders of those offices.

Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer)[12]
Portrait Name Tenure SecDef(s) served under President(s) served under
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
Wilfred J. McNeil12 September 1949 – 1 November 1959Louis A. Johnson
George C. Marshall
Robert A. Lovett
Charles E. Wilson
Neil H. McElroy
Harry Truman
Dwight Eisenhower
Franklin B. Lincoln2 December 1959 – 20 January 1961Thomas S. GatesDwight Eisenhower
Charles J. Hitch17 February 1961 – 31 July 1965Robert S. McNamaraJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Robert N. Anthony10 September 1965 – 31 July 1968Robert S. McNamara
Clark M. Clifford
Lyndon Johnson
Robert C. Moot1 August 1968 – 9 January 1973Clark M. Clifford
Melvin R. Laird
Lyndon Johnson
Richard Nixon
Don R. Brazier (Acting)10 January 1973 – 20 January 1973Melvin R. LairdRichard Nixon
Terence E. McClary21 June 1973 – 31 August 1976James R. Schlesinger
Donald H. Rumsfeld
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Fred P. Wacker1 September 1976 – 29 February 1980Donald H. Rumsfeld
Harold Brown
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Jack R. Borsting12 August 1980 – 31 December 1982Harold Brown
Caspar W. Weinberger
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
John R. Quetsch (Acting)1 January 1983 – 23 February 1983Caspar W. WeinbergerRonald Reagan
Vincent Puritano24 February 1983 – 30 May 1984
John R. Quetsch (acting)31 May 1984–14 August 1984
Robert W. Helm16 August 1984 – 1 October 1986
Department of Defense Comptroller
Robert W. Helm1 October 1986 – 1 September 1988Caspar W. Weinberger
Frank C. Carlucci III
Ronald Reagan
Clyde O. Glaister17 October 1988 – 22 May 1989Frank C. Carlucci III
William H. Taft IV (Acting)
Richard B. Cheney
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Sean O'Keefe22 May 1989 – 7 July 1992Richard B. CheneyGeorge H. W. Bush
Donald B. Shycoff (Acting)8 July 1992 – 2 April 1993Richard B. Cheney
Leslie Aspin, Jr.
George H. W. Bush
William Clinton
Alice C. Maroni (Acting)6 May 1993 – 26 October 1993Leslie Aspin, Jr.William Clinton
John J. Hamre26 October 1993 – 5 September 1994Leslie Aspin, Jr.
William J. Perry
Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer)
John J. Hamre5 September 1994 – 29 July 1997William J. PerryWilliam Clinton
William S. Cohen
William J. Lynn19 November 1997 – 19 January 2001William S. Cohen
Dov S. Zakheim3 May 2001 – 15 April 2004Donald H. RumsfeldGeorge W. Bush
Lawrence J. Lanzillotta (Acting)15 April 2004 – 27 July 2004
Tina Jonas27 July 2004 - 26 September 2008[13]
Robert M. Gates
Robert F. Hale9 February 2009[14] – 27 June 2014Barack Obama
Leon Panetta
Chuck Hagel
Michael J. McCord27 June 2014 – 20 January 2017[15]
Ash Carter
John P. Roth (Acting)20 January 2017 – 1 June 2017[12]James MattisDonald Trump
David Norquist2 June 2017[12] – 31 July 2019
Patrick M. Shanahan (acting)
Elaine McCusker (Acting)31 July 2019 – presentMark Esper


  1. Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/CFO, August 1, 2019
  2. 5 U.S.C. § 5314
  3. "US CODE: Title 10,135. Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)". Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  4. "Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  5. "Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) > About OUSD(C) > OUSD(C) Top Leaders". comptroller.defense.gov. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  6. "US CODE: Title 10,185. Financial Management Modernization Executive Committee". Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  7. "US CODE: Title 10,186. Defense Business System Management Committee". Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  8. "Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)" (PDF). Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), OSD. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  9. Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), p.664
  10. Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), p.688-90
  11. Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Estimates, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), p.714
  12. "Department of Defense Key Officials September 1947–February 2019" (PDF). history.defense.gov. Historical Office Office of the Secretary of Defense. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  13. "Defense comptroller leaves for industry job". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  14. "Head Count | Tracking Obama's Appointments | The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010.
  15. "Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) > About OUSD(C) > comptroller_Bio". comptroller.defense.gov. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
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