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Service Secretaries

62 - Service Secretaries
2012 Rank: 58

Under law, the military service chiefs derive their power from their service secretaries. While Obama’s secretaries have been less public than some of their predecessors, they are the ultimate authority over their service’s budget and policy decisions. And given declining budgets and thorny political decisions of the post-war era, each has or will play a more public role in telling the story of their service. Longtime Republican congressman turned Army secretary, John McHugh, is a quiet political insider who expertly runs interference for his more public chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno (No. 30). Ditto for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus (pictured), a well-connected former Mississippi governor and ambassador who has tirelessly promoted green technologies and energy independence for the future fleet, and assumed a prominent public role after a gunman killed 12 and wounded three at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16. The newcomer to the group, former Science Applications International Corp. sector President Deborah James, was confirmed by the Senate as Air Force secretary Dec. 13. She’ll be working closely with Gen. Mark Welsh (No. 32) to not only get up to speed but tackle impending challenges that face all the services. 

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