Federal Register

Executive Order 12514--Prescribing the order of succession of officers to act as Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12514 of May 14, 1985, appear at 50 FR 18629, 3 CFR, 1985 Comp., p. 342, unless otherwise noted.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including section 3347 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Part I. Succession to the Position of Secretary of Defense.
In the event of the death, disability, or absence of the Secretary of Defense, the incumbents in the Department of Defense positions listed below shall succeed to the position of, and act as, Secretary of Defense in the order indicated:
1. Deputy Secretary of Defense.
2. Secretary of the Army.
3. Secretary of the Navy.
4. Secretary of the Air Force.
5. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
6. Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
7. Assistant Secretaries of Defense and the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, in the order fixed by their length of service as such.
8. Under Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, in the order fixed by their length of service as such.
9. Assistant Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, in the order fixed by their length of service as such.
Precedence within a particular group between or among two or more officers having the same date of appointment shall be as determined by the Secretary of Defense at the time of appointment.

Part II. Succession to the Position of Secretary of the Army.
In the event of the death, disability, or absence of the Secretary of the Army, the officers designated below shall succeed to the position of, and act as, Secretary of the Army in the order indicated:
1. Under Secretary of the Army.
2. Assistant Secretaries of the Army, in the order fixed by their length of service as such.
3. Chief of Staff, United States Army.
4. Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army.
5. Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command.

Part III. Succession to the Position of Secretary of the Navy.
In the event of the death, disability, or absence of the Secretary of the Navy, the officers designated below shall succeed to the position of, and act as, Secretary of the Navy in the order indicated:
1. Under Secretary of the Navy.
2. Assistant Secretaries of the Navy, in the order prescribed by the Secretary of the Navy, or if no order is prescribed by the Secretary, then in the order fixed by their length of service as such.
3. Chief of Naval Operations.
4. Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Part IV. Succession to the Position of Secretary of the Air Force.
In the event of the death, disability, or absence of the Secretary of the Air Force, the officers designated below shall succeed to the position of, and act as, Secretary of the Air Force in the order indicated:
1. Under Secretary of the Air Force.
2. Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force, in the order fixed by their length of service as such.
3. Chief of Staff, United States Air Force.
4. Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force.
5. The senior Deputy Chief of Staff who is not absent or disabled.
6. The Commander, Air University.

Part V. Variations in the Order of Succession.
Without regard to any other part of this Order, except Part VI, the President, or the person acting as President under section 19 of title 3, United States Code, may, in the event of the death, disability, or absence of the Secretary of Defense, appoint any officer designated in Part I of this Order to succeed to the position of, and act as, Secretary of Defense; and that person may, in the event of the death, disability, or absence of the Secretary of a Military Department, appoint any officer designated in the part of this Order that relates to the order to succession in the Department concerned to succeed to the position of, and act as, the Secretary of that Department.

Part VI. Temporary Nature of Succession/Acting Capacity.
Succession to office pursuant to this Order shall be on a temporary or interim basis and shall not have the effect of vacating the statutory position held by the successor. An officer shall not succeed to any position under this order if the position that he occupies entitling him so to succeed is held by him in an acting capacity only.

Part VII. Revocation of Prior Executive Order.
Executive Order No. 10820 of May 18, 1959, is hereby revoked.


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