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Under Secretary of Defense
for Personnel and Readiness

Special Assistant to the Deputy
Secretary of Defense for
Gulf War Illnesses

Bernard D. Rostker was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on May 23rd 2000. A Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, he is the Defense Secretary's senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel and 725,000 DoD civilians.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness oversees the $15 billion Defense Health Program, Defense Commissaries and Exchanges with $5 billion in annual sales, the Defense Education Activity which supports over 100,000 students, and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, the nation’s largest equal opportunity training program. Dr. Rostker is responsible for developing policy guidance on and overseeing the state of our armed forces’ military readiness.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Rostker served as the 25th Under Secretary of the Army where he focused on fulfilling the statutory responsibilities for recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training and mobilizing the Army and managing its $64 billion annual budget and more than 1.3 million active duty, National Guard, Army Reserve and civilian personnel.

For the four years prior to becoming Under Secretary, Dr. Rostker was Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. On November 12, 1996, he was also named Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses. He continues in this assignment and is responsible for coordinating all activities related to Department of Defense inquiries into the nature and causes of Gulf War illnesses.

Dr. Rostker received a Bachelor of Science Degree from New York University in 1964 where he was a Distinguished Military Graduate of the ROTC Program and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. He also holds a Masters and Doctorate Degree in Economics from Syracuse University. He began his professional career in 1968 as an economist in the Manpower Requirements Directorate of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis. He left Government service in 1970 and moved to the RAND Corporation where he was a research economist and the Program Director of the Manpower Personnel and Training Program, a personnel studies program sponsored by the United States Air Force.

In 1977, Dr. Rostker returned to Government service as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. In 1979, he became Director of Selective Service, where he formulated the Selective Service Revitalization Plan. Under his leadership, the first mass selective service registration since World War II was executed and almost four million young men registered.

Dr. Rostker moved to the Center for Naval Analyses in 1981 as the Director for the Navy's Management Program, where he guided the development of a research and studies program examining major management issues within the Navy. In 1983 he joined Systems Research and Applications Corporation (SRA), a computer software development company, as their Director of the Systems Management Division.

In December 1984, Dr. Rostker returned to RAND to help establish a new Army studies and analysis center – called The Arroyo Center - where he was Program Director of the Force Development and Employment Program and Associate Director of the Center. In January 1990, Dr. Rostker left the Arroyo Center and assumed the position of Director of the Defense Manpower Research Center in RAND's National Defense Research Institute. He held that position until he returned to government services in October 1994.