Les Brownlee

Served as Acting United States Secretary of the Army 2003-2004


Les Brownlee served as the Acting United States Secretary of the Army from 10 May 2003 until his resignation effective 2 December 2004.

Brownlee became the 27th Under Secretary of the Army on 14 November 2001, following his nomination by President George W. Bush and confirmation by the United States Senate. From 10 May 2003 until 19 November 2004, he served as the Acting Secretary of the Army. As Under Secretary, Brownlee assisted the Secretary in fulfilling statutory responsibilities for recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training and mobilizing the United States Army and managing its $98.5 billion annual budget and more than 1.3 million active duty, National Guard, Army Reserve and civilian personnel.

Brownlee served on the Republican staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee beginning in January 1987, under both Senator Strom Thurmond and Senator John Warner. In March 1996, Brownlee was designated Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Armed Services by then Chairman, Sen. Thurmond. In January 1999, he was designated Staff Director for then Chairman, Sen. Warner, serving until November 2001 when he was confirmed as the Under Secretary of the Army.

From 1987 to 1996, he was a Professional Staff member responsible for Army and Marine Corps programs, special operations forces and drug interdiction policy and support. In addition, as Deputy Staff Director, he was deeply involved in policies and programs relating to ballistic missile defense, strategic deterrence and naval strategy, shipbuilding and weapons programs.

Brownlee is a retired Army colonel. He was commissioned in 1962 as a lieutenant in the infantry through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at the University of Wyoming. He is a distinguished honor graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger Course, an honor graduate of both the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and the Command and General Staff College, and a graduate of the Army’s airborne course as well as the U.S. Army War College. Brownlee served two tours in Vietnam. During the last two and a half years of a four and a half year tour in the Pentagon, before retiring in 1984, he was Military Executive to Under Secretary of the Army James Ambrose.

His military decorations include the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart. He holds a masters degree in business administration from the University of Alabama.

His son, John L. Brownlee is a former U.S. Attorney, and an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Virginia Attorney General in 2009.

Below: Undersecretary of the Army, Les Brownlee Challenge Coin 2003-2004

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Les Brownlee served as the Acting United States Secretary of the Army from 10 May 2003 until his resignation on 2 December 2004.