Secretary John M. McHugh
John M. McHugh is principal of McHugh LeMay Associates, a consulting firm primarily focused on defense policy matters. Prior to starting his own firm, he served nearly three years as a Government Affairs Counselor in the public policy and law group of K&L Gates in Washington, D.C.
Previously, John M. McHugh served as the 21st Secretary of the United States Army from September 21, 2009 to October 31, 2015. He is the second longest-serving Army secretary in U.S. history.
As Secretary, McHugh functioned as Chief Executive Officer of the world’s greatest landforce, responsible for more than one million soldiers and another 250,000 civilian employees. McHugh had oversight on all matters relating to the United States Army, including manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications, and financial management. He also developed and implemented an annual budget that, at its height, exceeded more than $243 billion.
During his tenure, McHugh earned a reputation as a hands-on problem solver. When he came to office, the Army was engaged in two wars; he oversaw the largest retrograde operation since World War II, all while reducing the size of the Army in response to significant budget cuts.
McHugh fundamentally reshaped how the Army does business, through comprehensive acquisition reform, innovative energy solutions, reducing the size of Army headquarters, and civilian workforce transformation. He also successfully guided the Army through a series of public crisis, including restoration of the honor and dignity of Arlington National Cemetery following revelations of gross mismanagement of the nation’s premier military cemetery.
Throughout the Army’s challenges, McHugh worked to maintain and improve the quality of life of its soldiers and civilians. He also served as Public Sector Chairperson of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
Prior to becoming Secretary of the Army, McHugh was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern and Central New York. During his nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives – all of which he served on the House Armed Services Committee – he earned a reputation as a strong advocate for soldiers and families. McHugh also served as a member of Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and for six years as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Postal Service where he spearheaded legislation that significantly reformed the United States Postal Service. He was also a member of House International Relations Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the United States Military Academy Board of Visitors.
A native of Watertown, New York, McHugh received a B.A. in Political Science from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1970, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the State University of New York’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Graduate School of Public Affairs in 1977. In 2013, McHugh received the Rockefeller School’s “Lifetime Achievement Award;” a year later, he received a Lifetime Service Award from the American Red Cross of the National Capital Region.
Among other awards and honors, McHugh has been recognized with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Legislative Excellence, and the Association of the United States Army’s Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award.