Les Brownlee served as the Acting Secretary of the Army from 10 May 2003 until November 18, 2004. He became
the 27th Under Secretary of the Army November 14, 2001, following his nomination by President George W. Bush and
confirmation by the United States Senate. Mr. Brownlee served concurrently as both Acting Secretary of the
Army and Under Secretary of the Army for eighteen months, thereby becoming the longest-serving Acting Secretary of
the Army in history. Mr. Brownlee also served concurrently as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
from March 2002 to August 2003.
Mr. Brownlee served previously on the Republican staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee beginning in January
1987, under both Sen. Strom Thurmond and Sen. John Warner. From 1987 to 1996, he was the principal professional staff
member responsible for Army and Marine Corps programs, Special Operations forces and drug interdiction policy.
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. In March, 1996, Mr. Brownlee was
designated Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Armed Services by then Chairman, Senator Strom Thurmond. In
January, 1999, he was designated Staff Director by then Chairman, Senator John Warner, serving through a change in
control of the Senate in mid-2001.
Mr. Brownlee is a retired Army colonel. He was commissioned in 1962 as a lieutenant of infantry through the ROTC
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 Airborne course as well as the U.S. Army War College. Mr. Brownlee served two combat tours in Vietnam. Before
retiring in 1984, he was Military Executive to the Under Secretary of the Army. His military decorations include
two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. He has been inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. He
holds a masters degree in business administration from the University of Alabama. Mr. Brownlee served as a
commissioner on the National Commission on the National Guard and Reserve Forces. He is a member of the board of
directors of Blue Star Families.