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Rudy deLeon

Senior Fellow

Expertise: U.S. military strategy, defense budget, national security, Middle East, legislative/executive process and politics

Rudy deLeon is a Senior Fellow with the National Security and International Policy team at American Progress. He has worked at the organization since 2007 and focuses on U.S. national security issues and U.S.-China relations.

DeLeon’s 25-year government career concluded in 2001 after his tenure as deputy secretary of defense, during which time he served as the chief operating officer at the Pentagon, a member of the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council, and a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Partnership Council on labor-management issues. In earlier Pentagon assignments, deLeon served as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness from 1997 to 2000 and as undersecretary of the air force from 1994 to 1997.

From November 1985 through 1993, deLeon served as a member of the professional staff and staff director for the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. In 1986, deLeon participated in the debate and passage of the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which made fundamental changes in military organization and operations. DeLeon began his career in the federal government in 1975, holding various staff positions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

For five years, beginning in 2001, he served as a senior vice president for the Boeing Company, focusing on global trade issues and Washington, D.C., operations.

In addition to his duties at American Progress during the past five years, deLeon chaired the 2009 U.S. Department of Defense review of the civilian National Security Personnel System, was a member of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Congressional Commission, and currently serves on the Defense Policy Board.

DeLeon earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1974. In 1984, he completed the executive program in national and international security at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

DeLeon received the Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 1994, 1995, and 2001 and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in 2001. He was recognized by the National League of POW/MIA Families in 1999 and by the National Military Family Association in 2000.