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Robert Wilkie

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Title: Robert Wilkie  
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Robert Wilkie

Robert L. Wilkie
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
In office
September 30, 2006 – January 19, 2009
President George W. Bush
Vice President Dick Cheney
Preceded by Dan Stanley
Personal details
Born Fayetteville, North Carolina
Political party Republican
Profession Lawyer
Religion Anglican

Robert Leon Wilkie is an Arlington, Virginia, with his wife and two children and now works at CH2M Hill.

Early life and education

Wilkie was born in Frankfurt West Germany, and attended Fayetteville North Carolina's Reid Ross Senior High School. As the son of an Army Artillery officer, he grew up in Washington, D.C..

Government career

Prior to being named assistant secretary, Wilkie served as special assistant to the President for national security affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council where he was a senior policy advisor to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as well as her successor, Stephen Hadley. Mr. Wilkie developed strategic planning for the implementation of the Moscow Treaty, the Millennium Challenge Account, Iraqi Reconstruction and NATO Expansion.[1] In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates awarded him the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department.

He began his professional career on Capitol Hill as Counsel to Jesse Helms, and later served as legislative director for Rep. David Funderburk of North Carolina. He was assigned to the Committee on International Relations and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 1997, he began service as counsel and advisor on international security affairs to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.


Wilkie gained attention for outlining guidelines that restricted congressional testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush. Several congressional officials accused Wilkie of preventing military's lower ranks to testify, which were more likely to give Congress an honest opinion opposed to higher ranks that sided with the administration.[2]

According to a Boston Globe article, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress saw this as a "blatant attempt to bog down investigations of the war". In addition, there was an argument that the Pentagon had no authority to set those rules.[2] The controversy involved one subcommittee and Wilkie argued on behalf of the Pentagon that the enlisted soldiers who were the target of the subcomittee's investigation had to be given the opportunity to avail themselves of counsel. Once there was a change in the subcommittee's leadership, the Pentagon reached an accommodation which gave the subcommittee access to the soldiers.


  1. ^ OSD/LA Staff
  2. ^ a b Bender, Bryan (May 10, 2007). "Pentagon restricting testimony in Congress". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  • DoD News Release"Wilkie Named Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs" United States Department of Defense, October 17, 2006.
  • Mike Soraghan, "DoD braces for a fight with Pelosi", The Hill, June 2007.

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