Shawn G. Skelly
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, Department of Defense
Shawn G. Skelly is a veteran in the DOD space. She spent 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy as a naval flight officer, retiring as commander. She joined the Obama administration in 2013, ultimately serving as commissioner on the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.
In July 2021, she was confirmed by the Senate to be the assistant secretary of defense for readiness ⏤ the second openly trans federal official confirmed by Senate, and DOD’s highest-ranking openly transgender official, Skelly is also the principal advisor to the secretary of defense and the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
In her many roles, Skelly is tasked with developing the policies and plans for the Total Force Readiness programs, reporting and assessments of readiness, which ultimately lead to the National Defense Strategy. She also advises the secretary of defense on strategic and operational readiness of the Armed Forces.
Skelly is also a co-founder and former vice president of Out in National Security.
Skelly is dedicated to military readiness. In fact, in her first in-depth interview since taking on her current position, Politico reported Skelly said in speaking at the Pentagon, “If you want to be ready, then you have to ensure that everybody that is in your force can be their best selves and contribute as a member of a team and be seen as valuable.” This is in response to congressional discussions around transgender people serving in the military.
Skelly remains focused on ensuring the nation’s military readiness for peacetime contingencies, crises and warfighting. Keep an eye on her as she continues to advocate for diversity in DOD as it pertains to mission readiness, as well as the work she’s doing in areas of joint training and education in military service, training in systems and technologies, and as the DOD designated agency safety and health official.