John Roth, Acting Secretary of the Air Force

John Roth

Acting Secretary of the Air Force

John P. Roth earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. He earned a Master of Science in Administration from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has completed other leadership training and certifications.

His career has centered around the defense industry and oversight. He served as a budget analyst for the Norfolk Naval Supply Center, then as budget director at the Naval Data Automation Command in Washington, D.C. He worked in the office of the Secretary of Defense as a budget analyst under the Under Secretary Comptroller, an associate director for investment, then deputy director of investment, eventually becoming the Acting Principal Deputy Comptroller at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) at the Pentagon.

He moved to the department of the Air Force, where he performed the duties of the Under Secretary of the Air Force at its Pentagon headquarters. He was made Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, and later performed the duties of the Under Secretary of the Air Force at its Pentagon headquarters.

In January 2021, he was made Acting Secretary of the Air Force. He has two children.

In the News…

Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth told the House Appropriations Committee that America’s Air and Space Forces continue to recalibrate their practices, personnel, and policies to address “peer adversaries” after years of focusing primarily on terrorism.

“Long-term strategic competition with China and Russia demands that we focus on the capabilities we need today to win tomorrow,” the acting secretary told the subcommittee in his opening statement. “Our Nation’s competitive strategic advantage relies on air and space superiority, which is underpinned by rapid technological advancement and the extension of space as a warfighting domain.”

Congress has not yet received a detailed spending proposal from any federal agency, but when asked if he got more money, where he would put his focus, Acting Secretary Roth acknowledged that there would be difficult trade-offs.

“We’re going to have to make some hard choices and some difficult decisions concerning trying to invest in the future versus continuing to support some of our legacy systems,” he said.

“My sense is the budget you’ll see is a balanced budget that can support the national security strategy with some reasonable risk.” At the same time, the acting secretary emphasized, “We need to continue investing in technology for the future.”


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