United States Secretary of Energy

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Secretary of Energy of the
United States
Seal of the United States Department of Energy.svg
Seal of the Department of Energy
Flag of the United States Secretary of Energy.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Energy
Rick Perry official portrait.jpg
Rick Perry

since March 2, 2017
United States Department of Energy
Style Mr. Secretary
Member of


National Security Council
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 42 U.S.C. § 7131
Formation August 6, 1977
First holder James R. Schlesinger
Succession Fifteenth[1]
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Energy
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.energy.gov

The United States Secretary of Energy is the head of the U.S. Department of Energy, a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and fourteenth in the presidential line of succession. The position was formed on October 1, 1977 with the creation of the Department of Energy when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act.[2] Originally the post focused on energy production and regulation. The emphasis soon shifted to developing technology for better and more efficient energy sources as well as energy education. After the end of the Cold War, the department's attention also turned toward radioactive waste disposal and maintenance of environmental quality.[3] The current Secretary of Energy is Rick Perry [4]

Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger was the first Secretary of Energy, who was a Republican nominated to the post by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, the only time a president has appointed someone of another party to the post. Schlesinger is also the only secretary to be dismissed from the post.[5] Hazel O'Leary, Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Energy, was the first female and African-American holder.[6] The first Hispanic to serve as Energy Secretary was Clinton's second, Federico Peña.[7] Spencer Abraham became the first Arab American to hold the position on November 15, 2004, serving under the administration of George W. Bush. Steven Chu became the first Asian American to hold the position on January 20, 2009, serving under the administration of Barack Obama. He is also the longest-serving Secretary of Energy and the first individual to join the Cabinet having received a Nobel Prize.

List of Secretaries of Energy[edit]


  Democratic (6)   Republican (8)

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office Party President(s)
1 James Schlesinger official DoD photo.jpg Schlesinger, JamesJames Schlesinger Virginia August 6, 1977 August 23, 1979 Republican Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter
2 Secretary duncan.jpg Duncan, CharlesCharles Duncan Texas August 24, 1979 January 20, 1981 Democratic
3 U.S. Secretary of Energy James Edwards of South Carolina.jpg Edwards, JamesJames Edwards South Carolina January 23, 1981 November 5, 1982 Republican Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan
4 Donald hodel.JPG Hodel, DonaldDonald Hodel Oregon November 5, 1982 February 7, 1985 Republican
5 John S. Herrington.jpg Herrington, JohnJohn Herrington California February 7, 1985 January 20, 1989 Republican
6 Admiral James Watkins, official military photo.JPEG Watkins, JamesJames Watkins California March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 Republican Bush, George H. W.George H. W. Bush
7 Hazel O'Leary.jpg O'Leary, HazelHazel O'Leary Virginia January 22, 1993 January 20, 1997 Democratic Clinton, BillBill Clinton
8 Federico pena.jpg Peña, FedericoFederico Peña Colorado March 12, 1997 June 30, 1998 Democratic
9 Bill Richardson, official DOE photo.png Richardson, BillBill Richardson New Mexico August 18, 1998 January 20, 2001 Democratic
10 Spencer Abraham.jpg Abraham, SpencerSpencer Abraham Michigan January 20, 2001 February 1, 2005 Republican Bush, George W.George W. Bush
11 Samuel Bodman.jpg Bodman, SamuelSamuel Bodman Illinois February 1, 2005 January 20, 2009 Republican
12 Steven Chu official DOE portrait.jpg Chu, StevenSteven Chu California January 20, 2009 April 22, 2013 Democratic Obama, BarackBarack Obama
Daniel Poneman official portrait.jpg Poneman, DanielDaniel Poneman Ohio April 22, 2013 May 21, 2013 Democratic
13 Moniz official portrait standing.jpg Moniz, ErnestErnest Moniz Massachusetts May 21, 2013 January 20, 2017 Democratic
14 Rick Perry official portrait.jpg Perry, RickRick Perry Texas March 2, 2017 Incumbent Republican Trump, DonaldDonald Trump

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "3 U.S. Code § 19 - Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute". Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  2. ^ "Origins". U.S. Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  3. ^ "The Clinton Administration". The Washington Post. 2000-02-18. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  4. ^ Davenport, Coral (2016-12-12). "Rick Perry, Ex-Governor of Texas, Is Trump's Pick as Energy Secretary". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  5. ^ "Biography of James Schlesinger Origins". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  6. ^ "President Hazel R. O'Leary Honored by Urban League". Fisk University. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Federico F. Peña to be Sworn in as the Eighth Secretary of Energy". U.S. Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 

External links[edit]

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Elaine Chao
as Secretary of Transportation
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Energy
Succeeded by
Betsy DeVos
as Secretary of Education
Current U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson
15th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Education
Betsy Devos