July 10, 1998

First Hispanic Appointed Secretary of the Army

Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army.

Louis Caldera has led an active life—to say the least.

Caldera was born in El Paso, Texas in 1956 and raised in Los Angeles for most of his life. He attended the US Military Academy at West Point earning a B.S. Degree in 1978. He proceeded to serve as a commissioned officer in the Army from 1978-1983.

By 1987, he earned a Law Degree and an MBA from the University of Harvard. He worked two years at the O'Melveny and Myers as an attorney. After that, he served as a Deputy County Counsel for the County of Los Angeles from 1991 to 1992. It was in 1992 that he was elected to represent Los Angeles in the California State Assembly and re-elected in 1994.

All this before his 40th birthday.

When Caldera was in the State Assembly, he was appointed chairman of the powerful Banking and Finance committee during his first term and assistant democratic floor leader in his second term. He has chaired a budget subcommittee and also chaired the budget committee before the Republicans gain-ed majority control of the assembly. He has served on the Revenue and Taxation Committee, the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and the Select Committee on California's Health Care Safety Net.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced Caldera to the Senate Armed Services Committee and praised the nomination by Clinton. "Not only was his military service exemplary, while stationed at Fort Dix, he was active in the local community as a Sunday school teacher and a youth group leader. Following his career in the army, he attended one of our nation's finest educational institutions, Harvard University," Feinstein said.

She stated further that his experience as former chair of the budget committee handling multibillion dollar budgets will serve him well as Secretary of the Army and described other characteristics that will come into play in his new job.

"Louis Caldera can best be described as a problem solver, an independent player that often crossed party lines to get the job done. I believe he is going to make a fine Secretary of the Army and I am very pleased to recommend and to strongly support his appointment to this position."

After his confirmation as the nation's 17th secretary of the Army by Defense Secretary William Cohen, Caldera had this to say;

"I am deeply honored to have been selected to be Secretary of the Army. Our nation is blessed with an abundance of superb young men and women serving in uniform helping to preserve freedom and promote peace and democracy throughout the world. I want the American people to know and appreciate the character and quality of our soldiers."

As the Secretary of the Army, Caldera will be responsible for all matters relating to Army manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems, equipment acquisitions, communications, and financial management.

The department has an annual budget of nearly 60 billion. The Secretary of the Army leads a work force of just over one million active duty, national guard and Army Reserve soldiers as well as 270,000 civilian employees.

Previously, Caldera served as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Corporation for National Service. A federal grant-making agency headquartered in Washington D.C., the Corporation provides opportunities for Americans of all ages to engage in service and address the nation's educational, public safety, environmental and human needs.

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