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Robert G. Salesses

Deputy Director, Washington Headquarters Services

Mr. Robert G. Salesses serves as the Deputy Director, Washington Headquarters Services, a Department of Defense Field Activity. He is the principal advisor to the Director, managing a portfolio of complex and integrated operational services to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Military Departments, Defense Agencies, Congress, and the Executive Office of the President. Managing resources of nearly $1.2 billion annually, he oversees the efforts of nearly 4,000 civilian, military, and contractor personnel who provide a full range of financial, contracting, security, human resources, facility management, continuity of operations, and other services that support nearly 100,000 Department of Defense personnel in the National Capital Region.

Prior to his present assignment, Mr. Salesses served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Defense Continuity and Mission Assurance where he led several of DoD’s most sensitive functions, ensuring the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and senior department leadership possessed the means to execute DoD’s primary mission essential functions. He oversaw the Department’s mission assurance, force protection, domestic counterterrorism, and continuity policies and programs. His responsibilities also included leading these risk management program activities across the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government, and with State, local, and private sector partner’s strengthening the protection and resilience of DoD’s people, infrastructure, and continuity missions. During the Russia-Ukraine crisis he led DoD’s national level protection actions to reduce risk to the homeland.

Mr. Salesses has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) where he was the principal career civilian advisor to eight Secretaries of Defense. In this position for well over a decade, he was a key architect transforming the Department’s homeland defense mission to counter evolving national security threats. As one of the Nation’s foremost experts on the DSCA mission, he led the DoD response to every major domestic event during that period, frequently addressing multiple, simultaneous crisis and contingency events, improving the speed and effectiveness of DoD’s support to the Nation’s citizens in their time of greatest need. He initiated and directed the Department’s COVID Task Force, integrating DoD’s efforts to protect its people, their families, safeguard national security capabilities, and support the Whole-of-Nation response to this unprecedented public health crisis.

Mr. Salesses is a retired United States Marine Corps officer whose career encompassed global planning and execution of multiple, internationally significant plans and contingencies that included: the withdrawal of critical nuclear stockpiles from former Soviet States; the development of multinational counternarcotics policies and plans with Central and South American allies; and crisis planning and consequence management response options within the European and Pacific theaters of operation; and the liberation of Kuwait during the Gulf War, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. Mr. Salesses’ military career culminated in his assignment to the Joint Staff where he worked response options for global contingency missions.

Mr. Salesses began his Federal civilian service career shortly after September 11, 2001, serving as the Special Assistant for the Homeland Security Task Force. Mr. Salesses supervised strategic planning, military operational support to civil authorities, and the emergency preparedness activities of the Department. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2005. He has been awarded the DoD Distinguished, Meritorious, and Exceptional Civilian Service Awards and the Armed Forces Civilian Service Medal. He was awarded the Presidential Rank Award twice for his decisive leadership, vital program management skills, and significant contributions to national security.

Mr. Salesses is a graduate of Rhode Island College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Management and Economics. He received a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.