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United States Secretary of Energy
Flag of the United States Secretary of Energy.svg
Flag of the secretary
Seal of the United States Department of Energy.svg
Seal of the department
Secretary Jennifer Granholm (June 2021).jpg
Jennifer Granholm

since February 25, 2021
United States Department of Energy
Style Madam Secretary (informal)
The Honorable (formal)
Member of United States Cabinet
United States National Security Council
Reports to President of the United States
Seat James V. Forrestal Building, Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President of the United States
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
Deputy Deputy Secretary
Salary Executive Schedule, level I

The United States secretary of energy is the head of the United States Department of Energy, a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and fifteenth in the presidential line of succession. The position was created on October 1, 1977, when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act, establishing the department. The energy secretary and the department originally 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 the maintenance of environmental quality. Former secretary of defense James Schlesinger served as the first secretary of energy. As a Republican nominated to the post by Democratic president Jimmy Carter, Schlesinger's appointment marks the only time a president has chosen a member of another political party for the position. Schlesinger is also the only secretary to be dismissed from the post. Hazel O'Leary, Bill Clinton's first secretary of energy, was the first female and first African American to hold the position. The first Hispanic to serve as Energy Secretary was Clinton's second energy secretary, Federico Peña. Spencer Abraham became the first Arab American to hold the position on January 20, 2001, 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 president Barack Obama. Chu was also the longest-serving secretary of energy and the first individual to join the Cabinet after having received a Nobel Prize.

President Joe Biden's nominee to be Secretary of Energy, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, was confirmed on February 25, 2021. Granholm is the second woman to lead the Department of Energy.

Nuclear weapons

In addition to responsibilities related to generation and use of energy, the secretary is the most senior official other than the president of the United States or Secretary of Defense with primary responsibility for the nation's ~3,800 viable nuclear weapons. This arrangement is intended to maintain full civilian control over strategic weapons, except as directed by the president for specific military uses. The department of energy is responsible for the building, maintenance, and disposal of all nuclear weapons within the United States' arsenal in addition to safeguarding these weapons when they are not actively deployed in military service. Under the terms of several successive treaties, most recently New START, the United States has reduced its strategic arsenal to 1500 deployed weapons. Consequently, many older legacy weapons systems have been dismantled or scheduled for dismantlement, with their core radioactive fuel - generally plutonium - being reprocessed into reactor-grade or space exploration fuel.

List of secretaries of energy


      Democratic (7)       Republican (9)


      Acting Secretary of Energy

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office Party President(s)
1 James Schlesinger official DoD photo BW (cropped).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, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.jpg Herrington, JohnJohn Herrington California February 7, 1985 January 20, 1989 Republican
6 AdmiralWatkinsSmall.jpg Watkins, JamesJames Watkins California March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 Republican Bush, George H. W.George H. W. Bush
7 Hazel O'Leary 2.jpg O'Leary, HazelHazel O'Leary Virginia January 22, 1993 January 20, 1997 Democratic Clinton, BillBill Clinton
Charles B Curtis DOE web.jpg Curtis, Charles B.Charles B. Curtis Pennsylvania January 20, 1997 March 12, 1997 Democratic
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 Ernest Moniz official portrait.jpg Moniz, ErnestErnest Moniz Massachusetts May 21, 2013 January 20, 2017 Democratic
Grace Bochenek (4x3 crop).jpg Grace Bochenek January 20, 2017 March 2, 2017 Trump, DonaldDonald Trump
14 Rick Perry official portrait.jpg Perry, RickRick Perry Texas March 2, 2017 December 1, 2019 Republican
15 Dan Brouillette official photo (cropped).jpg Dan Brouillette Texas December 1, 2019 December 4, 2019 Republican
December 4, 2019 January 20, 2021
David G. Huizenga official portrait.jpg David Huizenga January 20, 2021 February 25, 2021 Democratic Joe Biden
16 Secretary Jennifer Granholm Jennifer Granholm Michigan February 25, 2021 Incumbent Democratic

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Secretario de Energía de los Estados Unidos para niños

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