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J. Daniel Howard (b. Aug. 24, 1943) was United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from February 1988 to May 1989 and Under Secretary of the Navy from 1989 to 1993.


J. Daniel Howard was born August 24, 1943, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving in Japan from 1961 to 1965. Upon leaving the Marines, he enrolled at the University of Chattanooga, receiving a B.A. in 1969. After college, Howard moved to Denver to work as a field representative for the American Red Cross. He later returned to school, enrolling at the University of Tennessee and receiving an M.A. in 1972. He then moved to Washington, D.C. to become a Foreign Service Officer trainee.

Howard's first posting as a member of the United States Foreign Service was in Japan, where he was a language trainee in Yokohama 1974-1975, and then served as director of the American Center in Sapporo from 1975 to 1977. From 1977 to 1980, he was the press attaché of the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo. In 1981-82, he was a cultural affairs officer of the American Embassy in Warsaw, and in 1982-85, he was a public affairs officer at the American Embassy in Nicosia. Howard returned to the United States in 1985 to serve as a public affairs adviser to the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the United States Department of State.

In 1986, President of the United States Ronald Reagan named Howard a Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs at the White House.

On December 21, 1987, President Reagan nominated Howard to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) and Howard would hold this post from February 1988 through May 1989.

On July 31, 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Howard as Under Secretary of the Navy. After confirmation by the United States Senate, Howard entered office on August 7, 1989. Howard's time as Under Secretary was blackened by the Tailhook scandal. Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean O'Keefe issued a blistering report in September 1992 in which he concluded that Under Secretary Howard had failed to conduct an adequate investigation into allegations of misconduct; had been overly focused on lower ranking personnel; and had been more concerned with protecting the reputation of the United States Navy than with getting to the bottom of the allegations.[1] It was widely speculated that O'Keefe would have Howard resign at the same time that Rear Admiral John E. Gordon and Rear Admiral Duvall M. Williams, Jr. were ousted for their attempts to turn the Tailhook investigation into a whitewash, but, in a move that drew surprise, O'Keefe announced that he continued to have "complete confidence" in Under Secretary Howard.[2] As such, Howard served out the rest of the Bush administration and left office on January 20, 1993.


  1. ^ Melissa Healy, "Pentagon Blasts Tailhook Probe, Two Admirals Resign," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 25, 1992
  2. ^ Melissa Healy, "Pentagon Blasts Tailhook Probe, Two Admirals Resign," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 25, 1992
Government offices
Preceded by
Lawrence H. Garrett III
Under Secretary of the Navy
August 7, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Succeeded by
Richard Danzig


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