The Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and quality of life matters.

A Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, he is the Secretary's senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel and 680,000 DoD civilians and is responsible for overseeing the state of military readiness.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness also oversees the $15 billion Defense Health Program, Defense Commissaries and Exchanges with $14.5 billion in annual sales, the Defense Education Activity which supports over 100,000 students, and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, the nation's largest equal opportunity training program.

Personnel and Readiness Mission Statement
Develop policies and plans, conduct analyses, provide advice, make recommendations, and issue guidance on DoD plans and programs. Develop policies, plans, and programs to ensure the readiness of the Total Force as well as the efficient and effective support of peacetime operations and contingency planning and preparedness. Develop and implement policies, procedures, and standards for manpower requirements determination and training for the Total Force. Review and evaluate plans and programs to ensure adherence to approved policies and standards. Participate in Planning, Programming, and Budgeting activities related to USD(P&R) functions. Promote coordination, cooperation, and mutual understanding within the Department, and between the Department and other Federal Agencies, State, and Local Governments and the civilian community. Serve on Boards, Committees, and other groups pertaining to assigned functional areas and represent the Secretary of Defense on manpower and personnel matters outside the Department.