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John J. Sullivan was sworn in as the Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce on March 14, 2008, after he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He previously performed the duties of the office in an acting capacity beginning on September 1, 2007. As the Department’s chief operating officer, he manages a $6.8 billion budget and 38,000 employees in 13 operating units. He is also a member of President Bush’s Management Council and a member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Deputy Secretary Sullivan is responsible for the day-to-day operations of an agency with one of the broadest portfolios in the federal government. The Commerce Department’s responsibilities include promoting U.S. exports, negotiating and enforcing international trade agreements and regulating sensitive exports. It is the nation’s steward of the oceans and coastal marine resources, chief weather forecaster and climate researcher, and the lead policy agency on technology, telecommunications and federal radio frequencies.
In addition, Commerce bureaus conduct the national census, track the economy and release regular updates, issue patents and trademarks, develop and apply technology, measurements and industrial standards, promote economic growth in distressed communities and encourage minority business development.
Results-based government is a priority for Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Deputy Secretary Sullivan. In challenging the Department to meet or exceed the performance-based standards set by the President’s Management Agenda, the Secretary will leave a well-managed agency for future Administrations and the American taxpayer.
Before assuming his current position, Mr. Sullivan served as the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce. As the Department’s chief legal officer and Designated Agency Ethics Official, Mr. Sullivan managed the work of over 400 lawyers in the 14 legal offices providing legal advice to all components of the Department.
Mr. Sullivan previously served as Deputy General Counsel of the United States Department of Defense following his appointment by Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in February 2004. In this capacity, he was responsible for all litigation involving the Department and for counsel on major criminal and congressional investigations. He was awarded the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
Prior to joining the Bush Administration, Mr. Sullivan was a partner in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP and resident in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, which he joined in 1993. He served as Deputy General Counsel of President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 re-election campaign. In 1991, he was Counselor to Assistant Attorney General J. Michael Luttig in the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice.
Mr. Sullivan received his A.B. in History and Political Science from Brown University in 1981 and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1985, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Book Reviews Editor of the Columbia Law Review. He was a law clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.
A member of the District of Columbia and New York bars, Mr. Sullivan is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Grace Rodriguez, have three children and live in Maryland.
- Last Updated:
- July 20, 2010
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