Dr. Joseph W. Westphal served as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) (ASA (CW)) from June 1998-March 2001. In this role, Dr. Westphal provided executive direction and leadership to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program and administration of the Arlington National Cemetery.
Dr. Westphal received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri and spent twelve years as a professor and then Head of the Political Science Department at Oklahoma State University.
In the early 1980's, Dr. Westphal served on the House Committee on the Budget and later in the Department of the Interior.
From 1988 to 1995, he was the Executive Director of the Sunbelt Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of Members of Congress. He also served in the Senate as Special Assistant to Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
Dr. Westphal then served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked on issues relating to the Clean Water Act, transportation and infrastructure, Mississippi River water quality, children's health, and international agreements.
As Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Dr. Westphal was a major driving force behind more comprehensive, basin-wide planning efforts, revitalization of the Corps' recreation facilities, and expansion of the Corps' ability to serve the nation in public infrastructure and environmental restoration needs. He served on the President's Drought Policy Commission, the Recreation Lakes Commission, and the Coral Reefs Task Force. He was the current Chairman of the Coastal America Program.
In 2001, Dr. Westphal assumed the position of Acting Secretary of the Army. He continued in this position for some months before leaving the public sector and becoming a partner and Senior Policy Counselor at Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, DC. In 2002, Dr. Westphal was named Chancellor of the University of Maine System. He later served as Provost, Senior Vice President of Research and Professor of Environmental Studies at the New School in New York City until 2008 when he stepped down to become a member of President Obama's transition team for defense matters.
In 2009 he was selected to be the 30th Under Secretary of the Army.