Mr. R.D. James was confirmed by the Senate on January 30, 2018 and sworn in as the 12th Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works on February 5, 2018.

As the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, he establishes policy direction and provides supervision of the Department of the Army functions relating to all aspect of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' Civil Works program. These responsibilities include programs for conservation and development of the nation's water and wetland resources, flood control, navigation, and shore protection.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. James was a self-employed farmer and manager of cotton gins and grain elevators for the A.C. Riley Company in New Madrid, Missouri. President Ronald Reagan appointed Mr. James to the Mississippi River Commission on December 1, 1981. Mr. James was reappointed to the Mississippi River Commission by Presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, serving a total of 37 years on the Commission.

While employed with the Kentucky Department of Water Resources engineering office, he attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1971.

Mr. James received the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce 2007 Agri-Business Award and was the New Madrid County Outstanding Conservation Farmer of 1987. He served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, Memphis, Tennessee; Board Member, Cotton Producers of Missouri, Kennett, Missouri.

He is a former member of both the Board of Directors of the U.S. Bank of Sikeston, Missouri, and the New Madrid County Board of Education (served as the president from 1980-1998).

A native of Fulton County, Kentucky, he and his wife Jennye have two children, Albert Riley James, a 1995 graduate of Mississippi State University, now in the family farming business and employed by A.C. Riley Cotton Company, and Virginia Elizabeth James (deceased).