Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army


  • Mr. Mark F. Averill Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Mr. Mark F. Averill
  • Ms. Julie A. Blanks Deputy Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Ms. Julie A. Blanks


The Office of the Administrative Assistant (OAA) provides direct administrative and management support to HQDA and enterprise level services to Armywide organizations.


An innovative, results-oriented organization recognized for customer service and workforce excellence.


Customer Service and Workforce Excellence


  • The history of the Office of the Administrative Assistant (OAA) to the Secretary of the Army dates back to the earliest days of the nation, when Congress on August 7, 1789, created a Department of War and specified that the Secretary of War should appoint a Chief Clerk. Mr. Wilson Knox became the first Chief Clerk. From the 1790s through the War of 1812, the War Department was primarily an administrative and record-keeping bureau that served as a conduit for the military’s large volume of correspondence and reports. The department’s handful of clerks were charged with keeping military papers in order and expediting departmental business. When British forces attacked Washington, D.C., in 1814, the men played a critical role by removing nearly all papers from the Secretary’s offices near the White House before the British arrived and saving British standards and colors captured during the American Revolution. The clerks would perform a similar role during the Civil War when in 1864 they joined other department civilians in manning Washington’s defenses for a time to help protect the city from a Confederate threat. The workload of the official who had since been designated the “Assistant and Chief Clerk” changed with the 1917 entry of the United States into World War I. Faced with an unparalleled expansion of the Army via a draft and the related growth of the War Department, Chief Clerk John C. Scofield scrambled to hire additional staff and secure sufficient office space and equipment. In this environment, the main responsibility of the clerks changed from knowing a substantial but relatively limited number of War Department precedents, and where the records containing them were filed, to managing a tidal wave of paper that almost submerged the department in the early stages of the war. Scofield continued in this position after the war, assisting the Secretary with planning activities designed to better prepare the department for future conflicts, before departing in 1931 after an impressive thirty-year tenure as Chief Clerk. The same year, the War Department re-designated his position as the Administrative Assistant. By the time the United States entered World War II in 1941, the Administrative Assistant was supervising records management, printing, civilian medical treatment, and procurement and accounting within the secretariat, along with other activities.
  • Shortly after World War II ended, Congress abolished the War Department and established a Department of the Army within a Department of Defense. The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of War became the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. During subsequent decades, the duties of the Administrative Assistant continued to expand. The footprint of the Office of the Administrative Assistant within the recently constructed Pentagon building also grew. By 2000, OAA was responsible for administrative management, maintaining official records, and managing the programs that provided service, supply, and equipment for the Defense Department within the National Capital Region. Critical services included contracting, passports, and motor pool, as well as telephones and computer operations in the Pentagon.
  • September 11, 2001, was an especially dark day for OAA, but also demonstrated the resilience of its people. When one of four planes hijacked by terrorists hit the west side of the Pentagon, the plane ripped through the outer three rings of the building and killed 125 service members and civilians. The Administrative Assistant’s staff sustained forty of the seventy-five Army deaths. In one brief moment the office lost nearly all of its financial experts and computer files, and this occurred just weeks before the fiscal year ended. Working around the clock, and assisted by retirees who volunteered to come back to work and budget analysts and accountants from other government agencies, OAA nevertheless finished its end-of-year work on time. The staff also reestablished computer and telecommunications connectivity throughout the building and found workspace to make up for the 400,000 square feet destroyed. These extraordinary efforts reestablished normal operations within days and contributed to the reopening of the newly rebuilt sections of the Pentagon on September 11, 2002.
  • In the ensuing years, the Office of the Administrative Assistant has continued to manage resources for the headquarters of the Department of the Army, provide administrative support to the Secretary of the Army and senior Army leaders, and oversee a range of services across the Department of Defense, even while receiving other missions. In 2003, for example, OAA was assigned as an Executive Agency to aid the rebuilding of Iraq. It provided administrative, human resource, logistics, information technology, facilities, acquisition, and fiscal support to the Coalition Provisional Authority offices in Washington and Baghdad. When prior to the 2004 presidential election Congress called on the Defense Department to ensure every Armed Forces member could vote, OAA worked with other organizations to ensure that more than 2 million ballots were printed and shipped to military posts, camps, and stations worldwide.
  • In recent years, the evolution of OAA has continued. The Army Reform Initiative has again reshaped its responsibilities. But despite OAA’s ever-changing character, the service its professional men and women have rendered to the United States Army has remained steady for more than two hundred years.

Army Conferences

The Army Conference Team is responsible for managing the Army Conference Program for the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army (AASA), whom is the proponent for conferences, on behalf of the Secretary of the Army (SA). Some of the Army Conference Team’s responsibilities include drafting Army-wide conference policy; tracking and reporting Army conference participation; and ensuring Army meets the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congressional conference requirements.

Army Gift Program (Gifts to the U.S. Army)

The Army Gift Program manages and prescribes Army policy for the acceptance and disposition of gifts of real property, personal property, or money offered to the Army for the benefit of its organizations and personnel. The program does not solicit contributions. Rather, it provides oversight and structure to enable citizens, organizations, and corporations to contribute cash, goods, or real property to benefit the Army, its Soldiers, and their Families. Gifts are processed in accordance with Army Regulation 1–100, and Department of Defense 7000.14-R (Financial Management Regulation) Volume 12, Chapter 30 (Gifts under Title 10, U.S. Code, section 2601) and Volume 12, Chapter 3 (Gifts under Title 10, U.S. Code, section 2608).

Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA)

Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASAs) are business and community leaders appointed by the Secretary to advise and support Army leaders across the country. CASAs come from many professions including business, education, finance, industry, law, the media, medicine and public service. Each is proactively involved in the community and brings to the position an interest in the Army, a high degree of business and civic leadership and an ability to influence the public. CASAs are Special Government Employees who agree to serve as representatives of the Secretary of the Army without salary, wages or related benefits, and are afforded a 3-star protocol status. Each CASA is committed to supporting all Department of Army Civilians, Soldiers and their Families. In particular, CASAs partner with the Soldier for Life program to assist Soldiers as they transition from the Army.


  • Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) are essential to the Army’s ability to connect with America by helping to build partnerships and strengthening relationships in their communities. The role of a CASA varies greatly based on geographic location; proximity to Army installations or activities; personal interests/experience; and comfort level. However, some of the common roles the CASAs play are below:
  • CASAs must facilitate meaningful interactions between Army recruiters, key influencers, and youth with a propensity to serve. Each state/region has different challenges with recruiting, so CASAs must get to know their local recruiters to understand where they can assist. Many CASAs   are involved in grass-roots initiatives that have been tremendously successful, such as gaining authentic access to schools.
  • Each component faces unique challenges, and as leaders in their states or territories, CASAs also play a unique role by being the Secretary’s link to the Guard and Reserve.  In particular, CASAs in states with little to no Active-Duty presence areas are almost exclusively involved with National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers. CASAs typically develop strong relationships with their state Adjutant General (TAG) and reserve Units located near them, since the local need varies greatly.
  • CASAs support our Soldiers and their Families as they transition out of uniform by partnering with the Soldier for Life program. This includes taking care of the Soldier’s Families and assisting with job opportunities for transition Soldiers, veterans and their spouses.
  • In keeping with the Army People strategy, “Our people are our greatest strength and our most important weapon system.” CASAs should seek to build mutually beneficial relationships within all segments of the multicultural communities they serve. They should also seek opportunities to upskill their cultural agility and exposure as they assist our Army in building lasting community-based relationships within their assigned regions of responsibility.
  • CASAs are often asked to speak at similar events listed above, as well as military and veteran services organization events. These events provide an opportunity to disseminate information about the Army and its priorities. The CASA Program Office regularly distributes Army talking points, top line messages, the Secretary’s priorities, and other pertinent information. However, most information can easily be found online or through your local Army contacts.
  • Soldiers and Families may reach out to CASAs for assistance on a specific issue, such as concern about a new Army policy. This is a great time to make use of your extensive outreach network you have built. You can seek out answers or support for Soldiers and Army Families, while learning firsthand of current issues to share with Army Leaders.

Former Administrative Assistants to the Secretary of the Army

Former AASAs 13 Mar 2023 v5.pdf [PDF - 3.3 MB]