J. Daniel Howard
24 August 1943 –
J. Daniel Howard was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on 24 August 1943. After he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Japan until 1965. After he was honorably discharged from the Marines, he enrolled at the University of Chattanooga, graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree. After leaving college, Howard moved to Denver, Colorado, to work as field representative for the American Red Cross. He would later return to school at the University of Tennessee, earning a master’s degree in 1972. After graduating, he took a position as a foreign service officer trainee in Washington, DC.
Howard’s first assignment as a foreign service officer was in Japan where he worked as a language trainee and press attaché until he transferred to Poland in 1981. During his time in Warsaw, martial law was declared and he was ultimately expelled in 1982. He then went to Cyprus where he worked as a public affairs officer at the American embassy. While there, Howard was involved in the evacuation of American citizens from Beirut in wake of the 1983 bombing and the TWA flight 847 hijacking. He returned to the United States in 1985 to serve as a public affairs advisor for the State Department, where he worked a number of issues to include the Iran-Contra affair. In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Howard to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) where he dealt with the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 by USS Vincennes and the first visit to Moscow by an American Secretary of Defense in 1988.
In July 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated, and the Senate later confirmed, Howard for the position of Under Secretary of the Navy. During his time as under secretary, he dealt mostly with the collapse of the Soviet Union, defense budget issues, the Gulf War, and the Tailhook scandal. In June 1992, he assumed the position of Acting Secretary of the Navy in wake of the Tailhook scandal. He immediately imposed a Navy–Marine Corps “stand-down” for training designed to prevent sexual harassment. The following month he was replaced as acting secretary by Sean O’Keefe. Howard served out the rest of the Bush administration as under secretary and left office in January 1993. He retired from the foreign service in June 1993.