Leadership

The Honorable F. Whitten Peters

Whit Peters is Senior Counsel at the Washington, DC, law firm of Williams & Connolly, LLP, and was the 19th Secretary of the Air Force. Mr. Peters joined Williams & Connolly in 1978.  In 1995 he joined DoD as its Principal Deputy General Counsel and was later confirmed as the Undersecretary (1997-99), Acting Secretary (1997-1999), and Secretary (1999-2001) of the Air Force.

Mr. Peters joined the Navy in 1969, was commissioned as an Ensign in June 1969, and was the Information Systems Division Officer at Fleet Intelligence Center Atlantic (now JICLANT), Norfolk, Virginia, through February 1972, when he left active duty.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1972 and then served in the Navy Reserve through 1979.

He has served on the Boards of the Air Force Aid Society, the Air Force Enlisted Village, the Air Force Academy's Falcon Foundation, the Air Force Association, and Little Folks School in Washington, D.C. He recently completed a three-year term as the National Chairman of the Air Force Association.  Mr. Peters was also Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Future of the Aerospace Industry, Chair of the DoD Advisory Committee on Roles of Civilian and Military Attorneys in the Military Services, and a member of the Advisory Committee on the Structure of the Air Force, the Defense Science Board, and the Defense Advisory Committee on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Law. Prior to his government service, Mr. Peters was the Chair, Rules of Professional Responsibility Review Committee of the D.C. Bar, a member of the D.C. Bar Rules Committee and the Rules Committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and a member of the Legal Ethics Committee of the D.C. Bar. 

Mr. Peters received a B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1968, an M.Sc. (Economics) from the London School of Economics, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was President, Harvard Law Review. He clerked for Judge J. Skelly Wright on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Peters was awarded the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service on three occasions and the Army, Navy, Air Force and NRO Exceptional Civilian Service Medals. He was also the first Air Force Secretary to be awarded the Order of the Sword, the highest award noncommissioned officers can grant to Air Force leaders.

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