top of page


H. Allen

H. Allen Holmes was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict on November 18, 1993. As Assistant Secretary, Mr. Holmes is responsible for the overall supervision, including oversight of policy and resources, of the special operations and low-intensity conflict activities of the Department of Defense. He serves as the DOD Coordinator for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support and is the principle staff assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for policy, requirements, priorities, resources, and programs. He also oversees the formulation and coordination of Defense security policy released to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mr. Holmes previously served as the Ambassador at Large for Burdensharing, responsible to the President for ensuring a more balanced sharing of security responsibilities and costs by the NATO members, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and other countries allied to the United States. He has also served as Assistance Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from June 1985 to August 1989. In that position, he chaired he inter-departmental groups on arms control negotiations, chaired NATO’s Special Consultative Group on the U.S.-Soviet INF negotiations and co-chaired working groups with the Soviets on chemical warfare and nuclear testing during frequent visits to Moscow with the Secretary of State. He directed the negotiations of the Missile Technology Control Regime and supervised munitions and strategic high-technology export controls, security assistance and political-military crisis management. In addition, he co-chaired the U.S.-Israeli Joint Political Military Group.

From 1982-1985, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, where he negotiated a new Base Rights Agreement and established a Portuguese/American Development Foundation capitalized with security assistance funds. Other foreign assignments include: Political Officer in Rome, Italy from 1963-1967; Counselor for Political Affairs in Paris, France from 1972-1974; and Deputy Chief of Mission in Rome, Italy from 1977-1979.

Mr. Holmes’ career in the Department of State in Washington D.C. includes: Senior Seminar from 1974-19765; Director, Office of NATO and Atlantic Affairs, European Bureau from 1975-1977; and Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Canadian Affairs from 1979-1982 (Acting Assistant Secretary February – September 1982). He received Presidential Meritorious Service Awards in 1983 and 1987, a Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 1989, and DoD Medals for Distinguished Public Service in 1997 and 1999.

Mr. Holmes was born in Bucharest of American parents on January 31, 1933. He received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1954 and did graduate work at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of the University of Paris. From 1954 to 1957, he was a Marine Crops infantry officer with the rank of Captain. He won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in 1957. He speaks French, Italian, and Portuguese. He is a member of the American Foreign Service Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Metropolitan Club.

Mr. Holmes is married to the former Marilyn Strauss and has two children, Katherine and Gerald.

bottom of page